San Antonio FC returns to action on Wednesday night in Austin. They will get a rare chance at same-season redemption back on the same ground, as they will once again travel to Austin to go up against the expansion side which beat SAFC 1-0 back in League play (and Copa Tejas play) in March.
Obviously, this will be the first ever Open Cup meeting between these two clubs, but it will be San Antonio’s third against USL Championship competition. San Antonio lost to Tulsa in 2017 and defeated Colorado last year.
Here are highlights from the Austin win over Tulsa in Round two:
In SAFC’s last Open Cup match, it was a history making affair with all three SAFC Pro Academy teenagers signed to contracts this year marking their professional debuts as second half subs. It is probably less likely we see a repeat of that in this round as SAFC hits the road against a stronger opponent. It’s a safe bet that Viscosi will be back in goal again as SAFC faces another 3-match week. Defenders Eboussi and Fenwick also notched rare starts against Laredo in Round Two and it’s likely they will be back in action again as well. Might San Antonio soccer legend Rafa Castillo see the field this time out? We shall see.
For Austin, if the regulars feature, Goal Keeper Diego Restrepo is top ten in saves in USL Championship West, and their leading goal scorers are Kleber and Andre Lima, each with three. San Antonio will need no reminders of Kleber who scored the winner against them on March 30th.
Both teams are reeling coming into this one. Austin lost twice in four days last week in USL Championship play including a 3-1 home loss to New Mexico United. They have lost 3 of their last 5 in USL play.
San Antonio FC didn’t fare much better, losing their 5th straight road match of 2019 at RGV-FC by an identical 3-1 scoreline.
Something has to give for these two struggling teams, and one team will win and advance on Wednesday night no matter what. A potential date with a Texas MLS team, and more Texas sized bragging rights, await the winners. There is plenty to play for despite all their collective stumbles of late. Which team will rise up and seize the opportunity? We’ll find out on Wednesday night.
2019 US Open Cup
A total of 32 Open Division clubs entered the First Round in May. They were joined by the six eligible members of the newly-sanctioned Division III professional circuit, USL League One.
Twenty-five teams from the newly-renamed professional Division II USL Championship were added to the field starting in the Second Round on May 14-15.
The Third Round takes place on May 29, and its winners will be joined by the 21 U.S.-based Division I Major League Soccer clubs in the Fourth Round on June 12.
52 pro teams will play in this year’s competition, setting a new Open Cup record. The previous record was 47, set in 2015.
Open Cup History
Houston Dynamo are the defending Open Cup Champions. Both Texas based MLS teams are recent winners with FC Dallas having won the Tournament in 2016. The last non-MLS team to win the Tournament were the Rochester Rhinos in 1999. The Rhinos are currently on hiatus but will play in USL League One next year.
2018 USL Champions Louisville City FC were the last non-MLS team standing in 2018, making it to the Quarterfinals. In 2017, then-USL club FC-Cincinnati advanced to the Semifinals.
In the modern era, Chicago Fire, Sporting KC and Seattle Sounders have each won the Open Cup 4 times to lead all MLS teams.
How They Got Here
Austin Bold defeated Tulsa Roughnecks 2-0 on May 14.
San Antonio FC defeated Laredo Heat 2-0 on May 14.
SAFC in the Open Cup
San Antonio FC will be playing their 10th Open Cup match this Wednesday night. The team is 6-3 all-time in Open Cup matches and will be playing on the road in the tournament for the first time since last May 16th, a span of four Open Cup games.
San Antonio FC is 0-2 against MLS teams in the Open Cup, losing to Houston Dynamo 4-0 in 2016 and last year 1-0 to FC Dallas. MLS teams enter this year’s tournament in Round Four.
The 4th Round of the US Open Cup will take place on Wednesday June 12th, 2019. The draw for that match has not been announced as of this writing.
5/18/2016 vs San Antonio Corinthians (NPSL) W 3-1
6/1/2016 @ Des Moines Menace (PDL) W 2-1
6/15/2016 @ Houston Dynamo (MLS) L 4-0
5/17/2017 @ Houston Dutch Lions (NPSL) W 2-1
5/31/2017 @ Tulsa Roughnecks (USL) L 0-0 (6-7)
5/16/2018 @Midland-Odessa (NPSL) W 4-0
5/23/2018 vs Colorado Switchbacks (USL) W 1-1 (5-3)
6/6/2018 VS FC Dallas (MLS) L 0-1
5/14/2019 vs Laredo Heat (NPSL) W 2-0
5/29/2019 @ Austin Bold (USL Championship)
San Antonio FC at Austin Bold
US Open Cup, Third Round
Bold Stadium, May 29th, 2019
SAFC Wins If:
… if they can lift themselves up from another dismal road performance on the weekend and show some fight away from home. Things aren’t going well in the League, but Open Cup provides a fresh slate of opportunity. A likely date with an MLS opponent awaits the winner and San Antonio owes Austin one. As they old saying goes – they need to Come and Take It.
IMAGES: SAN ANTONIO FC TWITTER, OPEN CUP TWITTER