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Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fourth round: Which participating MLS teams like Seattle Sounders risk getting upset?

The U.S. Open Cup returns on Tuesday, May 7, and while some Cinderella stories like El Farolito FC may have come to an end, the fourth round will see Major League Soccer teams enter the competition. In a season where only eight MLS sides will enter, it’s a major opportunity for the United Soccer League to lift the competition for the first time since 1999 when the now-defunct Rochester Rhinos were the team to do it. With a spot in the Concacaf Champions Cup on the line, there would be few things more appealing to aspiring Cinderella stories than knocking out as many MLS sides as possible upon their entry.

Looking at the field, what teams should be on upset alert as they face USL teams? 

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3. Seattle Sounders

  • Wednesday, May 8: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Louisville City FC, 10:30 p.m.   

While the Sounders are finding their form in league play, they’re facing one of the top teams in USL play in Lousiville City FC. With only one loss so far and one of the top scorers in league play in Wilson Harris, this is a Louisville side that won’t be afraid to play anyone and they also have a defense that can keep up with top teams. Manager Danny Cruz has built quite a balanced team and when it comes to knockout competitions those are the ones that can go quite far. Last round Cruz stopped by Morning Footy to talk about the Louisville FC project.

Seattle has a top striker in Raul Ruidiaz who they can play behind but playing their third game in eight days, this is a chance to expect rotation providing a chance to spring an upset.

2. Sporting Kansas City

  • Wednesday, May 8: Union Omaha vs. Sporting Kansas City, 8 p.m.  

You never know which Sporting Kansas City side will show up on a given day. They can score five goals or concede five with ease to anyone in their path, but their place in this ranking is due to a few factors. Not only are they the only MLS side playing away from home but they’re also going to Nebraska to face Union Omaha. The Owls are currently in USL League One but they have quite a history in this competition. Omaha has never lost a home clash in the tournament going 4-1-0 and they’ve also defeated higher division opponents in the cup in three consecutive tournaments. During their 2022 run in the competition, the Owls actually knocked off two MLS sides before falling to this same SKC side, so there’s an opportunity for revenge as well. If Sporting doesn’t come with their top defensive form, this game could see them bounced before their cup run begins.

1. San Jose Earthquakes

  • Tuesday,  May 7: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Oakland Roots SC, 10 p.m.  

With only two wins this season while allowing 26 goals in 11 games played, it would be hard to imagine a tougher start for the Earthquakes. After Cristian Espinoza, Luchi Gonzalez has struggled to find a consistent attacking threat for his side which is what could see them primed for an upset in this round. The Oakland Roots haven’t found themselves in particularly strong form either, near the bottom of the Western Conference of the USL Championship, but in tournaments like these, form can go out the window especially when going away to face an MLS side.

Schedule 

All times Eastern, All matches are available to stream on ussoccer.com

Tuesday, May 7
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs. FC Tulsa, 7 p.m.
Atlanta United vs. Charlotte Independence, 7:30 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Detroit City FC, 8 p.m.
FC Dallas vs. Memphis 901 FC, 8:30 p.m.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Oakland Roots SC, 10 p.m.
Orange County SC vs. Loudon United FC, 10 p.m.
Sacramento Republic FC vs. Monterey Bay FC, 10:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 8 
Charleston Battery vs. South Georgia Tormenta FC, 7 p.m.
Indy Eleven vs. San Antonio FC, 7 p.m.
North Carolina FC vs. Phoenix Rising FC, 7 p.m.
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Birmingham Legion FC, 7:30 p.m.
New York City FC II vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, 7:30 p.m.
Union Omaha vs. Sporting Kansas City, 8 p.m.
New Mexico United vs. Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m.
Las Vegas Lights FC vs. Los Angeles FC, 9 p.m.
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Louisville City FC, 10:30 p.m. 

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