In 1999, the Rochester Raging Rhinos enjoyed a fairytale season in their fourth year of existence, as the A-League team beat four MLS clubs en route to winning the U.S. Open Cup at the final held in Crew Stadium, Columbus.
This video shows the local news report from Rochester on the feat, including a forlorn plea from a member of the Rhinos’ supporter group The Stampede to bring MLS to Rochester (“if you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em!”, he roars).
The idea of bringing MLS to Rochester was all the rage (pardon the pun) a decade ago (the near 14,000 capacity Sahlen’s Stadium built specifically for soccer was opened in 2006, and average attendances regularly exceeded 10,000). But for now, 1999 remains the pinnacle of the Rhinos’ history as they continue play at the USL-Pro level. They remain the only non-MLS team to win the Open Cup since the league’s inception in 1996.
Open Cup With Arrows, NASLcre Edition. With apologies to Josh Hakala.
That’s right. There are NO teams from America’s second division left in the Open Cup. Two lost to MLS opponents (Carolina to Chivas at home, and Minnesota away to San Jose). The third, the San Antonio Scorpions, lost to the Charlotte Eagles. The only club in the entire Open Cup to have to travel to Texas apparently didn’t mind the long trip, because they did it three times and won every time. Let it be known that the ONLY thing bigger than Texas is the Charlotte Eagles.
But it wasn’t just a banner day for the Eagles. The other two USL-Pro clubs left in the tournament, Harrisburg and Dayton, won over New York (ugh…) and Michigan, respectively. Both did so in extra time. Considering the people clamoring that the MLS upsets last week meant that promotion-relegation should be instituted, I shudder to think of what today’s results might mean, as the three teams from Division 2 go down and the three from Division 3 stick around.
Meanwhile, the two amateurs left take their valiant last stand, and gracefully exit. The Michigan Bucks, as mentioned, hung with Dayton for a while, but fell in extra time 2-1. Meanwhile, Cal FC showed brilliant heart in the first half, before the Sounders delivered a barrage that was painful to watch for fans of the underdog everywhere. Now, I don’t know the rules, but to my knowledge the two teams will split the $10,000 bonus for the furthest-advancing amateur club. Maybe now Cal can focus on the Gran Liga de Oxnard, where they sit at 2-4-0 and ninth in the 12-team table.
Big non-action news last week as Sigi Schmid claimed conspiracy as his team was forced to travel. There will be four MLS hosts this week, and there were 5 MLS teams left standing at the end of this round. So, sadly, the Sounders drew the short straw. Time to throw those big bucks around.
As for teams by region, there are three matchups that are, essentially, regional championships. The City Islanders travel to Philly in the Affiliated-But-Not-Too-Affiliated Derby, the Dayton Dutch Lions travel to Kansas City for all the marbles in the midwest, and the Sounders and Earthquakes meet in a battle for the hearts and minds of the northwest. The odd men out? The Charlotte Eagles and Chivas USA. The Eagles, after firmly planting their flag in Texas, must now make a trip to California, in the only really long-distance trip of this round of the tournament.
Countdown to the next match (June 26th, 7:30pm ET, in beautiful Chester, PA) begins… now.
Great overview of the world’s fourth oldest continuously-running cup competition following a night of absolute mayhem as MLS teams were knocked off their perches by lower league opponents across the country.
- LA Galaxy lose to the Carolina Railhawks (winless in the league)
- Columbus Crew lose to the Dayton Dutch Lions (winless in the league)
- Chicago Fire lose to the Michigan Bucks (a PDL team, for God’s sake)
- New England Revolution blow a 3-goal lead in EXTRA TIME to Harrisburg
- Houston Dynamo lose 1-0 to the San Antonio Scorpions
- FC Dallas lose 2-0 to the Charlotte Eagles
- Real Salt Lake is losing 3-1 to the Minnesota Stars (after buying hosting rights!)
But you’re right, this tournament is boring and third-rate and no one wants to watch it.
Supporters of the USL PDL’s Victoria Highlanders FC have formed what’s being called “North America’s First Supporters’ Trust”. And really, they’re correct as far as I know.
Sure, Portland has a “trust” (and it’s great), but this is a supporters’ trust that has an actual ownership share in the club. Interestingly, it’s also a “profit-sharing” model (see this PDF). Fascinating, and we’ll be looking into this more in the near future.