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2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Second Round Match Previews - 4.2.2024

By Staff, 04/02/24, 5:30PM EDT


Richmond, Charlotte and Central Valley kick off Second Round of U.S. Open Cup


Venue: City Stadium; Richmond, Va.
Kickoff: Tuesday, April 2; 7 p.m. ET
Weather: Cloudy, 72°
Series (First Meeting): N/A

  • In the 23 U.S. Open Cup participations across its 32 seasons of existence, Richmond has only failed to advance beyond the Second Round on three occasions. In 27 U.S. Open Cup meetings with third-division or lower opponents, the Kickers are 25-2 with a whopping +62 combined goal differential.
  • NISA's Bobcats claimed their second-ever U.S. Open Cup victory over the NPSL's West Chester United SC, 2-0, in the First Round. MBFC has never defeated a professional club outside of NISA competitions; Maryland's two U.S. Open Cup victories have come against pre-professional opposition.
  • The Kickers are gearing up for their 60th U.S. Open Cup match in their 32-year history and are also the only active lower-division professional club that has won the tournament (1995). Richmond's 37-22 all-time U.S. Open Cup record features more wins than all other current League One clubs combined (34-29); the Kickers' U.S. Open Cup win percentage of 63% is third in League One behind Omaha's 75% and Northern Colorado's 67% (min. two matches played).

RIC - Nil Vinyals: With Emiliano Terzaghi still absent from the Kickers' roster, the Richmond offense runs through Vinyals. The Spaniard finished within the top three of all players in duels won (10), dribbles completed (7), chances created (6), successful crosses (3), fouls won (3), interceptions (2) in Week 3.

MD - Darwin Espinal: A two-time NISA First Team Best XI selection and reigning NISA Golden Ball recipient, Espinal stands out amongst NISA's stars. The former Honduras youth international has spent his decade-long career within the United States soccer pyramid, featuring stints with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Reno 1868 FC, the New York Cosmos and Detroit City FC. The 29-year-old winger scored a brace in Maryland's First Round victory over West Chester United.


Venue: American Legion Memorial Stadium; Charlotte, N.C.
Kickoff: Tuesday, April 2; 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Cloudy, 77°
Series (First Meeting): N/A

  • Charlotte boasts one of three U.S. Open Cup winners actively playing in League One in 2017 champion Kharlton Belmar who won the tournament with Sporting Kansas City. South Georgia's Conor Doyle (2013, D.C. United) and Spokane's Luis Gil (2018, Houston Dynamo FC) have also won the tournament.
  • In their first U.S. Open Cup match, the Heat earned their first victory in the tournament and their first victory over a professional club as the UPSL side downed MLS NEXT Pro's Crown Legacy FC with a stoppage-time penalty conversion.
  • The Jacks - who are just 4-4 against pre-professional opponents across its decade-long history - are aiming to advance to the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup for the second consecutive season and fifth time overall.

CLT - Luis Álvarez: The 21-year-old Honduras youth international was responsible for the match-winning goal deep in stoppage time last week and is the reigning USL League One Player of the Week. With some of Charlotte's veteran talents likely resting, look for Álvarez to continue to build some momentum early in the season.

SC - Will Inalien: The former United States youth international began his professional career in Finland with lower-division sides FF Jaro, Jakobstads BK and JIPPO between 2019 and 2021 before returning to the United States and suiting up for MLS NEXT Pro's Rochester New York FC in its lone 2022 campaign. Inalien scored the match-winning penalty late in stoppage time to confirm the Heat's first-round cupset.


Venue: Bobcat Field; Merced, Calif.
Kickoff: Tuesday, April 2; 10:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Clear, 70°
Series (First Meeting): N/A

  • Central Valley grabbed its second-ever U.S. Open Cup victory in the First Round, downing UPSL side FC Folsom, 2-1, to pick up its first victory over in-state competition and first victory against a lower-division opponent in club history.
  • El Farolito's victory over MLS NEXT Pro's Portland Timbers 2 in the First Round of the 2024 U.S. Open Cup marked the first victory for the amateurs over a professional side. The 1993 U.S. Open Cup champions had previously gone 0-3 against professional opposition with losses against Club Necaxa (1994 Concacaf Cup Winners Cup), Fresno FC (2019 U.S. Open Cup) and Oakland Roots SC (2023 U.S. Open Cup).
  • While Fuego FC Head Coach Jermaine Jones never saw action as a player in the U.S. Open Cup during his four-year stint in MLS, he is one of two current League One coaches (Éamon Zayed (NCO), 2009 FAI Cup with Sporting Fingal FC) to win a domestic cup competition abroad during their playing careers. Jones won the lone trophy of his storied career - the DFB-Pokal - with FC Schalke 04 in 2011.

CV - Shavon John-Brown: After spending the 2023 season with a pair of EPSL and UPSL sides, the Grenada international's return to professional soccer has gotten off to a hot start. In his second match with Central Valley, John-Brown scored Fuego FC's first home goal of the season and registered seven recoveries, six duels won and three tackles won in the club's Week 2 contest.

ELF - Sebastian Yabur: The 25-year-old Colombian defensive midfielder began his professional career with top-flight Colombian Categoría Primera A side Atlético Nacional in 2019. Yabur has made 46 professional appearances across Colombia and Venezuela's top two leagues between 2019 and 2023. In El Farolito's First Round match, Yabur scored the opening goal in the 52nd minute and added 10 duels won, seven recoveries and four tackles won.

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