Minnesota Stars FC Set to Take on San Jose Earthquakes TuesdayJune 4, 2012 - North American Soccer League (NASL) Minnesota United FC
"We're looking forward to it, we got a great result at RSL in front of a tough crowd," Head Coach Manny Lagos said. "We drew another MLS team. San Jose is on a long break right now, so we expect them to be focused on this game and be at their best. We hope to be at our best, and that we can give them a good game."
The Stars passed through the third round by upsetting MLS Western Conference leader and powerhouse Real Salt Lake 3-1 away at the Rio Tinto Stadium on May 29 in front of over 17,000 fans -- a record for a non-final Open Cup match. Lifted by goals from Kevin Venegas, Neil Hlavaty, and Simone Bracalello, as well as strong goalkeeping by Matt VanOekel, the Stars knocked out one of the most dangerous teams in the tournament.
The San Jose Earthquakes defeated the NASL's Fort Lauderdale Strikers to advance to the fourth round, but will play Tuesday without MLS scoring co-leader Chris Wondolowski, who is away on international duty with the US national team. The Stars will hope to protect an unbeaten streak that stretches back to the 2011 season against a San Jose side that is the second-highest scoring club in MLS.
Since the creation of MLS in 1996, a non-MLS club has only one the Open Cup once -- the Rochester Rhinos In 1999. Recently, the Seattle Sounders have won the past three Open Cup titles since 2009. Sixteen MLS teams entered the tournament in the third round on May 29, with eight facing upsets from smaller teams, including dominant clubs Real Salt Lake, the Los Angeles Galaxy, and New England Revolution.
The Stars, Dark Clouds supporters group and Sweetwater Bar and Grill will hold a watch party beginning shortly before the 10 p.m. kickoff. All soccer fans are welcome to join in the fun at the Sweetwater, located at 161 St. Anthony Ave. in St. Paul, just north of Interstate 94 at the Marion St. exit.
Now in its 99th consecutive season, the Open Cup is one of the nation's longest running competitions in any sport. The Open Cup is open to all sanctioned American men's soccer clubs from the amateur level through the MLS. In order to win the Open Cup, the Stars must win a total of six matches in a single-elimination format. Rounds prior to the semifinals are determined by a blind draw, with the home team selected at random.
If the Stars upset San Jose on Tuesday night, they will face the winner of the match between MLS club and current title holders the Seattle Sounders and fifth division club Cal FC in the quarterfinals on June 26.
North American Soccer League Stories from June 4, 2012
- RailHawks Match against Chivas USA to be Televised on WRAL2 - Carolina RailHawks
- O'Brien Named NASL Offensive Player of the Week - Atlanta Silverbacks
- Minnesota Stars FC Goalkeeper Matt Vanoekel Named NASL Defensive Player of the Week - Minnesota United FC
- Scorpions Ready to Take on Charlotte Eagles in U.S. Open Cup - San Antonio Scorpions
- Silverbacks Name Smith General Manager - Atlanta Silverbacks
- Minnesota Stars FC Set to Take on San Jose Earthquakes Tuesday - Minnesota United FC
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