Bethlehem Steel. Philadelphia Ukrainians. Stix, Baer, and Fuller FC. Uhrik Truckers. McIlvaine Canvasbacks. Fall River Marksmen. Maccabi Los Angeles.
There was a time when these clubs ruled the U.S. soccer landscape. Many made up of with players from steel mills, factories, and immigrant communities, these teams would vie for the U.S. Open Cup—the national soccer championship open to any and all amateur and professional soccer teams across the land. Begun in 1914, the U.S. Open Cup is one of the oldest domestic national championships in the world and similar to England's FA Cup and the Copa del Rey in Spain. Imagine any pub team or weekend soccer team being able to play their way up against some of the best soccer teams in the country and that is a bit of what makes the U.S. Open Cup fun. Sure, Cinderella's are rare, but they happen every now and again.
The Portland Timbers open their U.S. Open Cup play tonight against Sonoma County Sol in the U.S. Open Cup tonight at PGE Park at 7 p.m. For those of you checking your USSF Division 2 soccer standings to figure out who Sonoma County is, you won't find them. The Sol is an amateur team made up of college-age players in the National Premier Soccer League—generally considered the fourth division of U.S. Soccer. With this in mind, the Timbers are heavily favored to advance in this first round. Major League Soccer teams automatically receive a bye into the third round so assuming the Timbers could win this and the next tournament match, they could try their mettle against a higher division team. It was this run of events that led to the Timbers taking on the hated Seattle Sounders last year at PGE Park in a legendary match. The Sounders won and eventually continued to win the whole Cup in their inaugural MLS season. We don't like to talk about that much around here.
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