U.S. Open Cup Semifinals preview

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by Ryan Brister

We are nearing the business end of this year’s U.S. Open Cup. After tonight, just two teams will remain, and the final will be set for a date in late September. Of the four semifinalists, only Sporting Kansas City has been able to combine their cup run with significant success in the Major League Soccer regular season.

Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m.

For the second year in a row, both the Union and Fire have reached the semifinals of the Open Cup. Philly advanced to the final last year, while Chicago was thumped in Seattle. The Fire are seeking a record seventh trip to the Open Cup final, and their first trophy of any kind since 2006. In MLS play this year, both teams have struggled and see their playoff hopes fading in the Eastern Conference. The Fire won 1-0 in Chicago in March.

If Chicago wins, they will host the final. Philly would host SKC, but not RSL. For this weekend, the Union and Fire will both stay in Philly; they play a regular season match on Sunday.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake, 8:30 p.m.

A budding rivalry heats up again for tonight’s semifinal match. Salt Lake took seven points from three hotly contested matches this season, most recently with a win three weeks ago. Kansas City, meanwhile, is undefeated at home in 2015.¬†Sporting hasn’t had to leave home for the Open Cup so far, but they will be the road team should they advance to the final. RSL will be rooting for Philly in order to host the final themselves.


In addition to the two U.S. Open Cup semifinals tonight, the first leg of the Voyaguers’ Cup final is being played between the Whitecaps and Impact in Montreal. Vancouver is seeking to lift the trophy for the first time and claim a CONCACAF Champions’ League spot for the second year running. Montreal would love to return to the tournament in which they’ve had so much success. They won in the lone regular season meeting.