The 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup officially kicks off Tuesday night when teams from all over the country begin first-round play. One of those matchups will be taking place in Greater Atlanta, with the Georgia Revolution (NPSL) hosting Real Colorado Foxes (PDL) in Conyers. The Atlanta Silverbacks will be keeping a special eye on that game, as they’ll be the ones awaiting the winner in the next round.
While the Silverbacks’ place in the Cup bracket is set in stone, the location of their second-round game will be based on which team wins in Conyers on Tuesday night. Should the Georgia Revolution come out on top, the Silverbacks will be making the short drive to RYSA Soccerplex in Conyers next Tuesday. If the Foxes win, the Silverbacks will be the ones hosting the second-round affair on May 21.
Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2013, the Cup is a domestic soccer tournament featuring teams from all levels of American soccer. Amateur and semi-professional teams from leagues such as USASA, NPSL, and PDL compete in the early rounds, with full professional teams coming into the fold in the later rounds. The Silverbacks, along with the other U.S.-based NASL clubs, join the tournament in the second round, while the top-tier teams from Major League Soccer begin play in the third round.
The Silverbacks and Revolution clashed in the second round of last year’s Cup, with the Silverbacks escaping Conyers with a 1-0 win. The Silverbacks would fall against the tournament’s three-time defending champions, the Seattle Sounders, in the next round.
For Silverbacks Technical Director Eric Wynalda, the Cup takes him back to a special memory. In last year’s tournament, he coached an amateur team, Cal FC, all the way to the fourth round. Wynalda and his team would eventually bow out to the Sounders, but not before eliminating a pair of professional teams, including Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers.
“I love the romance of this competition, and I think our players here in Atlanta, especially those who played with Cal FC, understand that more than most,” said Wynalda. “It’s the 100th anniversary of the Cup, so what an incredible accomplishment it would be to win it.”
Six members of that Cal FC team eventually followed Wynalda to the Silverbacks: defenders Beto Navarro and Mike Randolph, midfielders Pablo Cruz, Danny Barrera, and Richie Menjivar, and forward Pedro Mendes. Mendes has scored seven goals in just 13 total appearances with the club, while Barrera has collected six assists in nearly the same span.
Silverbacks Head Coach Brian Haynes, along with Wynalda and the rest of the club’s technical staff, will be in Conyers tonight scouting each of their potential second-round opponents. Should the Silverbacks host the game in the next round, ticket information and other details will be released Wednesday.