After a spirited third round of action at the end of May,the original 91 entries have been whittled to the final 32. Fourth round matches take place next Tuesday and Wednesday, with the 17 MLS clubs joining the 15 third-round winners in the single-elimination bracket.
One of next week's matchups pairs MLS clubs, with Portland Timbers taking on the San Jose Earthquakes. But like all open domestic tournaments, the real fun comes from the matchups between lower-tier squads and the big boys of the top league. New York City FC, for example, takes on the NASL's New York Cosmos on Wednesday. Columbus Crew battles the Tampa Bay Rowdies, the latter another blast from soccer's first burst of American popularity. MLS-leading Colorado Rapids faces a Rocky Mountain derby clash against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks from the third-tier United Soccer League (USL).
While we're obviously pulling for all underdogs, all the time, we've got our eye on a pair of true longshots that have fought their way from the earliest stages of the competition. Tuesday night, mighty LA Galaxy, with Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane, and Giovanni Dos Santos, host La Maquina FC, an amateur squad from the fifth-tier United Premier Soccer League.
Founded in 2011 and named in honor of the legendary Mexican side Cruz Azul, La Maquina had never before qualified for a U.S. Open Cup. They play their home games at Westminster High School in Los Angeles. And at the moment, they're not allowed to play in the UPSL after having been suspended for six games following a brawl in a match against San Nicholas FC in 2015. They're basically the Bad News Bears. Who, in a few short days, instead of playing in the Astrodome, actually play the Astros.
(In the course of 'researching' this post, I discovered some noteworthy facts. Most important of these, ghoogling 'open cup' results in some interesting results from Frederick's of Hollywood. My apologies to my IT administrator, and you're welcome.)