The Charleston Battery have officially advanced to the third round of the U.S. Open Cup after the club filed a protest with the U.S. Open Cup Committee as the Villages SC fielded an ineligible player in Wednesday's match. The Villages Initially won the match but the result was overturned after the Battery's protest.
Our initial speculation was correct and the confirmation came in a press release from U.S. which confirms the match-ups for the third round. The body of the press release states:
Following Wednesday's Second Round, the Charleston Battery (USL) filed a protest of their shootout defeat to The Villages SC (PDL), claiming their opponent used an ineligible player. The U.S. Open Cup Adjudication and Discipline Panel reviewed the matter earlier today and ruled in favor of Charleston, declaring the Battery the winner via forfeit. Charleston now advances to the Third Round to face the Jacksonville Armada (NASL). The Panel determined that Paulo Vaz had previously played for Boca Raton Football Club during the local qualifying rounds and was thus ineligible to play in the Open Cup for another team during the competition year.
This was not the only case of fielding ineligible players in this years' tournament. In the first round against the Los Angeles Wolves, Ventura County played an ineligible player who participated in previous qualifying rounds. The Wolves protested the match which was upheld by the Committee and Ventura County was forced to forfeit the match. The player eligibility rules fall under Section 203 subsection (c) and (d) of the U.S. Open Cup's official rules that state the following:
Any player who plays in any part of an Open Cup match for a team, including any match in any Open Division qualifying round, may not be included in the Open Cup roster or play for any other team in the Open Cup competition for that competition year.
The Battery protested on grounds of subsection (c) and U.S. Soccer likely based their decision on rule (d) which states:
If any team plays an ineligible player in an Open Cup match, that teams is subject to fines or other penalties, including game forfeiture, as determined by the Adjudication and Discipline Panel.
Charleston Battery will advance to third round of the U.S. Open Cup to face Jacksonville Armada FC of the NASL. The winner of that game will take on Orlando City SC on June 15th.