Here I am again to preview the fixtures in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup. We are now in the round of 16. After the fourth round, four regional pods of four teams were created from the 16 teams remaining to draw the round of 16 matchups. Only three second-tier teams remain, somehow two are in Atlanta United’s region.
With more all-MLS pairings, this round of matchup could be either dull or entertaining, based the strength of the squads. From my best guestimate, here are my power rankings of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 matchups:
1. FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire (Wednesday, June 28, 8 p.m., Nippert Stadium)
Cincinnati is again hosting a match against an MLS side. Last round, Cincy had the largest attendance for a non-final match in Open Cup history. All the hype. Even ESPN2 is picking up this match! Surely, Schweinsteiger and company can handle it, right?
2. LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic (Wednesday, June 28, 10:30 p.m., StubHub Center Track Stadium)
Sacramento just defeated the LA Galaxy II, which has players that may be called up for this match. This in-state matchup could preview a potential rivalry if Sacramento gets the nod to join MLS.
3. Miami FC vs. Atlanta United (Wednesday, June 28, 7:30 p.m., Riccardo Silva Stadium, FIU)
This may have the potential for the most goals scored. Atlanta struggles on the road and Miami dropped three on Orlando last round. But this guy named Martinez is back for Atlanta.
The top two teams in the West meet up for what should be a classic battle of styles. Houston loves to score goals and KC loves to not concede goals.
These teams have struggled to find consistency in the League but they both made good work in their first matches.
Dallas should be able to dispatch Colorado fairly quickly, right? Well, this is the Open Cup, so weird things happen for many reasons.
Literally, the only part of this matchup that is exciting is the fact that this is a kinda-rivalry match. And maybe because both teams have been poor in the league season, they’ll match up well against each other?
San Jose just fired their coach. Seattle has been the most successful Open Cup team this decade. I’m not sure what excitement there will be in this one other than maybe Seattle will score a lot of goals.
Why did I rank all three matches with second-tier teams first? Because those are the most fun. That what these domestic cups are for, to watch the minnows feed on the sharks. Now, it’s time to sit back and watch the madness unfold.
All times Eastern
Insider’s tip: the quarterfinal matchups and locations have also been determined via that draw. The winner of the Atlanta/Miami match will host the winner of the Chicago/Cincinnati match.
Insider’s insider’s tip: You would have known that if you read this site on the daily.