On Tuesday, May 29th, the Colorado Rapids will travel to Al Lang Stadium to face the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL (North American Soccer League) in the Third Round of the US Open Cup. The NASL is the second division of soccer within North America and the US Open Cup is the premier cup competition between all levels of amateur and professional soccer within the United States. This season's edition is the 99th year.
A new format change in 2012 has every MLS club entering the US Open Cup in the third round against lower-tier opposition. The Rapids have not featured in the latter rounds of the tournament since 2007. However, the tournament featured play-in games for MLS Clubs that had not reached the playoffs during this time.
Colorado head coach Oscar Pareja has named a strong traveling squad for the match against the second division side. Players such as Jaime Castrillon, Tony Cascio, Hunter Freeman, Kosuke Kimura, Martin Rivero, and Wells Thompson will possibly see action against Tampa Bay.
Should the Rapids advance, they will play the winner of Sporting Kansas City vs Orlando City in the Fourth Round on June 5th. The winner of the US Open Cup is awarded with a spot the CONCACAF Champions League qualifying rounds.
This will be the first game against a team from Tampa Bay since the old Mutiny team was dissolved alongside the Miami Fusion back in 2001. Exciting!