D.C. United to face Rochester Rhinos or Reading United AC in US Open Cup's fourth round

CUP MAGIC!!!!! - Gene Sweeney Jr.

Today's US Open Cup fourth round draw revealed that D.C. United will take on either the Rochester Rhinos or Reading United AC, with United hosting the game only if Reading wins the pair's third round match.

The draw for the fourth round of the US Open Cup took place earlier today, and for once D.C. United will open the tournament against someone other than the Richmond Kickers.

Instead, the champions were drawn against either the Rochester Rhinos of USL-PRO and Premier Development League (PDL) side Reading United AC. The Rhinos - who in 1999 became the only non-MLS team to win the Open Cup since MLS started in 1996 - are currently in 5th place with a 2W-4D-1L record, and defeated the PDL Western Mass Pioneers 2-1 in extra time to get to the third round. Reading, meanwhile, has played just one game this season (a tie) and qualified for the third round by beating the Greater Binghampton Thunder of National Premier Soccer League by a score of 5-2.

Reading will travel to Rochester to face the Rhinos at Sahlen's Stadium on May 28th May 27th for the right to face United. If Rochester wins, they will host the Black-and-Red in the fourth round, while a victory for Reading would see United host the game at the Maryland Soccerplex.

The rather important question of when that game would take place is up in the air. US Soccer has stated that the fourth round will take place between June 10th and June 18th, and is very excited about the prospect of weekend Open Cup games, but no dates have been announced yet. June 11th can be safely ruled out: United is at Montreal that evening, while both Rochester and Reading also face away games the same day. The Rhinos also play on June 14th against Arizona United, making a weekend game impossible.

Things get even more complicated when you add in the fact that Sahlen's Stadium hosts several other teams. The only event listed at the moment during the week in question is June 18th's NWSL match between the Western NY Flash and the Chicago Red Stars. Essentially, a Rhinos win narrows the dates down to the 16th, 17th, or 19th. The 16th would be a terrible idea, as it's also the day the USMNT opens the World Cup against Ghana, so we're probably looking at a Tuesday or Thursday game.

The whole issue would be more straightforward if Reading can pull the upset. They have no other games beyond that match on the 11th, and the Washington Spirit aren't playing any home games during that period either.

The complete draw is here, and it has some fascinating pairings. Naturally the biggest news is that the New York Cosmos - provided they can beat the NPSL's Brooklyn Italians - will host the Metros in the most anticipated Open Cup non-final in ages. The Galaxy's years of whining about having to play against North Carolinian opposition have been cured by placing LA's other team, Chivas USA, in that portion of the bracket (the Goats didn't apply to host a game at all, naturally).

Locally, if the Kickers can beat NY Greek-American Atlas (an amateur team), they'll host the New England Revolution at City Stadium. The Baltimore Bohemians, meanwhile, will travel to PPL Park to face the Philadelphia Union if they can spring an upset over the USL-PRO's Harrisburg City Islanders.

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