D.C. United will host Orlando City in the round of 16 of the 2018 U.S. Open Cup. Originally placed in a geographic group with Orlando, the New York Red Bulls, and the Philadelphia Union, United was paired with the Lions today in a draw conducted by US Soccer. The game will be played at the Maryland SoccerPlex, with the actual date yet to be determined.
US Soccer had previously declared June 16-17 and June 20 and the three possible dates the match can be played. With both teams playing on the road on June 13, June 20 seems like the most likely date. The Washington Spirit host Seattle Reign FC on June 16, taking it out of consideration.
United has never played Orlando in the Open Cup, even if you include OCSC’s days as a USL club. There were near misses in 2013 and 2016 where the clubs were on course to meet, only for Orlando (2013) and United (2016) to be eliminated one round too early. Orlando’s best performance in the Open Cup came in 2015, when they went to the quarterfinal before falling to Chicago.
During the draw, it was confirmed that, should United win, they would play the winner of the Philadelphia/NYRB pairing. A graphic posted during the draw indicated that United would be the road team in such a pairing, though US Soccer did not bother to specifically explain one way or another. The East group’s last team standing will play the winner of the Mid-East quadrant (a group made up of Atlanta United and the Chicago Fire of MLS, and Louisville City and Nashville SC of the USL) in the semifinal round.
The complete round of 16 draw is as follows (home teams listed first):
Philadelphia Union (MLS) vs. New York Red Bulls (MLS)
D.C. United (MLS) vs. Orlando City SC (MLS)
Atlanta United (MLS) vs. Chicago Fire (MLS)
Louisville City FC (USL) vs. Nashville SC (USL)
Houston Dynamo (MLS) vs. Minnesota United FC (MLS)
Sporting Kansas City (MLS) vs. FC Dallas (MLS)
Los Angeles FC (MLS) vs. Sacramento Republic FC (USL)
Portland Timbers (MLS) vs. LA Galaxy (MLS)