D.C. United learned who they will face in the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup today, drawing Rochester, New York-based club Flower City Union, who began play in NISA last year. U.S. Soccer held the draw this afternoon after placing United in the Northeast pod with Flower City, the New York Red Bulls, Hartford Athletic (USL Championship), Rochester NY FC (MLS Next Pro), and FC Motown (NPSL) late last night.
United will travel to Marina Auto Stadium on April 19, with kickoff scheduled for 7pm. All Third Round games will be streamed on ESPN+. Flower City advanced this far thanks to a 1-0 extra time win over the Western Mass Pioneers earlier this week. In league play, the Union have lost both of their first two matches of the season, including a heavy 6-1 loss to Maryland Bobcats FC at the Maryland Soccerplex.
It is the first-ever meeting between the clubs, and United’s first Open Cup match of any kind since a June 19, 2019 loss to NYCFC in the Round of 16. The Black-and-Red have gone out in the Round of 16 in the last three editions of the tournament.
The Open Cup format has been adjusted this year, with a 32-club First Round taking place three weeks ago involving clubs from USL League Two, the NPSL, and amateur teams that qualified late last year. The Second Round took place over three days this week, with clubs from the USL Championship, USL League One, and NISA joining the fray in a round involving 62 teams.
The 31 winners from those games joined all of MLS, bar the top eight sides from last season and the three Canadian clubs, in a 48-team Third Round. Those top eight MLS teams from 2021 will be in the draw for the Fourth Round, which will include 32 teams. From there, things get simple: a Round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal, and final.
United will fit this match into the schedule between their next two games, both of which are at home. With United playing Austin FC on April 16 and the New England Revolution on April 23, Hernán Losada will very likely have to rotate to keep players fresh throughout a crowded week. A victory would take United into the Fourth Round, which will be played in roughly one month’s time. The 2022 Open Cup final is scheduled for early September.