Five questions and answers about Wednesday’s fourth-round U.S. Open Cup match between the United Soccer League’s Charlotte Independence and Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution:
Q. What is the U.S. Open Cup?
A. It is the oldest national soccer competition in the United States (first held in 1913). It’s similar to England’s F.A. Cup in that it is open to professional and amateur clubs.
Q. How did the Independence get this far?
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A. Charlotte beat the North American Soccer League’s Carolina RailHawks 1-0 in a third-round match. That was considered an upset because the NASL is considered a step above the USL.
Q. Who has played well for the Independence in the Cup?
A Forward Tomasz Zahorski had three goals in a 4-1 second-round victory against South Carolina’s Upward Stars. Ryan Finley got the game-winner against the RailHawks.
Q. This sounds familiar. Didn’t a Charlotte team do well in the U.S. Open Cup a few years ago?
A Yes, the Charlotte Eagles (the city’s former USL franchise that now plays in the USL’s Premier Development League, made it to the quarterfinals of the 2012 Open Cup, falling to Chivas USA of MLS.
Q. What about the coaches for Wednesday’s game?
A. Charlotte’s Mike Jeffries and New England’s Jay Heaps both won national player-of-the year awards at Duke (Jeffries in 1983, Heaps in 1998). Heaps was also on the Blue Devils’ basketball team. Jeffries was an assistant on the Chicago Fire’s Open Cup championship teams in 1998 and 2000.
U.S. Open Cup fourth round
Who: Charlotte Independence at New England Revolution
When/where: 7:30 p.m., Soldiers Field, Boston
TV: U.S. Soccer YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/ussoccer