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NYCFC to play Rochester in the US Open Cup

The MLS NEXT Pro side are regional rivals of NYCFC II

Rochester NY v New England Revolution II
They should really go back to their old name, Rochester Rhinos.
Photo by Tim Bouwer/ISI Photos/Getty Images

New York City FC will host Rochester NY FC in the Round of 32 in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, the oldest soccer tournament in the United States. The game will take place on May 11 at Belson Stadium in Queens on the campus of St. John’s University.

Rochester NY FC advance after defeating Clarkstown FC Eagles yesterday in a wild game: Reduced to nine players after earning two red cards, Rochester saw out a 2-2 draw through extra time to win in penalty kicks.

Rochester play in the third-tier MLS NEXT Pro, and are the designated regional rivals of NYCFC II. Before the NYCFC faithful congratulate themselves on an easy draw, they should remember that New York City have a 0-2 record against lower division teams in the US Open Cup.

Elsewhere in the Northern Atlantic division, DC United will host New Jersey Red Bulls.

The US Open Cup is back this year after a two-year COVID-induced break with a new format that allowed NYCFC and seven other high-performing MLS teams to join in the Round of 32.

Other MLS teams joined in the Third Round, which wrapped up last night. (Note that CF Montréal, Toronto FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps participate in the Canadian Championship, not in the US Open Cup.) Part of the fun of the US Open Cup is the sharks vs minnows matchups when lower division teams face MLS heavy hitters. Sometimes the minnows win. This year saw some notable upsets—or cupsets, if you will:

Detroit City FC of the second-tier USL Championship beat Columbus Crew

San Antonio FC of USL Championship defeated Austin FC

Union Omaha of the third-tier US League One defeated Chicago Fire

Northern Colorado Hailstorm of US League One defeated Real Salt Lake

NYCFC have a troubled history with the US Open Cup: New York City have won just two games in five tournaments, crashing out against New Jersey Red Bulls (twice), New York Cosmos (twice), and Orlando City SC. If you’re feeling masochistic, you can read all about those losses here.

This will be the first US Open Cup for manager Ronny Deila, the only NYCFC gaffer to win silverware for the club. Will he treat the tournament as a friendly, like Jason Kries and Patrick Vieira 1.0? Or will he take it seriously, like Vieira 2.0 and Domè Torrent?

Remember, NYCFC only just shook off the hangover from playing in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Post your predictions in the comments below.

Note: This article was updated after it was announced that the game will take place on May 11 at Belson Stadium in Queens on the campus of St. John’s University.