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NYCFC II to face FC Motown in US Open Cup

The former national amateur champions from Morristown, New Jersey, will host NYCFC's MLS NEXT Pro side at Montclair State University.

NYCFC, but the II/MLS NEXT Pro version. Photo:

MLS has largely pulled out of the 2024 US Open Cup, with New York City FC and many other MLS clubs confirmed to not be in the tournament—but we now know the opponent, date, and time of New York City FC II's first-ever match in the historic domestic cup competition.

Sources close to Hudson River Blue's Michael Battista first indicated NYCFC II would travel to face FC Motown, the former national amateur champions based in Morristown, New Jersey.

FC Motown and US Soccer have both since confirmed the First Round match with NYCFC's MLS NEXT Pro squad. Motown and NYCFC II will meet on Thursday, March 21 at 7:30 PM at MSU Soccer Park on the campus of Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey.

FC Motown are one of 32 amateur teams entering the US Open Cup in its First Round, and look ready to embrace the underdog role while facing NYCFC II.

HRB's Michael Battista wrote about FC Motown's entry as part of the tournament's Open Division in December, noting that Motown are riding a streak of seven straight Open Cup qualifications.

Their last trip to the Open Cup in 2023 ended in controversy, as they lost 2-1 to Manhattan SC, but then unsuccessfully appealed their defeat over field-related issues dealt with while playing at Marillac Field on the banks of the Hudson River in the Bronx.

NYCFC II and all its fellow MLS NEXT Pro teams, meanwhile, enter the tournament under dubious circumstances.

MLS tried to outright pull out of the 2024 Open Cup in December, then was reported to be "holding the tournament hostage" while playing hardball in negotiations over numerous aspects of the tournament and its format just weeks before this week's finalized plan was announced.

The format for this year's Open Cup all the stakeholders ultimately settled on sees only eight MLS first-teams in the tournament, with 11 clubs from third-division MLS NEXT Pro joining in place of the usual full first-division contingent.

NYCFC II, which functions largely as a reserve squad to give New York City FC's most promising academy players professional experience, will now compete at an awkward moment for the tournament, and particularly for its MLS NEXT Pro sides.

It's unclear what that NYCFC II squad traveling to Morristown in a few weeks will look like: The club has not announced a roster or much else about its 2024 season. There will likely be teenaged NYCFC Homegrown players involved, as the club have signed a number of them in recent seasons.

NYCFC II's MLS NEXT Pro season kicks off on March 17 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida against Inter Miami CF II, only days before their midweek Open Cup trip to New Jersey.