Round 3 of the 2014 U.S. Open Cup marks the entrance of eight North American Soccer League (NASL) clubs into the competition. The opening rounds have provided their share of upsets already, but with the inclusion of the second-tier professional league teams opportunity for amatuer clubs to make a mark are set.
One of the long-shots in this round of competition will take place in San Antonio when the Scorpions play host to NTX Rayados. San Antonio (4-1-2) currently sit third on the NASL table, three points behind league-leading Minnesota United. Their opponents have proved to be a difficult task over their short history.
Formed in 2011, NTX Rayados have been a force in the North Texas Premier Soccer Association (NTPSA). In 2013 Rayados claimed their first major trophy by winning the USASA Open Cup, defeating RWB Adria in the final. They are competing in their third U.S. Open, having been eliminated by PDL clubs (El Paso Patriots in 2012, Austin Aztex in 2013) the previous two years.
Revenge was sweet for Rayados, who again faced Austin in the second round on May 14. Coming from behind three times, NTX Rayados equalized to force extra time. Fernando Garza scored in the 118′ for their first lead only to see the home side Aztex equalize in the final minute to send the game to PK’s. A Rayados save and one goalpost hit by Austin was enough as NTX converted all four of their shots to advance.
Two National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) clubs will also have matchups with NASL teams. In New York, the Cosmos will host crosstown opponent Brooklyn Italians. Chattanooga FC, who knocked out USL PRO Wilmington Hammerheads in the second round, will face Atlanta Silverbacks.
May 28 NASL fixtures
- Atlanta Silverbacks at Chattanooga FC (NPSL)
- Brooklyn Italians (NPSL) at New York Cosmos
- Charlotte Eagles (USL PRO) at Carolina RailHawks
- Dayton Dutch Lions (USL PRO) at Indy Eleven
- Laredo Heat (PDL) at Fort Lauderdale Strikers
- Minnesota United at Des Moines Menace (PDL)
- NTX Rayados (USASA) at San Antonio Scorpions
- Tampa Bay Rowdies at Orlando City SC (USL PRO)