Photo courtesy Mississippi Brilla FC
The U.S. Open Cup proved fruitful once again in 2018 for PDL teams facing professional opposition, as three managed to pull off "cupsets" in Round Two.
The three wins marked the continuation of the Premier Development League's success in the competition, as the league extended its streak of beating at least two professional teams to seven consecutive years. The three wins over professional opposition were also the most by any Open Division amateur league in the Second Round.
"We're so proud of our teams that not only competed with, but surpassed their professional opponents in the Second Round," said PDL Co-Director Chris Madden. "We look forward to seeing them line up with another chance to prove themselves in Round Three, and wish them the best of luck as they attempt to make runs deep into the Open Cup."
In an early match out East, the Ocean City Nor'easters made an instant impression on their United Soccer League opponents, the Charlotte Independence, scoring twice in the first six minutes to take an immediate 2-0 advantage. The Nor'easters would go on to push for a third and wound up winning by a comfortable 3-1 margin. The upset wasn't a new concept to the Nor'easters, who have beaten five professional teams in the past, advancing to the Third Round in 2009 and 2013.
Next Match: Ocean City Nor'easters at North Carolina FC - Tue. May 22, 7 p.m. ET - Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
Slightly later in the South, Mississippi Brilla FC hosted the Indy Eleven and smothered their opponents with stifling defense. In the shutout, 1-0 victory, Brilla FC were able to break down their opponents on a late, well-executed free kick to steal an Open Cup upset at the death. The win was Brilla FC's first ever over a professional team in the competition, and made the club the first ever from Mississippi to advance to the Third Round.
Next Match: Mississippi Brilla FC at Nashville SC - Wed. May 23, 8:30 p.m. ET - Vanderbilt Soccer/Lacrosse Complex; Nashville, Tenn.
Finally out West, the FC Golden State Force pulled off a comeback and more to take down Orange County SC 4-2 and secure advancement to the Third Round. After Orange County seized a 1-0 lead, the Force struck back quickly to equalize. The two clubs repeated the process to make the score 2-2, but the Force would pull away in the later parts of the match to move on to Round Three. The win was the club's first in the PDL over a professional opponent, though it has secured numerous Open Division victories over pros in the past.
Next Match: FC Golden State Force vs. Las Vegas Lights FC - Wed. May 23, 10 p.m. ET - Rio Hondo College; Whittier, Calif.