Tampa Bay Sports Day

Tampa Bay Rowdies Return To Action In 2017 U.S. Open Cup

NEW YORK – Four North American Soccer League (NASL) clubs will look to advance to the fourth round of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night. All four clubs will face off against opposition from the United Soccer League (USL), and three of the NASL sides will host.

Miami FC and the San Francisco Deltas each won their first ever game in the competition two weeks ago, while North Carolina FC and Jacksonville Armada FC square off in rematches against the same clubs they faced at this stage of last year’s tournament.

Jacksonville will get the ball rolling first on Wednesday night when the club kicks off against the Charleston Battery at 7 p.m. ET. Miami and North Carolina will kick off at home just 30 minutes later, facing the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Charlotte Independence, respectively. Out west, the Deltas pay a visit to Phoenix Rising FC in a matchup that will kick off at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Jacksonville Armada FC vs. Charleston Battery (USL)
7 p.m. ET | Wednesday, May 31
Southern Oak Stadium | Jacksonville, Fla.

Jacksonville Armada FC heads into the third round of the Open Cup after defeating National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) side Miami United FC. Jacksonville conceded first, but goals from Aaron Pitchkolan and Jack Blake gave Jacksonville the 2-1 win. Armada FC is in strong form overall, recently downing North Carolina FC, 2-1, on the strength of Zach Steinberger’s brace.

The Charleston Battery also held on for a 2-1 win in the club’s last Cup contest. Charleston jumped ahead of the NPSL’s Atlanta Silverbacks when Forest Lasso headed home from a free kick. Later in the first half, the visitors doubled their lead through Jeffery Otoo. The Battery currently sit first in the USL Eastern Conference, but the side lost its last game, 2-1, to New York Red Bulls II. Jacksonville defeated Charleston, 2-1, at this stage last year.

North Carolina FC vs. Charlotte Independence (USL)
7:30 p.m. ET | Wednesday, May 31
Sahlen’s Stadium | Cary, N.C.

North Carolina FC was powered by a high-scoring attack in its last matchup in the Cup, defeating Premier Development League (PDL) side Carolina Dynamo, 6-1. Brian Shriver, who has scored more times in the competition than any other NASL player, found the back of the net for the eighth time in the Cup to get things rolling for North Carolina. Matt Fondy and Tiyi Shipalane also scored in the first half before Jon Orlando and Billy Schuler, who scored twice, found the target in the second stanza. Last year, the club used a similar attacking outburst to down the club’s next opponent in the Open Cup, Charlotte Independence, in a 5-0 win. North Carolina, however, is coming off a loss as the club fell, 2-1, to Jacksonville Armada FC on Sunday.

The Charlotte Independence head to Sahlen’s Stadium after a 3-2 win over the Charlotte Eagles in Open Cup play. After Casey Townsend gave the club the lead, the Eagles had a swift response with two goals. Enzo Martinez, though, scored twice in the second interval to lift the Independence to victory. Charlotte won its last game, 3-1, over Orlando City B in league action.

Miami FC vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL)
7:30 p.m. ET | Wednesday, May 31
Riccardo Silva Stadium | Miami, Fla.
Miami FC has been rolling in league play entering the third round of the Open Cup. Miami knocked off the South Florida Surf of the PDL, 3-2. The Surf jumped in front when former NASL player Darwin Espinal found the back of the net. Kwadwo Poku leveled the score and an own goal put Miami in front before another former NASL player, Jeff Michaud, evened things up at 2-2. Jaime Chavez, the second-leading scorer for an NASL player in the competition, scored his seventh Cup goal to give Miami the win. The club is coming off a 1-1 draw in league play against Puerto Rico FC.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies visit Riccardo Silva Stadium after a 3-0 victory against Jacksonville Armada FC U-23s. Goals from Kyle Porter, Michael Nanchoff, and Martin Paterson carried the Rowdies to victory. In league play, Tampa Bay is in second place in the USL and most recently played to a 1-1 draw against Saint Louis FC.

Phoenix Rising FC (USL) vs. San Francisco Deltas
9:30 p.m. ET | Wednesday, May 31
Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex | Tempe, Ariz.

Phoenix Rising moved past PDL side Fresno Fuego, 3-1, in the last round, setting up a showdown with the San Francisco Deltas. Kody Wakasa opened the scoring for Phoenix in the first half. Later in the game, Eric Avila and Mike Seth both found the back of the net in the victory. Phoenix won its last league game, 2-1, over LA Galaxy II.

The Deltas won their first ever Open Cup contest, defeating the PDL’s Burlingame Dragons, 2-1. After going behind early, defender Reiner Ferreira nodded home for the club’s first tally in the competition. Forward Tom Heinemann completed the comeback with his tally in the 63rd minute. San Francisco played to a 0-0 draw, away from home, in its last outing against the New York Cosmos.