The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (LHUSOC) will take center stage on Wednesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, where FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo will meet in the quarterfinals of the United States’ oldest knock-out soccer cup competition.
The meeting will be the third in 2016 between the Dynamo and FC Dallas, with Houston winning 5-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium in the second match of the season, before the sides drew 1-1 in Frisco in early June. Wednesday’s match will be the 32nd all-time clash between the two Texas-based teams, with Houston winning 12 matches to Dallas’ 11, with eight draws as well.
The winner of Wednesday’s match will progress to the semifinals of the LHUSOC, placing them only two wins away from hoisting the prestigious trophy.
Houston’s path to the LHUSOC quarterfinals began, like FC Dallas, with a win in the Fourth Round of the competition against a team from the United Soccer League (USL). The Dynamo dispatched San Antonio FC 4-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium behind a goal apiece from Mauro Manotas, Alex, Raul Rodriguez and Leonel Miranda.
After the win over third-tier San Antonio, Houston defeated Sporting Kansas City in the Fifth Round 3-1 in Houston. Two goals from Manotas and another goal from Alex helped the Dynamo eliminate the defending champions, and earned them a third-straight home LHUSOC match against their Texas Derby rivals.
If Houston’s prior two cup matches are any indication, the Colombian forward Manotas should be a factor on Wednesday night, as should the Brazilian midfielder Alex.
Formerly of the Chicago Fire, Alex enjoyed runs to the LHUSOC semifinals with the Fire in 2013 and 2014, although Houston has not reached that stage since 2009.
The Dynamo enjoyed a day more of rest compared to FC Dallas since they were last in action, losing 1-0 at the Los Angeles Galaxy this past Friday in MLS play. Considering that goalkeeper Joe Willis started that match against the Galaxy, Tyler Deric will most likely get a turn in net versus Dallas.
Defender DaMarcus Beasely went unused against the Galaxy and should be available for the quarterfinal match, while midfielders Andrew Wenger and Giles Barnes each started against L.A., putting their fitness in jeopardy.
Midfielder Ricardo Clark scored Houston’s equalizing goal in the 1-1 draw at Toyota Stadium earlier this year, and he will look to get on the score sheet again against his club’s bitter rivals.
FC Dallas’ route to the quarterfinals started with a unique Fourth Round meeting with the Oklahoma City Energy, the USL club that is partnered with FC Dallas. It took a dramatic 6-5 penalty shootout victory over the Energy for FC Dallas to progress at Westcott Field on the campus of SMU, after the two sides drew 2-2 after 120 minutes.
A brace from midfielder Carlos Lizarazo had given FC Dallas a 2-1 lead in the match after they fell behind, but a 90th minute equalizer from OKC’s Michael Thomas made the extra time necessary.
120 minute were again needed in Dallas’ Fifth Round match, a 2-1 extra time victory against the Colorado Rapids. A second-half goal from Mauro Diaz sent the match into an extra period, where a Maxi Urruti strike sent FC Dallas through to the quarterfinals.
A recent crunch of fixtures for FC Dallas has seen plenty of squad rotation by manager Oscar Pareja, with the addition of defender Aubrey David on loan from Costa Rican club Saprissa a perfect example. David has made consecutive appearances for Dallas against Seattle and Chicago in MLS play, and could make his first LHUSOC start on Wednesday.
The use of goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez in the 3-1 home win over Chicago on Saturday makes it likely that normal starter Chris Seitz will be in net for the Houston match. After being held out of the Chicago win, defender Walker Zimmerman should return to the starting 11, perhaps alongside either Matt Hedges or Maynor Figueroa, who is back from a red card suspension.
Lizarazo is expected to feature in the FC Dallas midfield after not playing on Saturday, while Victor Ulloa and Mauro Rosales are also likely to play in the place of any of Diaz (recently named a MLS all-star), Kellyn Acosta and Carlos Gruezo.
Despite netting the winner in the Fifth Round, Urruti will likely be a substitute with Tesho Akindele starting up top. Fabian Castillo and Michael Barrios are both options on the wing for FC Dallas, a club seeking their second U.S Open Cup title, and first since 1997.
Kickoff for the LHUSOC quarterfinal will be at 7:30 p.m. at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
The match will be live-streamed on YouTube and will be available for access on the U.S. Soccer YouTube channel.