Houston Dynamo FC will host Rio Grande Valley FC from the USL Championship in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at PNC Stadium on Tuesday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT and this is the first meeting between both teams in an official competition.
The Dynamo enter Tuesday’s match with four points from a two-game homestand after they played the Portland Timbers to a scoreless draw on Saturday. The Dynamo played the final 15 minutes of regulation plus an additional six minutes of stoppage time with 10 players after defender Teenage Hadebe was ejected due to a second yellow card. The Dynamo secured their second clean sheet of the season on Saturday and first since they held Real Salt Lake scoreless on opening day.
The Dynamo host a Rio Grande Valley FC team that served as a hybrid affiliate in the USL Championship from 2015-2020. Over the five-year partnership, 12 players were signed to the Houston Dynamo FC roster after first playing for the Toros. Additionally, another 37 players earned minutes for RGV FC while on loan from Houston.
The RGV FC Toros enter Tuesday’s game with two victories from their last three games. This includes their 2-1 triumph on the road over North Carolina FC on April 6 to advance to Tuesday’s game and more recently, a 1-0 victory over New York Red Bulls II last Friday. The team is led by former Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera and features goalkeeper Tyler Deric and midfielder Juan David Cabezas. Both players were key players for the Dynamo in their run to the 2018 Open Cup championship.
Houston faces a quick turnaround and travels to north Texas this weekend to face FC Dallas at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 23. The Dynamo return to PNC Stadium on Saturday, April 30 to host Austin FC at 12:30 p.m. CT.
Here are three key points ahead of Tuesday’s match:
- DYNAMO IN OPEN CUP: The Dynamo captured the 2018 U.S. Open Cup, the club’s first title in the tournament, with a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on September 26, 2018, at BBVA Compass Stadium (now PNC Stadium). The Open Cup title was the third domestic championship in Dynamo history and first since the club’s back-to-back MLS Cup titles in 2006 and 2007. Darwin Cerén, Adam Lundkvist, Michael Nelson and Memo Rodriguez are four players from the team that won the title in 2018 on the current roster. Current Dynamo head coach Paulo Nagamura won the Open Cup three times as a player with Sporting Kansas City and the Los Angeles Galaxy, and goalkeeper coach Zach Thornton was a member of four Open Cup-winning sides with the Chicago Fire from 1998-2006. Assistant coach Jimmy Nielsen was a teammate of Nagamura’s on Sporting’s 2012 Open Cup champion squad.
- OPEN CUP VARIES FROM TRADITIONAL LEAGUE PLAY: The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is a single-elimination tournament to determine the champion of American soccer. Teams from every level of soccer are included, from local amateur and semi-pro sides up to Major League Soccer. Founded in 1914, the Open Cup is the oldest national soccer competition in the United States and the second-oldest team championship in American sports. The 2022 tournament is the 107th edition of the competition. The tournament features a few changes from the traditional MLS experience with teams limited to 18 players on match day. Three substitutions are allowed per team, compared to five in MLS play. Additionally, if the match is tied at the end of regulation, an additional 30 minutes will be played in two 15-minute intervals. If the match remains tied after extra time, the winner will be decided by kicks from the penalty spot.
- RGV SNAP WINLESS STREAK TO QUALIFY FOR THIRD ROUND: This is the first time the South Texas team competes in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Toros earned a spot in the third round with a 2-1 victory on the road against North Carolina FC on April 6. Their victory in the Open Cup offered RGV a reprieve from their league form, which included three consecutive losses going into the Open Cup fixture. Since then, the Toros have split two league games with a 2-1 loss to Indy XI and a 1-0 victory over New York Red Bulls II on Friday. RGV faces a quick turnaround as they return to South Texas after Tuesday’s game to host Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday evening.