Orlando City to face USL side Sacramento Republic


For the first time since 2008, a team from outside Major League Soccer will contest the US Open Cup final.

USL Championship side Sacramento Republic beat Sporting Kansas City 5-4 in a penalty shootout on Wednesday night after a 0-0 draw in regulation time, with Rodrigo Lopez firing the winner after Graham Zusi’s miss.

SKC are the third MLS victims to fall to Sacramento in this year’s competition, after they also knocked out California giants LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes in previous rounds.

They become the first non-MLS team since the Charleston Battery in 2008 to reach the US Open Cup final, while the last win from outside the top-flight came in 2009 when the Rochester Rhinos (now Rochester New York FC) beat the Colorado Rapids 2-0.

Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.

“This is the biggest night of my coaching career,” said head coach Mark Briggs, adding:

“We’re 90 minutes away from a trophy and a Champions League berth. So it’s a massive accolade, a massive night and something that’ll long live in the memory. But we aren’t done. We said in the last round we’re not in this competition just to make up the numbers. We’re in this competition because we want to win it. Now we’ve put ourselves in a position to go and win it.”

Sacramento will now face Orlando City who, after going out in the semi-finals the last time the Open Cup was held in 2019, thrashed the New York Red Bulls 5-1 on Wednesday to go on better.

Orlando fell 1-0 behind to a Lewis Morgan goal in first-half stoppage time, but managed to hit back through Cesar Araujo before the whistle was even blown for the break.

After half-time, the Lions were utterly dominant, with Mauricio Pereyra making it 2-1 and Araujo completing his brace before late goals from Facundo Torres and Benji Michel ensured a memorable night at Exploria Stadium.

“The importance of the game, it goes beyond taking the club to another final, which is already super for our fans and what the achievement means for the city,” Orlando head coach Oscar Pareja said.

He added “It was proof we can reach that potential and we will have that as a moment to keep ascending with this team. We’ll keep working. We want to see more of these moments. Our fans deserve it.”

Orlando City will host the final against the Sacramento Republic, which will take place on Wednesday, September 7. The winner will not only lift the US Open Cup trophy, but also earn a place in the Concacaf Champions League – something never achieved by a USL team.


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.