The fourth round of the 2017 US Open Cup sees MLS teams enter the competition, meaning the New York Red Bulls are no longer watching and waiting. On Wednesday, June 14, RBNY plays New York City FC for the first shot at a new angle on the teams' rivalry: the first to knock the other out of USOC.
But that is not the only game being played in the fourth round. Here's a quick look at the latest 2017 USOC match-ups, with a focus on what might be of interest to RBNY fans.
D.C. United vs Christos FC - Tuesday, June 13; 7:30 pm, Eastern
The only remaining amateur team in the draw, Christos FC is expected to bow out of the competition in this round. But the Baltimore-based side has been expected to exit the tournament at pretty much every stage prior to this one, so perhaps it can keep its Cupset run going.
DCU is currently bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference. But that might be a good omen: the last time the team had a bad league campaign - 2013 - it won USOC. Former Red Bulls Lloyd Sam and Sebastien Le Toux might have a part to play in this game.
OaM's pick: Expecting DC to bag an easy win, but rooting for Christos to find a way to another upset.
Colorado Rapids vs OKC Energy FC - Tuesday, June 13; 9:00 pm, Eastern
Colorado's roster includes all-time Metro legend Tim Howard, though it is more likely former NYRB II defender Mike da Fonte will fly the ex-RBNY flag for the Rapids in this game - if the team fields any former Red Bulls at all.
Anthony Wallace won MLS Cup with Colorado, but his brief stint with the New York Red Bulls also coincided with a trophy - the 2015 Supporters' Shield. He's with Oklahoma City Energy now. The team is having a lackluster season in USL at the moment, but perhaps USOC can provide a boost to morale and momentum.
OaM's pick: Go for it, OKC.
Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers - Tuesday, June 13; 10:00 pm, Eastern
Seattle's Oniel Fisher won the 2014 NPSL Championship with New York Red Bulls U-23s, but he will be in Peru with Jamaica while this game is being played; Portland's roster includes former RBNY stalwart Roy Miller: both teams, however, have signaled their intentions for this game - it will be a reserve team affair.
OaM's pick: Portland - cheering for the possibility of Roy Miller having some fun in USOC this year.
FC Cincinnati vs Columbus Crew SC - Wednesday, June 14; 7:00 pm, Eastern
Montville, NJ's Dilly Duka is back with the Crew after a few seasons in Chicago and Montreal, but the Columbus roster doesn't hold great interest for RBNY fans.
FC Cincinnati, however, has RBNY 2014 Draft pick Eric Stevenson on its roster - though he hasn't had much playing time so far this season. Forward Kadeem Dacres had a brief association with the Red Bulls U-23s in his college days.
This match is billed as the Ohio Derby, and Cincinnati is expecting a 20,000+ crowd.
OaM's pick: Cincinnati all the way.
North Carolina FC vs Houston Dynamo - Wednesday, June 14; 7:30 pm, Eastern
OaM's pick: With respect to Alexander and Clark, OaM favors the upset - go for it, NCFC.
New England Revolution vs Rochester Rhinos - Wednesday, June 14; 7:30 pm, Eastern
The Revs' Juan Agudelo was once the pride of RBNY's Academy system; Rochester's roster includes Joe Farrell - 2014 NPSL champ with RBNY U-23s - and former II-team trialist Christiano Francois.
OaM's pick: Rochester bounced OaM favorite FC Motown from this year's USOC, but Francois is a former Motown player, so we're rooting for him and the Rhinos.
Philadelphia Union vs Harrisburg City Islanders - Wednesday, June 14; 7:30 pm, Eastern
The Union has signaled that this will be a game for some of its squad's fringe players, which could mean playing time for RBNY Academy product Adam Najem. Harrisburg can't get enough of former RBNY players: James Thomas, Shawn McLaws, and Manolo Sanchez - all regulars for NYRB II in 2015 - have found their way to the HCI roster.
OaM's pick: The Union has bounced RBNY out of the last two editions of USOC; rooting for HCI to exact some revenge on the Red Bulls' behalf.
Atlanta United vs Charleston Battery - Wednesday, June 14; 7:30 pm, Eastern
Charleston is basically Atlanta's reserve team: the USL club is affiliated to the MLS team, regularly loaning prospects from Atlanta. That relationship perhaps adds a little interest to this match-up, though it remains to be seen how seriously Atlanta will take the Cup.
Former RBNY back-up 'keeper Kyle Reynish - now with Atlanta - is the only former Red Bull on either squad.
OaM's pick: Take your pick - Atlanta or Atlanta B.
Orlando City vs Miami FC - Wednesday, June 14; 7:30 pm, Eastern
Miami's roster includes Hunter Freeman, Jonathan Borrajo, Jonny Steele, and Tyler Ruthven - all former RBNY players. Orlando counts former MetroStar Miles Joseph and influential goalkeeping coach Tim Mulqueen on its technical staff.
OaM's pick: Has to be Miami.
New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC - Wednesday, June 14; 8:00 pm, Eastern
Should be fairly obvious where OaM's preference lies in this one.
FC Dallas vs Tulsa Roughnecks - Wednesday, June 14; 8:00 pm, Eastern
OaM's pick: Whenever possible, root for Kosuke Kimura. Go Tulsa.
Saint Louis FC vs Chicago Fire - Wednesday, June 14; 8:30 pm, Eastern
RBNY legend Dax McCarty might get a rest for this game, though our friends at Hot Time In Old Town expect him to start. STL FC's current joint top-scorer, Jose Angulo, was briefly a Red Bull; defender Konrad Plewa is an Academy product and former II-team mainstay.
OaM's pick: If RBNY goes on a run in the Cup, it'll have to battle through several MLS opponents. A last-eight or final-four match against Dax and friends would be an engaging match-up - so we're rooting for the Fire.
Sporting Kansas City vs Minnesota United - Wednesday, June 14; 8:30 pm, Eastern
KC head coach Peter Vermes is a former MetroStar; Minnesota United defender Thomas de Villardi played for RBNY U-23s in 2016.
OaM's pick: Seems improbable RBNY would face either of these teams before the final - and we're a long way from worrying about whether RBNY is in the final of USOC. Absent any compelling Red Bull connection, there doesn't appear to be much reason to care about this match-up for RBNY fans. May the best team win.
LA Galaxy vs Orange County SC - Wednesday, June 14; 10:30 pm, Eastern
No great RBNY connection on the Galaxy's squad, but Orange County's roster features Wuilito Fernandes - who never played for the Red Bulls, but found his way to the pro game this year after failing win a spot with RBNY at a trial back in 2010.
OaM's pick: Rooting for a hat-trick for Fernandes.
San Jose Earthquakes vs San Francisco Deltas - Wednesday, June 14; 10:30 pm, Eastern
San Jose's Marvell Wynne was selected #1 overall in the 2006 Draft by RBNY, and the Red Bulls traded Quincy Amarikwa to Toronto in 2012 without signing him, which was a neat trick. San Francisco is the current club of former RBNY defender Karl Ouimette.
OaM's pick: Favoring the upset and Ouimette in this one - go Deltas.
Sacramento Republic vs Real Salt Lake - Wednesday, June 14; 11:00 pm, Eastern
Sacramento's Jeremy Hall was a 2009 Draft pick for RBNY, but RSL head coach is legendary MetroBull Mike Petke.
OaM's pick: If Petke's career at RSL is to last much longer than this summer, he may need a good showing in the Cup. OaM is rooting for Petke in USOC until and unless he runs into RBNY.