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Philadelphia Union to host U.S. Open Cup game for first time ever

After going on the road for U.S. Open Cup games in each of their first two seasons, the Philadelphia Union will finally get to host a game in the tournament for the first time in their history this year.

After going on the road for U.S. Open Cup games in each of their first two seasons, the Philadelphia Union will finally get to host a game in the tournament this year.

The Union will face either the Brooklyn Italians of the National Premier Soccer League or the Rochester Rhinos of USL Pro in a third-round matchup at PPL Park on Tuesday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m.

If it's Rochester, the storyline will be the fact that the Rhinos are the only non-MLS team that has ever won the tournament in the MLS era. They did so in 1999.

All 16 American Major League Soccer teams will enter the Open Cup in the third round, and all third round matches will be played on May 29.

Philadelphia's MLS team has never won a game in the competition. In 2010, the Union lost a first-round qualifying game at the New York Red Bulls, 2-1; and last year, they lost a first-round qualifying game at D.C. United, 3-2 on penalty kicks (4-2 in the shootout).

The Union's two minor league affiliates could also have relatively short trips if they win their second-round matchups.

If Reading United AC (PDL) wins at the Charleston Battery (USL Pro), they would travel to Harrison, N.J., to face the New York Red Bulls.

If the Harrisburg City islanders (USL Pro) beat the Long Island Rough Riders (PDL) at home, they would host the New England Revolution at Hershey Park Stadium in Hershey, Pa.

Harrisburg and Reading cannot play the Union or each other, because affiliated teams cannot meet until the latest rounds possible. That is among the reasons why the bracket is not pre-set à la basketball at this point.

The fourth round draw will take place next Wednesday, after the second round is completed on Tuesday. After that point, there will be a straightforward bracket.

Here is the complete list of third round fixtures. It's noteworthy that not every MLS team is guaranteed a home game. In fact, some MLS teams could have considerable travel to undertake depending on what their matchups are.

All times listed are Eastern. Games involving local teams are italicized.

And there's one more thing to keep in mind: The winner of the U.S. Open Cup receives a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League. So the Union currently stand five wins from North American club soccer's biggest stage.

Just saying.

1. Brooklyn Italians (NPSL) or Rochester Rhinos (USL Pro) at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.

2a. Reading United AC (PDL) at New York Red Bulls, 7:00 p.m.
or 2b. New York Red Bulls at Charleston Battery (USL Pro), 7:30 p.m.

3a. New England Revolution at Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro), 7:00 p.m.
or 3b. Long Island Rough Riders (PDL) at New England Revolution, time TBD

4a. D.C. United at Richmond Kickers (USL Pro), 7:00 p.m.
or 4b. Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks FC (USASA) at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

5. Dayton Dutch Lions (USL Pro) or Chicago Fire PDL (PDL) at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

6a. Chicago Fire at Michigan Bucks (PDL), 7:30 p.m.
or 6b. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL Pro) at Chicago Fire, 8:30 p.m.

7. Kansas City Athletics (USASA) or Orlando City Soccer Club (USL Pro) at Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m.

8. Houston Dynamo at Laredo Heat (PDL) or San Antonio Scorpions (NASL), 8:30 p.m.

1. Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro) or El Paso Patriots (PDL) at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

2. Fresno Fuego (PDL) or Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) at San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m.

3a. Ventura County Fusion (PDL) at Chivas USA, time TBD
or 3b. Chivas USA at Los Angeles Blues (USL Pro), 10 p.m.

4a. PSA Elite (USASA) at Los Angeles Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.
or 4b. LA Galaxy at Carolina RailHawks (NASL): WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.; 7:07 p.m. ET

5a. Colorado Rapids at Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL), 7:30 p.m. ET
or 5b. Jacksonville United (NPSL) at Colorado Rapids, 9:00 p.m.

6a. Cal FC (USASA) at Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m.
or 6b. Portland Timbers at Wilmington Hammerheads (USL Pro), 7:00 p.m.

7a. Seattle Sounders at Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL), 7:30 p.m.
or 7b. Georgia Revolution (NPSL) at Seattle Sounders, 10:00 p.m.

8a. Real Salt Lake at Minnesota Stars FC (NASL), 8:30 p.m
or 8b. Des Moines Menace (PDL) at Real Salt Lake, 9:00 p.m.