Wednesday, the Houston Dynamo will host NTX Rayados in the fourth round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. This will be the first time that the Dynamo have ever played Rayados. The fourth round of the Open Cup marks the first round that MLS teams will make an appearance.
NTX Rayados are an amateur club that play in the North Texas Premier Soccer League. This is the first time that the team has made it to the fourth round of the Open Cup in seven straight appearances in the competition. Rayados defeated FC Wichita 3-2 on May 23 to advance. The team defeated the Oklahoma Energy 5-2 in overtime to push them through to face Wichita. Though an amateur club they are still a club filled with talented players. Christian Okeke was a late sub in both games and provided the goals that helped push them to the next rounds. Jose Luis Burciaga played in MLS with the Kansas City Wizards and his professional experience has helped anchor the team this season as they go deeper in the Open Cup than they have before. Burciaga isn’t the only player with MLS experiance as NTX’s goalkeeper Eduardo Cortes was the third goalkeeper for FC Dallas last season. Also a familiar face on the NTX squad is Lucio Martinez who played for the Houston Dynamo academy.
The Dynamo have had mixed results in the competition over the years. They are 12-10-1 all time in the Open Cup. Last year the Dynamo were eliminated in the the Round of 16 by Sporting Kansas City. They have never made it past the Semifinal round of the tournament.
It’s tough to say who will start for the Dynamo on Wednesday. They have suffered a rash of injuries this season particularly to their back line. In their MLS game against the Montreal Impact they started a number of younger players who are usually late game subs. The team also has a MLS game on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids and will want to make sure that they have their top players rested for that game. The Dynamo are currently in seventh place in the Western Conference and are coming off of back-to-back losses.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, founded in 1914, is a single-elimination tournament that determines the champion of American soccer. Participating teams come from all levels of soccer in the US from local amateur and semi-pro sides up to Major League Soccer.