U.S. Soccer this week announced the first-round pairings for the 105th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, with Kingston Stockade FC set to hit the road when it battles the Long Island Rough Riders Soccer Club of the Premier Development League (PDL) on Wednesday, May 9.
Stockade is among 52 open-division teams in the Open Cup, just 19 of which are from the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). All open-division teams will play in the tournament’s opening round on the same day. Open Cup rules prohibit teams from the same qualifying pool matching up against one another, so the Rough Riders are something of a mystery. In 2017, the team finished second in the PDL’s Northeast Division with an 8-2-4 record. In the playoffs, Long Island beat the New York Red Bulls U23 team 4-1 and the Myrtle Beach Mutiny 2-0 before seeing their season end 4-3 on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw against eventual league champs the Charlotte Eagles on Sunday, July 23.
Stockade FC will face off against Long Island at John Burns Park in Massapequa Park on May 9 at 7 p.m.
“Traveling to Long Island will be a tough test for us in our first-ever U.S. Open Cup appearance, but our coaches and players have already been hard at work getting ready for the new season,” said Stockade FC Chairman Dennis Crowley this week. “Between our on-the-field preparations, and what will hopefully be some solid traveling support, we think we will put forth an effort that will make the Hudson Valley proud on May 9.”
Crowley added that the team was looking to put together a Trailways bus trip for fans to join the team at John Burns Park for the game.
Kingston earned its bid into the national tournament on the merits of their 2017 sophomore season, their first under Head Coach David Lindholm, which saw the semi-pro side excite local fans on their way to an Atlantic Conference White-winning 8-5-1 record. The club, a popular choice among pundits for months to make the Open Cup, had an opportunity to punch their ticket last year, but their season-ending 6-3 loss to Clarkstown SC in the Northeast Region semis in late July left them having to wait until late March to find out whether they’d made the cut.
Should Stockade advance, the second round is scheduled for May 16, the third May 23, and the fourth June 6. After that comes the round of 16 in late June, the quarterfinals in mid-July, the semifinals in early August, and the finals scheduled for Sept. 26. When Stockade insiders announced their 2018 tryouts, they talked about the upcoming season and how the schedule was beneficial because it allowed players to build energy between games. Now, at least as long as they stay alive in the Open Cup, the team is going to be very busy. Kingston’s regular season begins with a visit to Dietz Stadium from the Rhode Island Reds on Saturday, May 12.