Two NWSL reserve teams in WPSL Final Four, we think

Never easy, but here’s what I’ve figured out so far from the WPSL site schedule:

Home teams listed first, where applicable.

West Region
Champions of Northwest (Issaquah), Pac North (Spurs), Pac South (SoCal); plus Pac South runner-up (San Diego) 

Playoffs (July 18)
SoCal FC 5-0 Tottenham Hotspur Eastbay Ladies
Issaquah Soccer Club 3-1 San Diego SeaLions

Final (July 19)
SoCal FC vs. Issaquah Soccer Club

East Region
Champions of Northeast (Boston), Power 5 (New England), Mid Atlantic (Yankee); plus Mid Atlantic runner-up (Hershey) … news report said Seacoast United Phantoms would be in.

Playoffs (July 18)
New England Mutiny 2-0 Yankee Lady FC
Boston Breakers Reserves 6-1 Hershey Soccer Club

Final (July 19)
Boston Breakers Reserves 2-0 New England Mutiny

Midwest Region
Champions of Midwest-Central (Chicago), Midwest-Great Lakes (Motor City) and Can Am (Empire); news report said Fire and Ice also would play

Playoff (July 17)
Chicago Red Stars Reserves 5-1 Empire City FC

Final (July 19)
Motor City FC 0-2 Chicago Red Stars Reserves


News report said we would see this:

1. Sunshine Conference playoffs July 11-12

2. Semifinals and final July 18-19, starting with
Sunshine vs. Southeast
Big Sky vs. South Atlantic

Sunshine played games listed as regular-season games July 11:
Tampa Bay Hellenic 4-1 Florida Sol FC
Florida Krush 0-2 Pinellas County United SC

Southeast played games listed as playoffs July 10:
FC Nashville Wolves 4-0 Alabama FC
Knoxville Lady Force 3-1 Chattanooga FC

This Big Sky vs. Southeast game is listed as a playoff, not final (July 18)
Knoxville Lady Force 0-2 Oklahoma City FC

According to WPSL Twitter, Oklahoma City FC qualified for national championship. They’re hosting.

South Atlantic champion ASA Charge played instead in the USASA National Championship with South Atlantic runner-up Fredericksburg FC, Power 5 runner-up New York Athletic Club, and something called Olympic Club. Winner seems to be Olympic Club. 

So it appears we’ll have two NWSL reserve teams in the Final Four (meanwhile, the Washington Spirit Reserves are in the W-League Final Four), plus Oklahoma City FC and the West winner.

U.S. Open Cup: Top 14 teams and upset history

Through May 23, 2014, lower-division teams have beaten MLS teams 66 times. (MLS teams have won 160.) And based on a whole lot of spreadsheets, we can declare one particular lower-division team the most accomplished team in the Open Cup.

The PDL is 38-87 against non-MLS pro leagues. But other amateur leagues are less successful against D2 and D3: 10-72.

For purposes of these upset lists, I haven’t separated D2 from D3. To my surprise, D2 (A-League/USL-1/USSF D-2/NASL) is 38-12 against D3 (D3 Pro/USL-2/USL Pro) since 1997. But the difference today is debatable. The Cup gives us scant evidence: Since 2010, when USSF D-2 split from the USL, D2 and D3 are 3-3 against each other. But against MLS teams, NASL teams (6-9, 40%) are more successful than USL Pro teams (9-21, 30%).

That’s assuming I didn’t miss anything in copying and pasting all the results from 1996 to 2014 from, cleaning up the data for easy sorting and searching, writing formulas to take each league name into account, etc.

Here is, to the best of my knowledge and spreadsheeting ability, a list of every U.S. Open Cup upset since MLS teams joined in 1996:

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As with the FA Cup, once a top-tier team gets to the later rounds, it gets a bit more serious about the competition. That shows when we look at the quarterfinalists and semifinalists:

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In typical soccer fashion, I’m going to take a whole bunch of data and then make a subjective judgment. I added up all the wins and all the runs, then ranked each team’s accomplishments based on how much they overachieved. In other words, a PDL team beating a couple of pro teams is roughly equivalent to an MLS team reaching the final.

Here goes, in reverse order:

14. Carolina RailHawks (USL-1/USSF D-2/NASL): 13 wins in seven years (through 2013). 1-time semifinalist. 4 wins over MLS teams.

  • 2007 (USL-1): Semifinalist. Beat Chicago Fire.
  • 2012 (NASL): Beat Los Angeles.
  • 2013 (NASL): Quarterfinalist. Beat Los Angeles and Chivas USA.

13. Columbus Crew (MLS): 19 wins, 1 Cup, 2-time runner-up, 1-time semifinalist.

  • 1998: Runner-up
  • 1999: Semifinalist
  • 2002: Champion
  • 2010: Runner-up

12. Kansas City Wizards / Sporting Kansas City (MLS): 18 wins, 2 Cups, 1-time semifinalist.

  • 2002: Semifinalist
  • 2004: Champion
  • 2012: Champion

11. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL-2/USL Pro): 15 wins, 5 over MLS teams.

  • 2007: Quarterfinalist. Beat D.C. United.
  • 2009: Quarterfinalist. Beat New England (away).
  • 2010: Quarterfinalist. Beat New York Red Bulls.
  • 2012: Quarterfinalist. Beat New England and New York Red Bulls.

10. Wilmington Hammerheads (PSL/USL-2/USL Pro): 15 wins, 2 over MLS teams.

  • 2003 (USL Pro): Quarterfinalist. Beat Atlanta Silverbacks  (A-League) 2-1, beat Dallas Burn (MLS) 4-1.
  • 2006: Round of 16, again beating Atlanta 2-1.
  • 2009 (USL-2): Quarterfinalist, beat Carolina RailHawks (USL-1) on PKs after 3-3 tie, beat Chicago Fire (MLS) 1-0

9. Mid-Michigan Bucks / Michigan Bucks (PDL): 12 wins. Two wins over MLS teams; total of nine wins over pro teams.

  • 1997: Beat Wilmington Hammerheads (D3 Pro) 3-2 away.
  • 1999: Beat Austin Lone Stars (D3 Pro) 3-2; beat Minnesota Thunder (A-League) 2-1 away.
  • 2000: Beat New England Revolution (MLS) 1-0 away. Lost to Miami Fusion (MLS) on PKs.
  • 2003: Beat Long Island Rough Riders (PSL) 2-1.
  • 2006: Beat Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL-2) 2-0; beat Cincinnati Kings (USL-2) 2-1.
  • 2012: Beat Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL Pro) 1-0 away; beat Chicago Fire (MLS) 3-2 after extra time.

8. Richmond Kickers (USL top leagues/USL-2/USL Pro): 22 wins. Champions in 1995, the first year of the pro era and the year before MLS launched. 1-time semifinalist.

  • 2000 (A-League): Beat Colorado Rapids.
  • 2001 (A-League): Quarterfinalist
  • 2004 (A-League): Quarterfinalist. Beat D.C. United.
  • 2007 (USL-2): Quarterfinalist. Beat Los Angeles.
  • 2011 (USL-2): Semifinalist. Beat Columbus and Sporting Kansas City.

7. Dallas Burn / FC Dallas (MLS): 27 wins, 1 Cup, 2-time runner-up, 4-time semifinalist.

  • 1996: Semifinalist
  • 1997: Champion
  • 1998: Semifinalist
  • 2002: Semifinalist
  • 2005: Runner-up
  • 2007: Runner-up
  • 2011: Semifinalist

6. Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS): 23 wins, 2 Cups, 2-time runner-up, 2-time semifinalist.

  • 2000: Semifinalist
  • 2001: Champion
  • 2002: Runner-up. Also won MLS Cup.
  • 2003: Semifinalist
  • 2005: Champion. Also won MLS Cup.
  • 2006: Runner-up

5. Charleston Battery (USL top leagues/USL-2/USL Pro): 29 wins, 1-time runner-up, 2-time semifinalist.

  • 1999 (A-League): Semifinalist.
  • 2004 (A-League): Semifinalist. Upset MetroStars (MLS) in round of 16, beat Rochester (A-League) in quarterfinals. Fell to Chicago (MLS) in extra time, just missing the final.
  • 2007 (USL-1): Quarterfinalist.
  • 2008 (USL-1): Finalist.
  • 2009 (USL-1): Quarterfinalist.
  • 2010 (USL-2): Quarterfinalist.

4. D.C. United (MLS): 32 wins, 3 Cups, 2-time runner-up, 4-time semifinalist.

  • 1996: Champion. Also won MLS Cup.
  • 1997: Runner-up. Also won MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield.
  • 2001: Semifinalist
  • 2003: Semifinalist
  • 2006: Semifinalist. Also won Supporters’ Shield.
  • 2008: Champion
  • 2009: Runner-up
  • 2010: Semifinalist
  • 2013: Champion. Had worst record in MLS.

3. Seattle Sounders (A-League/USL-1/MLS): 30 wins, 3 straight Cups, 1-time runner-up, 2-time semifinalist.

We’ll treat the A-League/USL Sounders and the MLS Sounders as one entity here, mostly because the club’s commitment to the Open Cup never wavered.

  • 1996 (A-League): Quarterfinalist
  • 2003 (A-League): Quarterfinalist
  • 2007 (USL-1): Semifinalist
  • 2008 (USL-1): Semifinalist
  • 2009 (MLS): Champion
  • 2010 (MLS): Champion
  • 2011 (MLS): Champion
  • 2012 (MLS): Runner-up

2. Chicago Fire (MLS): 34 wins, 4 Cups, 2-time runner-up, 3-time semifinalist.

  • 1998: Champion. Also won MLS Cup. Club’s first season.
  • 2000: Champion. Also lost MLS Cup final.
  • 2001: Semifinalist
  • 2003: Champion. Also won Supporters’ Shield, lost MLS Cup final.
  • 2004: Runner-up
  • 2005: Semifinalist
  • 2006: Champion
  • 2011: Runner-up

1. Rochester Rhinos (A-League/USL-1/USL Pro): 33 wins, 1 Cup, 1-time runner-up, 1-time semifinalist.

  • 1996 (A-League): Runner-up. Upset Tampa Bay Mutiny in extra time (quarterfinals), upset Colorado Rapids 3-0, lost final to D.C. United.
  • 1999 (A-League): Champion. Four straight wins over MLS teams. 1-0 over Chicago Fire, 2-1 (ET) over Dallas Burn, 3-2 over Columbus Crew and 2-0 over Colorado Rapids.
  • 2004 (A-League): Quarterfinalist
  • 2005 (A-League): Quarterfinalist
  • 2009 (USL-1): Semifinalist


1997: San Francisco Bay Seals (D3) beat two MLS teams (Kansas City Wizards, San Jose Clash) to reach semifinals.

2003: Fresno Fuego (PDL) beat Utah Blitzz (PSL) and El Paso Patriots (A-League) to reach  round of 16, losing to LA Galaxy in quarterfinals. Came back in 2014 with win over Orange County Blues (USL Pro).

2005: Minnesota Thunder (A-League) beat PDL’s Chicago Fire Premier, won a wild 6-4 game in extra time over Real Salt Lake, then beat the Colorado Rapids and Kansas City Wizards (away) to reach semifinals. The year before, the Thunder beat the Los Angeles Galaxy. That’s four wins over MLS teams.

2006: Dallas Roma FC (USASA) beat PDL’s Laredo Heat on PKs, then USL-1’s Miami FC 1-0, then Chivas USA on PKs, falling in fourth round.

2006: Carolina Dynamo (PDL) beat two pro teams: Richmond Kickers (USL-2) in second round, Seattle Sounders (USL-1) in third, setting up Dynamo-Dynamo matchup vs. Houston. As a pro team, reached quarterfinals in 1996.

2007: New England Revolution (MLS) made a rare run in the Cup and won it all. Next best runs: final in 2001, semifinal in 2008.

2012: Cal FC (USASA) beat Wilmington Hammerheads (USL Pro) 4-0 away and Portland Timbers (MLS) 1-0 away.


34 Chicago Fire (2nd in the ranking above)
33 Rochester Rhinos (1st)
32 DC United (4th)
30 Seattle Sounders (3rd)
29 Charleston Battery (5th)
27 Dallas Burn / FC Dallas (7th)
23 Los Angeles Galaxy (6th)
22 Richmond Kickers (8th)
19 Columbus Crew (13th)
18 Kansas City Wizards / Sporting KC (12th)
16 MetroStars / New York Red Bulls
15 Harrisburg City Islanders (11th)
15 Wilmington Hammerheads (10th)
14 New England Revolution
13 Carolina RailHawks (14th)
12 Mid-Michigan Bucks / Michigan Bucks (9th)
12 Minnesota Thunder
12 San Jose Clash / Earthquakes
11 Carolina Dynamo
11 Des Moines Menace
10 Charlotte Eagles
10 Portland Timbers

Corrections? Comments? Commiseration for staring at spreadsheets for so long? Share below.

U.S. Open Cup second round, collated scoreboard

Headlines (see glossary below):

– The NPSL is out. Georgia Revolution fell 3-2 in the “Battle of Atlanta” against the NASL Silverbacks.

– The USASA is out, though Dearborn took Dayton (USL Pro) to extra time before falling 4-1.

– PDL upsets so far: Reading over Harrisburg (USL Pro), Ocean City over Pittsburgh (USL Pro), Des Moines over Minnesota (NASL), Tucson over San Antonio (NASL)

– Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) won the first head-to-head matchup between pro teams, winning the Tampa Bay derby 2-1 and forcing perennial Open Cup power Seattle Sounders to fly cross-country to face them next week. Other MLS teams with long trips: Los Angeles, San Jose, Colorado, Dallas. The NASL’s Atlanta and USL Pro’s Wilmington have long trips the other direction.

– Local derbies in the third round: Richmond-D.C., Columbus-Dayton, Philadelphia-Ocean City, L.A. Blues-Chivas USA

Final scores (home teams listed first):


Richmond (USLP) 4-1 Icon FC (USASA), final
Richmond – D.C. United (again)

Dayton (USLP) 4-1 Dearborn (USASA), final (extra time)
Columbus – Dayton

Reading (PDL) 1-0 Harrisburg City (USLP), final (apologies for having it wrong earlier)
New York (Red Bulls, not FC) – Reading

Ocala (PDL) 1-2 Orlando City (USLP), final
Orlando – Colorado

Charlotte (USLP) 3-0 Seattle Sounders U23 (PDL), final
Charlotte – Chicago

Ocean City (PDL) 1-0 Pittsburgh (USLP), final
Philadelphia – Ocean City

Rochester (USLP) 1-0 GPS Portland Phoenix (PDL), final
Rochester – New England

Austin (PDL) 0-2 Wilmington (USLP), final
Portland – Wilmington

Los Angeles Blues (USLP) 5-1 Ventura County (PDL), final
Los Angeles Blues – Chivas USA

Portland Timbers U23 (PDL) 0-1 Charleston (USLP), final
Charleston – San Jose


Georgia Revolution (NPSL) 2-3 Atlanta (NASL), final
Salt Lake – Atlanta

Carolina Railhawks (NASL) 3-1 Carolina Dynamo (PDL), final
Carolina Railhawks – Los Angeles

Fort Lauderdale (NASL) 1-1 Laredo (PDL), Fort Lauderdale wins 7-6 on PKs
Fort Lauderdale – Dallas

Minnesota (NASL) 0-1 Des Moines (PDL), final
Kansas City – Des Moines

San Antonio (NASL) 2-2 Tucson (PDL), Tucson wins 4-3 on PKs
Houston – Tucson


VSI Tampa Bay FC (USLP) 1-2 Tampa Bay (NASL), final
Tampa Bay Rowdies – Seattle


The divisional structure in the USA/Canada is:

Division 2: NASL, North American Soccer League. (Not the one that featured Pele and so forth in the 70s.)

Division 3: USL Pro, the top flight of the United Soccer Leagues

PDL: Premier Development League, the USL’s summer amateur league. Mostly college players.

NPSL: National Premier Soccer League, an independent amateur league, also operating mostly in summer.

USASA: U.S. Adult Soccer Association, a national body administering most local and regional leagues.