Preview: Minnesota, mired in a two-match slump, begins U.S. Open Cup play in the third round against Saint Louis FC, a member of the United Soccer League, the third tier of the American soccer pyramid. The Open Cup is U.S. Soccer’s knockout tournament for all affiliated club teams, from amateur to Major League Soccer. Saint Louis and United FC met last year, with the Loons falling in penalty kicks. Minnesota has lost to lower-tier teams twice in the past three annual tournaments. The winner on Wednesday plays Sporting Kansas City of MLS in the fourth round.
Players to watch: Defender Justin Davis of United (4-3-1) returns after serving a one-game suspension for a red card he received against Indy Eleven. His presence could help United FC regain some confidence after two consecutive North American Soccer League losses. The latest one — a 2-0 defeat against Tampa Bay — was the Loons’ first home loss this season. For Saint Louis, Irvin Herrera is the leading goal scorer with six this season.
Numbers: Saint Louis (5-3-4) is on a three-game unbeaten streak, with ties in its past two games, and has yet to lose at home (2-0-3) this season.
Injuries: Minnesota’s Jeb Brovsky and Brent Kallman left the Tampa Bay match because of injuries.
DAVID LA VAQUE