Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on StarTribune.com. He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.
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Minnesota United FC has officially announced that Tuesday's US Open Cup second round game will be played at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium. Tickets are being sold at the door, $10 for adults and $5 for kids.
The team's opponent for Tuesday has been finalized, as well. The Des Moines Menace of the USL Premier Development League beat the Madison 56ers 1-0 on Wednesday evening, and will make the trip north next week. It's a rematch from last season's second round, when Minnesota beat the Menace 2-0.
The Premier Development League is in some ways similar to baseball's Northwoods League, in that the teams are mostly made up of college players who want to play high-level soccer during the summer break. The oldest player on the Menace roster is 23, the youngest 19.
The US Open Cup also announced the potential third-round pairings, and United was unlucky to be drawn as the away team, denying them a chance for a third-round home game against an MLS team. If Minnesota wins against Des Moines, they will travel to Kansas City the following Tuesday to face Sporting KC, which currently sits third in MLS's Eastern Conference.
If United can win in Kansas City, they'll be part of the final 16 teams, which will then be drawn into a knockout bracket. Their fourth-round game, which could be home or away, would be played on Wednesday, June 12.
Of the six NASL teams in the competition, only Minnesota and Atlanta will have to head on the road for the third round, should they win in the second round. Assuming all of the NASL clubs go through, San Antonio would host Houston, Fort Lauderdale would host FC Dallas, Tampa Bay would host Seattle, and Carolina would host the LA Galaxy. Atlanta would make the trip to Utah to face Real Salt Lake - where Minnesota won 3-1 last year in this competition.
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