US Open Cup First Round and Pick'em Recap

David Geno (second from left) celebrates a goal. - Chris Coulter / Sounders U-23s

The First Round of the US Open Cup is (mostly) in the books. Here is a recap and commentary of our pick'em picks, how certain teams fared, and certain pick'em teams fared.

First of all, I'd like to thank Derek R and Murgittroyd for putting together very useful spreadsheets, summarizing people's picks and their scoring. You can find Derek's here and Murgit's here. Additionally, all the results from the play-in and First Round are available here. Also, all the original entries are here.

Everything ahead is a bit tongue in cheek. This is a fantasy pick'em league, so I'm going to treat it with the silliness it deserves. Please don't take it personally if you picked a bad team and I'm making fun of you. I mean, I picked two teams going head-to-head in the first round. I'm no genius here.

The Sounders are clearly favored by selectors here, but the rest of the MLS picks were slightly surprising. I think people went after the good Eastern teams in the hope they'll meet the Sounders in the final. A reasonable enough hope/assumption. SKC came out with the second most picks at 14, with Houston next at 7 picks. For some reason as many people picked Chivas USA as they did FC Dallas... and DCU more than FCD. In fact, DCU was the fourth-most picked team! Okay... if people want to pick the worst team in the league, that's fine with me. :-) I was a little surprised that LAG only garnered one pick, and SJE didn't get any picks.

Looking at NASL, I was a little surprised to see that the San Antonio Scorpions were the third-most picked team from the NASL. They're currently last in their league with 2 points from 5 games and -6 GD. Were you all just copying Dave? Dave notes that he likes their organization, I'm not sure why the rest of you picked them.

Additionally, there were 12 eligible teams in the USL Pro. Orlando City was far and away the favorite, with 23 teams picking them, and appropriately so. We have a loose agreement with them, they just beat our reserves, and they're currently first in the USL Pro with 19 points from 8 played (2.4 PPG) and +15 GD. Charleston Battery, Richmond Kickers, and Harrisburg City Islanders were also popular picks, and appropriately so as they round out the top 4 USL Pro teams (each is getting at least 2.3 PPG).

But then there are 5 teams in the USL Pro that have negative GD. Those teams were collectively picked 28 times. One of them is already eliminated, while two of them picked up wins in this first round (barely). Four adventurous souls actually picked the Rochester Rhinos, who have only scored 4 goals in their 7 games while giving up 16. Ouch. Meanwhile only two people picked the Charlotte Eagles who have 12 points from 6 games, a +5 GD, and have yet to lose a game in the USL Pro. I know they are going up against the Sounders U-23s now, but still. I have a feeling there were probably some better options. It's a good thing Antigua Barracuda FC was not eligible, as I'm sure a few would have taken them as a novelty pick. They have lost all 7 of their games and have a -21 GD. Ouch.

The PDL didn't come out too bad this past round. Popular pick Michigan Bucks lost, but the other three teams that lost only had one taker apiece. The Sounders U-23's cruised, as I'm sure you know. Des Moines plays today.

The PDL's success came at the price of the NPSL and USASA. Only the Georgia Revolution, Icon FC, and Dearborn Stars SC made it through. Madison 56ers have a chance later today.

In terms of actual results, there were a few upsets and a few near upsets. Two USL Pro teams needed PK victories to beat their PDL opponents: the Orlando City U-23s nearly upset VSI Tampa Bay FC (how many acronyms does your team need??) and the RWB Adria of the USASA took the Pittsburg Riverhounds to PKs as well. One of the biggest upsets involved FC Tucson, a PDL team, beating Phoenix FC of the USL Pro. I bet that was a fun game--could an Arizona rivalry be brewing?

The Sounders U-23s actually had the biggest win of the day, winning by a margin of 4 goals over USASA team Doxa Italia. Full recap here. The Timbers U-23s (PDL) won by a goal over the Sacramento Gold (NPSL), and the New York Red Bulls U-23s (NPSL) lost 0-2 to the Ocean City Nor'easters (PDL).

In the next round, a few games are particularly interesting for us here. The Sounders U-23s travel cross country to play the Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro), while the Timbers U-23s get to stay home and host the Charleston Battery (USL Pro). There's also a bunch of derbies going on in the next round. Tampa Bay Rowdies face VSI Tampa Bay FC; Orlando City SC travels to Ocala, FL to play Ocala Stampede; Atlanta Silverbacks match up with Georgia Revolution; Carolina Dynamo take on Carolina RailHawks; Reading United (PA) host the Harrisburg City Islanders (also PA); and the Ventura County Fusion travel to face the LA Blues. Just another reason why the US Open Cup is great.

Good luck everyone in the next round.The First Round of the US Open Cup is (mostly) in the books.

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