Republic FC will host the Ventura County Fusion on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in a second-round Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match at Cosumnes River College.
The 101st U.S. Open Cup, the oldest cup competition in the United States, features a record 80 teams this season in a single-elimination event that includes all 16 Major League Soccer teams.
The Fusion, an amateur team, defeated Oakland’s CD Aguiluchos USA 2-1 in the first round Wednesday.
“The Open Cup means a lot because it is an opportunity to gain recognition on a nationwide scale,” Republic FC Technical Director Graham Smith said in a statement. “It would be indicative of our ability to compete at a higher level both on and off the field.”
Republic FC coach Preki will not coach Wednesday’s match because is suspended for the first two matches of U.S. Open Cup play after an incident in 2009 when he coached Chivas USA.
The winner will host the winner of Wednesday’s Orange County Blues FC-Fresno Fuego match in the third round May 28.
The 13 other USL Pro teams and the eight North American Soccer League teams also are in the tournament.
MLS has dominated the competition since it began play in 1996, winning all but one title. The Rochester Rhinos, then of the USL A-League now of USL Pro, beat the MLS Colorado Rapids 2-0 in 1999. D.C. United defeated Real Salt Lake 1-0 in last year’s final.
This year’s championship will be played either Sept. 30 or Oct. 1 at an undetermined site.
The winning team receives $250,000 and has its name engraved on the historic Dewar Challenge Trophy, one of the oldest nationally contested trophies in American team sports.
Republic FC season-ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets through the club. If tickets are still available, they will be offered to the public next week. Tickets are $10.