The draw for the first few rounds of the 2011 edition of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup was released Wednesday, and it included bitter-sweet news for Philadelphia Union fans.
The Union's two affiliate clubs, Reading United AC and the Harrisburg City Islanders, will face off against each other in the first round of the Open Cup, which the Union was eliminated from by DC United in the qualification stages.
It comes as both good and bad news for area soccer fans looking to follow the US Open Cup despite the absence of the Union. It guarantees that at least one of the two teams will advance to the second round, but it means that both teams could not advance together.
Another area team, amateur club Phoenix SC of Feasterville, PA, qualified to the Open Cup out of the USASA amateur league. They take on the Rochester Rhinos of USL PRO, the same league that Harrisburg competes in. If Phoenix SC were to advance to the second round, they would face the winner of the Reading-Harrisburg matchup.
Last season, Harrisburg made a cinderella run to the Quarterfinals (or fourth round) of the Open Cup, upsetting the New York Red Bulls in extra time in the third round before falling to DC United. Area soccer fans will be hoping for a similar run from one of the local teams in this year's edition.