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Four local teams begin qualifying for 2019 U.S. Open Cup next month

Ukrainian Nationals, West Chester United, United German Hungarians and Vereinigung Erzgebirge begin local qualifying on September 23

Matt Ralph

Two local derbies will kick off local qualifying for the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup a few days before the Philadelphia Union take on Houston Dynamo to decide the 2018 edition.

Vereinigung Erzgebirge will host the West Chester United Predators and Ukrainian Nationals host United German Hungarians on Sunday, September 23. Both games are scheduled to kick off at 2:30 p.m.

All four teams compete in the United Soccer League of Pennsylvania. West Chester are the reigning champions of the league’s Majors Division after a perfect 20-0-0 season in 2017-18. VE finished second in the league, followed by Ukrainian Nationals in fourth and United German Hungarians sixth. The new season kicks off September 8th.

Fellow USL of Pa. team Phoenix SC made it to the final round of local qualifying last year where they fell to Christos FC.

There are a total of 94 teams participating in the local qualifying rounds for 2019. The number of slots up for grabs for the “U.S. Open Cup proper” will be determined at a later date. For now, U.S. Soccer projects at least three and possibly four qualifying rounds for teams looking to book a spot in the first round in May.

Eight local teams participated in local qualifying last year.

Junior Lone Star FC were among the teams in qualifying last year that aren’t returning to that stage of the competition this year. They qualified for the first time in club history through local qualifying for the 2017 tournament. They are still, however, in a good spot to receive an automatic bid based on their performance in the National Premier Soccer League over the summer. Nineteen teams received bids to the first round last year from the NPSL and the Stars finished the 2018 season in second place in the Keystone Conference.