The 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is in full swing, with the first round of qualification done, and the second round beginning this weekend.
For local amateur side, FC Minnesota, this is their shot on the big stage.
The team that competes out of Blaine Soccer Club in Blaine, MN is made up of former college players and former professionals. For Minnesota United faithful, there is one name that sticks out over the rest; Brian Kallman. The brother of starting Center Back Brent Kallman used to feature for the Loons in the NASL, and has since retired professionally and is now playing in the MASL in Blaine. Accompanying him on the roster are former college players who want to continue their soccer careers, including a few familiar faces for those that follow the MIAC conference in division 3 of the NCAA.
Your @opencup Roster:@ShaeBottum @CoachJCollins10 @justin_oliver11 @tyleroliver38 @KarimDarbaki763 @futebolformNfit @Jonah_Garcia5 @nengel1415 @mcclainsidney20 @Schnobrich7 @n8spores @aziz_tahir9 @YonnorCoung @JBoR81 @bchapman_6— FC Minnesota (@FCMinnesota) September 11, 2018
Shae Bottum, former D3 National Player of the Year, highlights the bunch. The versatile midfielder will be key for the squad that heads down to Missouri today. Accompanying Bottum from the University of St. Thomas will be twin brothers Justin and Tyler Oliver, defenders Connor Young and Josh Boris as well as midfielder Alex Schnobrich.
Karim Darbaki is a former Shattuck’s St. Mary’s player who played his college soccer with the University of Northern Illinois. Out of UW Superior is midfielder/defender Jonah Garcia, midfielder Nate Engel and attacker Brian Chapman.
From the University of Green Bay is attacker Sidney Mcclain, and all the way from the University of New Hampshire is goalkeeper Nathan Spores. Aziz Tahir is a former Park Center High School star who played his college soccer at the University of Western Illinois.
Finishing out the roster is Edina native, and goalkeeper, Malachi Donofrio and attacker Ryan Hammer. Hammer played his college soccer at the University of Arcadia.
The team is coached by Blaine executives Matthew Cross and Noel Quinn.
The amateur side out of St. Louis compete in Division 4, the UPSL.
They have been competing as a club together since 2011 and have a squad very similar to that of FC Minnesota’s.
Their team consists of former college players, and a few semi-professional players.
The home side will prove to be a tough opponent, but overall, the teams are fairly equal in terms of playing ability. We should expect a fun one tonight.
Tonight's match kicks off at 7 pm in St. Louis, as the club travels down to continue their run in the historic tournament.
If you want to watch the match, it will be streamed on the FC Maritsa twitter page. The link will be up on FC Minnesota’s page once kickoff is near as well.
Today marks the second round of qualification, and if the scoreline ends up favoring FC Minnesota, they will advance to the third round of qualification where their next challenge awaits.
For updates on the match, follow @usopencup on twitter and stay tuned to our page as well.
As FC Minnesota supporters would say: Stay Trendy, Minnesota.