North Carolina FC advanced to the third round of Open Cup play after routing the Carolina Dynamo 6-1 Wednesday evening.
With the win, the hopes for NCFC to play against an MLS team again this summer are one step closer to being realized. NCFC would need to advance to the fourth round of the Open Cup, which is when MLS teams will enter tournament play.
Despite previous seasons where MLS teams would have to travel across country to play southeastern teams, (i.e. the LA Galaxy traveling to take on the then-RailHawks in multiple years) the league has expanded to 19 American teams, breeding opportunity for NCFC to play a team closer by such as D.C. United or the new Atlanta United.
NCFC will take on the Charlotte Independence on May 31 at WakeMed Soccer Park, with a spot in the fourth round on the line. The Independence play in the USL, which is one division lower than NCFC’s home league, the NASL.
The fourth round is June 14. The U.S. Open Cup allows teams to bid for home games. If both teams bid the same amount, a coin flip determines who hosts, allowing NASL and USL teams the opportunity to try to host MLS clubs.
In addition to advancing in Cup play, the six goals scored by NCFC mark the most goals scored by the team this year and tied the mark for the most goals scored in the club’s history in the Open Cup.