It’s been three years since fans have seen the U.S. Open Cup in its traditional form. The only nationwide soccer tournament that pits club teams from all levels of American soccer MLS sides against each other and this year will once against include the Columbus Crew.
Friday was the draw for the third round of the Open Cup. The Crew was drawn to face Detroit City FC on the road.
Detroit City is in the USL Championship, the second tier of professional soccer in America. Early in the USL campaign, Detroit sits in eighth place in the USL Championship standings with a record of 1-1-2.
Detroit City onnce played in the National Independent Soccer Association, but moved to the USL Championship prior to the 2022 season.
The Crew will travel to Detroit, Michigan and play in Keyworth Stadium for this matchup. The stadium holds 7,933 but it sounds and feels like there are tens of thousands. Detroit City supporters are known for being loud and filling the air with smoke and pyrotechnics.
Columbus is no stranger to the Open Cup, winning it the competition in 2002 and earning second place in 1998 and 2010. In 2002, the Crew welcomed the Los Angeles Galaxy to Historic Crew Stadium, earning a 1-0 win thanks to a goal by midfielder Freddy García in the 30thminute.
In recent seasons, the Black & Gold haven’t found much success the tournament. In 2019, Columbus beat the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1-0 before losing in a rainy matchup against Atlanta United 3-2 at Historic Crew Stadium. The Crew lost its only Open Cup match in 2018, falling the Chicago Fire on penalty kicks 10-9.
The Black & Gold were placed into a draw group with Detroit City, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and FC Cincinnati, but could only play Detroit or Pittsburgh. In the third round, rules stipulate that the 17 MLS teams can’t play each other and are required to play one of the lower division teams.
If Columbus moves on to the fourth round, the Crew will go into another draw with other regional teams that win in the third round. Also, the fourth round is when the remaining MLS sides are included in the draw.
Columbus was slated to host the game, if drawn as the home team, at Lower.com Field. Previous Crew ownership groups played Open Cup games at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Stadium or even up in Akron, Ohio to attract supporters from other parts of Ohio.
The date of the game has not yet been announced but will take place between April 19-21, a midweek match between two MLS games. This will require head coach Caleb Porter to adjust his roster for matches in order to maintain balance between the two competitions.