So you’re saying there’s a chance?
The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is America’s soccer version of…well, you name it: England’s FA Cup, Spain’s Copa del Rey, NCAA March Madness, David vs Goliath. You get the idea. The tournament is where dreams are born and, more often than not, die. It is where Cinderella teams take a stab at teams they should not have a chance against. It is where David faces off against Goliath. And it is where Mississippi Brilla FC will host Indy Eleven.
The U.S. Open Cup is a knock-out cup competition in American soccer. It is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the U.S. Amateur clubs open the competition by competing against each other in the opening rounds, and then the various professional leagues begin entering the tournament in subsequent rounds.
Based on results from the 2017 Premier Development League season, Mississippi Brilla FC qualified for its fourth U.S. Open Cup appearance for 2018. After a hard-fought victory against the New Orleans Jesters of the NPSL on Wednesday night in New Orleans, Brilla has earned the right to face its Goliath: Indy Eleven.
Indy Eleven was founded in 2013 and initially competed as a professional team in the NASL. In 2018, the team moved into the USL, professional soccer’s 2nd Division in America just below Major League Soccer. The USL has seen unprecedented growth over the last few seasons, with several teams from the league being named as future MLS expansion teams. Indy Eleven is actually one of those teams hoping to make the jump into the MLS in the near future.
As if the Cinderella story wasn’t interesting enough, Indy Eleven’s assistant coach is former Mississippi Brilla FC head coach Dave Dixon. Dixon guided Brilla through five successful seasons in the PDL before moving into the same role with the Charlotte Eagles. Dixon captured the PDL championship with the Eagles in 2017, knocking off his former team from Mississippi in the semi-finals. Following the 2017 campaign, Dixon accepted the assistant coach position in Indianapolis.
Now Dixon and Indy Eleven will make the trip to Clinton, MS to square off against Brilla in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, May 16 at 7:00 pm. The match will take place at Clinton High School’s Arrow Stadium, a far cry from Indy Eleven’s 62,000 seat Lucas Oil Stadium where the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts play, but perhaps a place where the next Cinderella story is written.
Tickets can be purchased ONLINE or at the gate on the day of the match for $5 each.