Gus Hall US Open Cup

This is probably the best place to be for soccer today. Unless you're not an American soccer fan. Or you're a Galaxy, Crew, Rapids, Royals or Quakes fan, and even then you should at least pretend to pay attention.

Although, yeah, sometimes it takes a minute to switch gears. I saw "CPUSA Thread" and thought, is the Communist Party back in the news again?

Anyway, Josh has the links to all the broadcasts...except for the Red Bulls v. Commies game, because where's Red Bull going to get the money to afford television or radio, huh? To be fair, it's the USL doing most of the heavy lifting getting these games out.

So what are the prospects of the MLS v. USL showdown?

This would be the genuine upset of the round, no question. Number one team in MLS, at "home" against a fourth-place USL-2 team. Richmond is in USL-2 for financial reasons, not quality reasons, and they scalped the Galaxy last year. But they're only two games above .500 this year. New England answered critics like me who thought that they never took this tournament seriously - and even if the Revolution do play their scrubs, they'll be scrubs who have seen a lot of game time so far this year. New England, 3-1.

Don't even call this an upset. The Bats are number one in USL, they're at home, and Dominic Kinnear is the new Steve Nicol - his teams never go much of anywhere in this tournament. I think the best Houston/San Jose has ever done is the semifinals. Nelson Akwari, Marco Reda, Stephen Armstrong and Dusty Hudock are the familiar faces for Charleston, and I think they can take out what I assume will be Houston scrubs. And oh by the way, Charleston won this identical game last year. Battery, 1-0.

The other thing about lower division v. MLS games is that they frequently degenerate into hackfests, bunkerball, or both. That's pretty much how Crystal Palace got this far...which doesn't say a whole lot for their prospects. New York is an erratic Open Cup team at best, but I'm seeing them slog their way through this - probably 1-0 in extra time or something horrible like that.

Look, I know Kansas City has been pretty lame recently, but come on. Carolina's only gotten this far on 1-0 wins over worse opponents. Even the Wizards scrubs should be able to hold know what, probably not. Carolina, 1-0, probably on another penalty kick.

A potential pratfall for DC here, since they played a little over 48 hours ago in the heat and the humidity and the paparazzi and the salmonella and who knows what else. The Rhinos are in a terrible period of their history, propping up USL-1 and missing the "Ragin'" modifier on their nickname. DC has been pretty garbagetacular in the Cup recently, but this shouldn't even be the most exciting Open Cup game in Maryland tonight. DCU, 2-0.

Or is it "City Stars"? What's with all the extra "City" names USL-2 teams give themselves? We have to ask these questions now, because tonight the Fire are going to knock Cleveland (or Cleveland City) out, and tomorrow it won't be an issue. Fire, let's call it 2-0.

FC v. FC
Oh, that's where Avery John ended up. Miami is 3-6-7 so far this year, and while FCD's form makes this Must-Miss TV (or Must-Miss Matchtracker), Dallas tends to take this tournament more seriously than many MLS teams. FCD, 2-0.

There were five count 'em five upsets at this stage last year, including two identical games as tonight - Battery-Dynamo, and this one. CUSA is the only MLS team below .500 in the Open Cup, their form would be dignified by the term "inconsistent", and ex-Sounder Galindo is still out. Meanwhile, the game is once again in Washington, and this year's Sounders, like Sebastian Le Toux, have a golden opportunity to prove that they should be next year's Sounders. It was 3-1 Seattle last year, and I will be astonished if we don't get a similar result tonight.