Orlando City has learned who their potential opponents will be in the fourth round of the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
UPDATE (7:32 p.m. 5/19/16):
Charleston Battery won protest that The Villages used ineligible player. Battery now play Jax for chance to face Orlando City in US Open Cup— Alicia Rose DelGallo (@OSAliciaD) May 19, 2016
The Villages also used that ineligible player against Kraze but apparently Kraze either didn't protest or U.S. Open Cup doesn't care. So the Battery charges (see what I did there) back into the competition despite being knocked out by fourth-tier competition.
The Lions will either be hitting the road to travel up-state for a rematch against in-state NASL club Jacksonville Armada or will play The Villages SC at a TBD site on June 15. The Armada and The Villages will square off in Jacksonville on June 1 to see who will move on to face the MLS side less than a month from now.
Although it might not be that simple. The Villages SC defeated the USL's Charleston Battery last night in a penalty shootout, winning the spot kick battle 4-2, after the teams played to a 2-2 draw through regulation and extra time. However, SB Nation's Atlanta United blog, Dirty South Soccer, reported this morning that The Villages SC used a player who may be considered ineligible under Open Cup rules.
Forward Paulo Vaz started for The Villages in last night's win. However, Vaz previously played for Boca Raton FC.
Vaz featured in a Boca Raton Round Two Qualifying Match on November 22 against Uruguay Kendall FC.
If Charleston protests the match, and if Vaz -- who also came on as a substitute against Kraze in The Villages' previous U.S. Open Cup match -- is found to be ineligible, the club could be disqualified, as was the case with the Ventura County Fusion. Ventura County was stripped of its win over the L.A. Wolves, who were allowed back into the tournament and went on to beat Orange County Blues last night. The same situation could happen with The Villages SC, however, it is not known whether Kraze would then have to play Charleston, as both teams lost to a team that would have used an ineligible player.
We'll let that one be decided in a meeting somewhere.
Orlando City and Jacksonville met up for the first time ever this preseason, when the Lions traveled north to Community First Park and suffered a 2-1 loss. So this potential match-up could be a great time for City to exact some revenge, and in an actual, important match, too. As for The Villages SC, Orlando City has never faced off against the first-year, fourth-division club before.
The Open Cup match, it should be noted, will also be Orlando City's first match in almost two weeks. After the Lions' game in New York City next weekend, the club won't play an MLS match again until June 18, when it comes back from the Copa America break at the beginning of the month to host the San Jose Earthquakes. Staying sharp during that time will be important if the club wants to capture its first trophy since 2014.