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Shot at MLS competition here for Birmingham Legion FC with U.S. Open Cup
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Cool Shot at MLS competition here for Birmingham Legion FC with U.S. Open Cup

To reach this year’s U.S. Open Cup championship game in September, Birmingham Legion FC would have to survive six rounds of the tournament while concurrently navigating its inaugural regular season in the United Soccer League. That’s not likely to happen, but Birmingham Legion FC doesn’t have to win the Open Cup to make history. The first-year expansion USL club is doing that just by competing in the field.

There has never been an opportunity like this for a Birmingham pro team to make a splash on the national stage.

“It’s huge for us as players, and for the club to make a mark,” Legion FC forward Chandler Hoffman said.

In the past two years, USL teams like Birmingham have used the Open Cup to rapidly grow their fan bases and, in the case of FC Cincinnati, use the national tournament to help propel the club into the MLS as an expansion team. Playing at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium, FC Cincinnati defeated the Chicago Fire in the quarterfinals of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup in front of a crowd of over 32,000 fans.

It was FC Cincinnati’s second year as a club. Now, the team plays in MLS.
05-14-2019 12:09 PM
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