The Washington Post

Wednesday kickaround: U.S. Open Cup, Eric Wynalda, D.C. United’s Hamdi Salihi, Canadian Championship, MLS, Michael Parkhurst

*MLS clubs now know their first opponents in the U.S. Open Cup following 16 second-round matches Tuesday. D.C. United will visit the third-division Richmond Kickers, who defeated the amateur Aegean Hawks, 4-0, at Maryland SoccerPlex. United, which has two victories and a defeat to the Kickers in the Open Cup since 2004, will play at 7 p.m. next Tuesday at Richmond City Stadium.

The biggest surprise of the tournament (and another reason this event is cool): Cal FC, an amateur team coached by former U.S. national team star Eric Wynalda. After defeating a fourth-division side in the first round, Cal went on the road to crush the third-tier Wilmington Hammerheads, 4-0, and earn a trip to Portland to face MLS’s Timbers. [Full story here.]

*It’s been feast or famine for United’s Hamdi Salihi this season. My feature story chronicles his recent scoring surge and explores his adaptation to a new league and culture.

*Toronto “Worst Team in the World” FC can win a trophy tonight: It’s the second leg of the Canadian Championship against the Vancouver Whitecaps at BMO Field. The sides drew, 1-1, i the first leg. The winner will secure passage to the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League.

*MLS matches tonight: Chivas USA (4-6-1) at New York Red Bulls (8-3-1), FC Dallas (3-6-4) at Chicago Fire (4-3-3), Columbus Crew (3-4-3) at Seattle Sounders (7-2-2), and San Jose Earthquakes (7-2-3) at Los Angeles Galaxy (3-6-2). The last match is missing MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski and Galaxy stars Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane (international duty).

*Before reporting to U.S. national team camp in Orlando, defender Michael Parkhurst is expected to start again today (2 p.m. ET) for Nordsjaelland in perhaps the biggest match in the Danish club’s history. With a victory at home over third-place Horsens, the Wild Tigers would clinch its first league title. Copenhagen, the three-time defending champion, is two points behind. Parkhurst, formerly with the New England Revolution, has started 29 of 32 matches.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.


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