>> Each year, the early rounds of the U.S. Open Cup offer up some of the best American soccer yarns.
Among this year’s prime candidates: Christos FC, a Baltimore amateur outfit that on Wednesday upset the second-division Richmond Kickers, 1-0, in a second-round match in the Virginia capital.
Christos, formed 20 years ago, is largely made up of longtime soccer-playing buddies from the Baltimore area who went on to play in college and, in some cases, the lower pro levels, before embarking on more stable careers.
The goal scorer Wednesday was second-half sub Geaton Caltabiano, who is among numerous former University of Maryland Baltimore County players on a team that won two national amateur titles last year. The group practices from time to time but usually gets together for weekend matches. [Here’s a good feature on the team.]
The goalkeeper, Phil Saunders, starred at UMBC before toiling in the Icelandic league for two years and joining the Baltimore Blast indoor team. He is the new head coach at Community College of Baltimore County’s Catonsville campus. UMBC grad Joseph Glos works for a health care agency. Another former Retriever, Mamadou Kansaye, is the assistant coach at Hood College in Frederick, Md.
Cody Albrecht, a DeMatha High grad, began his college career at St. John’s before finishing as an eligible grad student at Maryland last fall. Levi Houapeu, an All-Met at Watkins Mill High School in suburban D.C., starred at UMBC and was drafted in the third round of the 2011 MLS draft by the Philadelphia Union. UMBC scoring ace Pete Caringi III was selected by MLS’s Montreal Impact, spent time with Oklahoma City in the third division before joining his father’s coaching staff at UMBC.
In the third round May 31, Christos will play another amateur side, Chicago FC United, which competes in the Premier Development League (college players on summer break). At home, Chicago upset the second-division Pittsburgh Riverhounds, 3-1.
In two other stunners, host Reading United (PDL) defeated the second-tier New York Cosmos, 3-2, and the PDL’s Michigan Bucks ousted second-division Indy Eleven, 1-0.
The full slate of results is available here. MLS clubs will enter the mix for the fourth round in mid-June. The potential pairings, which will include three MLS-vs.-MLS matchups, are to be determined today.
>> The Philadelphia Union has nicely rebounded from a 15-match winless streak, dating to last season, by winning three straight, the latest coming Wednesday with a 2-0 home decision against the Houston Dynamo. During the run, Philly has a 9-0 goal differential.
>> Nemanja Nikolic scored twice, raising his goal total to an MLS-best 10 in his first season in the league, as the Chicago Fire rolled to a second consecutive dominant victory, 3-0 over the visiting Colorado Rapids. Chicago will visit D.C. United on Saturday afternoon at RFK Stadium.
>> Another newcomer, Gerso Fernandes, netted a hat trick as Sporting Kansas City, at home, blasted reigning champion Seattle, 3-0.
>> Real Salt Lake ended a four-game losing rut with a 2-1 comeback victory over visiting New York City FC. Nick Rimando set the league record for career saves, surpassing Kevin Hartman. He had already owned the mark for victories and clean sheets.
>> Orlando City went ahead in the 80th minute, then conceded Chris Wondolowski’s equalizer three minutes later in a 1-1 draw at San Jose.
>> Americans abroad:
Chelsea’s Crystal Dunn and Arsenal’s Heather O’Reilly went 90 minutes apiece in a 2-2 league draw.
In Switzerland, Caleb Stanko played 56 as Vaduz edged Young Boys, 1-0.
In Sweden, Josh Wicks recorded his fourth clean sheet in nine matches as Sirius played Ostersunds to a 0-0 draw.
>> Liga MX’s semifinals begin Thursday with Chivas visiting Toluca (8:30 p.m. ET) and Tijuana, featuring Americans Joe Corona and Paul Arriola, visiting Tigres (10:30). Coverage of both matches is available on Univision Deportes, Univision Now, univisiondeportes.com, Univision Deportes’ Facebook page and fuboTV.
>> Philadelphia Union defender Auston Trusty has replaced Fulham’s Marlon Fossey (groin injury) on the U.S. under-20 national team squad for the World Cup, which will begin for the Americans on Monday in South Korea against Ecuador.
>> MLS fined D.C. United midfielder Luciano Acosta an undisclosed amount for excessive dissent and failure to leave the field in an orderly manner after receiving a red card early in the second half against Philadelphia last Saturday.
>> The University of Virginia men’s program unveiled a home-heavy 2017 schedule: The first five matches — and seven of the first eight — are at Klockner Stadium. The only early road trip is to Virginia Tech. In all, the Cavaliers will enjoy 12 of 16 regular season games in Charlottesville.