We’re down to eight teams in this year’sUS Open Cup. After Wednesday night’s matches, the semifinals will be set, but the final four teams in this tournament will need to wait to try and punch their tickets to the championship.
Winners in the quarterfinals of the Open Cup will not play in the semifinals until Wednesday, Aug. 23. The reason for the lengthy gap between the rounds is due to the inaugural Leagues Cupand its one-month pause to the MLS season this year.
Two of the eight sides remaining in the quest for the trophy are USL Championshipsides. Both are playing MLS opposition this week, including the game we focus on today.
Birmingham Faces Off Against Inter Miami Wednesday
Fans of gridiron footballare already familiar with Protective Stadium in Birmingham. Wednesday night, however, one of the hub stadiums in the USFL goes from football to futbol.
Birmingham Legion FC (5-1-7, 16 points) plays its first match in a week and a half when it takes on MLS side Inter Miami CF (5-0-11, 15 points.) Over the weekend, the Legion took in some football between theBirmingham Stallions and Philadelphia Stars.
Live coverage of the match begins at 8 pm ET/ 5 pm PT and will be streamed on the CBS Sports Golazochannel. Viewers can access Golazo on any number of platforms, including Paramount Plus.
Birmingham Comes in on Decent Form
Legion FC enters the US Open Cup quarterfinals having gone 3-0-2 in its last five matches across all competitions. Over the Memorial Day weekend, Birmingham traveled up north to Michigan to play Detroit City FCand came up on the wrong end of a 1-0 score.
After the match, Legion FC manager Tommy Soehn didn"t mince words on his side"s performance.
“[Detroit] is a team that doesn"t score much, but they don"t give up a lot because they"re content with sitting and parking," Soehn began. “So when you have an opportunity like that, you got to finish it. That"s how you open things up."
With Birmingham having had last weekend off to prepare for a US Open Cup fixture midweek, did the bye come at the right time? The first 15 or so minutes of the match could have the answer to that question.
Can Prosper Kasim Come Up Big Again?
In the round of 16 tie between Legion FC and Charlotte FCof MLS, the hero for the home team was center-forward Proper Kasim. With the game level at 0-0 just past the hour mark, he beat Charlotte netminderKristijan Kahlina with a left-footed tally to eventually send them to the quarterfinal round.
Kasim has saved his goals for the season"s biggest matches. All four of his tallies have come in this tournament.
If Proper Kasim turns it on again this Wednesday and scores his fifth goal of the tournament, Birmingham will be semifinal-bound two months from now.
US Open Cup Highlight of Inter Miami"s Season
If the 2023 MLS season were to end today, Inter Miami would be watching the MLS Cup Playoffs on television. As of now, Miami ranks dead last in the league"s Eastern Conference at 5-0-11, only mustering 15 points throughout 16 matches in league play.
Thus, it goes without saying that the club has had troubling form of late across all competitions. Heading into Wednesday"s match, Miami has posted a 1-0-4 mark in the last five contests across all competitions.
The lone win in that stretch came two weeks ago in the preceding round of this very tournament. That night, Miami eliminated Nashville SC from the field by a 2-1 final. Both goals were scored after halftime.
Miami Still in Search of First Win After Neville"s Sacking
Inter Miami"s poor performance on the pitch would lead to a managerial change. Last week, a few days prior to the club"s 2-1 home loss to DC United, Phil Neville was let go as the head coach.
“I have watched him work incredibly hard and with real commitment towards the ambition we set out for the club," mentioned Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham on Neville"s termination. “Sometimes in this game we have to make the toughest decisions, and sadly we feel the time is right to make a change."
Beginning with last Saturday"s match, Javier Morales, a member of the departed Neville"s technical staff, assumed managerial duties on an interim status. This year"s US Open Cup is Inter Miami"s best and only shot at a trophy. Will a win on Wednesday turn things around for the club?
This looks to be the most interesting match in the quarterfinal round. You"ve got two teams at a crossroads in their respective seasons in league play.
Birmingham Legion FC currently sit in sixth place in the USL Championship. Had the Championship"s season ended today, they"d be on the road in the opening round of postseason play versus the third-place Tampa Bay Rowdies.
In the other corner, Inter Miami just fired its head coach and are struggling to find their identity at midseason. Who will win the day?
Prediction: Birmingham Legion FC 2, Inter Miami 0.
Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew enjoys a good game and a better fight. When he's not writing, you can find him playing video games and listening to music.