South Florida’s oldest running soccer rivalry will soon face off in US Soccer’s oldest tournament. The 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup draw for open division local qualifiers happened Wednesday morning and FC Kendall and Red Force FC were paired up for a Round 1 game in the Southeast Region on Sept. 23 at Tropical Park.
Both teams are part of the America Premier Soccer League and qualified in 2018. Red Force FC is coming into this tournament fresh off winning the APSL Summer Championship, where they defeated South Florida FC in penalty kicks. On the way to the championship, Red Force defeated their rival and future opponent FC Kendall 3-1 in the semifinals. Kendall had completed a perfect regular season prior to its loss to Red Force.
Potential opponents that also qualified were United Premier Soccer League sides Miami Sun FC and Florida Soccer Soldiers. They will face off on Sept. 22 at Kendall Soccer Park. In the 2018 tournament, FC Kendall advanced from Round 1 by beating UPSL side Leu Blacks FC 11-0. Red Force beat UPSL side FC Ginga 8-1.
In the second round Red Force FC was able to defeat fellow APSL club Miami Nacional SC, which ended up in Nacional forfeiting the game. FC Kendall in the second round was paired up with Orlando Storm from the Central Florida Soccer League and was able to win on the road in Auburndale, 4-0.
In the third and final round of qualifiers, Red Force FC once again was able to say local and played South Florida FC. Red Force won 2-1 after extra time. FC Kendall found itself having to travel north to face Nashville United from the Middle Tennessee Soccer Alliance and advanced 4-2.
Both clubs saw their Open Cup dreams dashed in Round 1 at the hands of NPSL squads. Red Force FC faced The Miami FC 2 and lost 4-0 at FIU Soccer Stadium, while FC Kendall would lose to Miami United FC at Ted Hendricks Stadium, 5-2.
With a smaller Southeast Region this year, the winner of Red Force FC and FC Kendall will most likely face off against the winner of the local UPSL Round 1 games, with the winner hosting or having to travel for the third round of qualification into the cup.