As we count down the days until the Derby City Rovers #StormTheCup on May 10th, we'll provide a series of previews of this historic occasion. Today we'll get to know a little more about the Rovers first opponents, Tartan Devils Oak Avalon.
The Tartan Devils Oak Avalon advanced to their match-up versus the Rovers as an open qualifier, eliminating Aromas Cafe FC (Charlottesville, VA) by a score of 3-1--both Tartan Devils and Aromas Cafe FC received byes into the 2nd round of open qualification. The 3-1 scoreline, powered by a brace from Travis McKenzie, was a reversal of the clubs' match from the previous year's Open Cup and earned the Devils passage into the Open Cup proper where teams from the Premier Development League (PDL) and National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) join the fray.
Tartan Devils FC are a small adult soccer club (5 teams) based out of Pittsburgh that were founded in 2008 with the goal of providing its members with a more fulfilling experience than the traditional adult soccer team where loyalty and a relationship beyond the pitch are rare. With the Piper's Pub as the club's gathering place, the Tartan Devils calendar includes social events such as a summer picnic and an annual Christmas party. Among it's 5 teams spread across various age divisions, the Oak Avalon side competes at the highest level, playing in the open age bracket of the Greater Pittsburgh Soccer League. Between 2014-15 Tartan Devils Oak Avalon ran the table with an undefeated record on their way to the back to back GPSL championships. The team roster has been molded and refined over the last couple seasons, blending former collegiate players from the likes of Pitt, Robert Morris, and Duquesne, into a formidable side that hopes to make a run in the 2017 edition of the US Open Cup. Following their victory over Aromas Cafe FC, the team's player/coach, Andy Karas, had this to say, "This is great for Pittsburgh soccer. We're kinda known as a football town, but now we've shown we can produce some good soccer as well." The Tartan Devils will hope to continue to make some noise for Pittsburgh soccer when they face off with the Rovers on May 10th at Woehrle Field.
The US Open is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the US. It is unique in the landscape of American sports in that it pairs amateur and professional teams in the same competition in a single knockout tournament format similar to that of England's FA Cup or Spain's Copa Del Rey. The 104th edition of the Cup will be contested by 43 professional clubs from Major League Soccer (MLS), the North American Soccer League (NASL) and the United Soccer League (USL) entering the competition starting in the second round, along with 56 amateur clubs who earned their spot in the first round either through their league performance in 2016 (Derby City Rovers qualified based on their 2016 PDL record) or preliminary qualifying rounds which took place last fall.