You wanted MLS to return to South Florida? You got it.
For one night, anyway.
FC Dallas will be in town Tuesday night to play the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in a U.S. Open Cup third-round match at Lockhart Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
The U.S. Open Cup is in its 99th year and is the oldest soccer competition in this country. Like the FA Cup in England, it is an all-comers knockout tournament, featuring 68 teams ranging from ragtag amateur teams to Major League Soccer clubs. The winning team earns $250,000.
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The Strikers advanced to the third round with a dramatic 7-6 penalty-kick win over the Laredo Heat. Despite sitting in last place in the NASL standings, the Strikers know anything is possible in the U.S. Open Cup. Last year, Dallas lost in a major upset to the Charlotte Eagles.
Fort Lauderdale has played MLS teams three times in the U.S. Open Cup, but all three were on the road and it lost them all. This time, it hopes to take advantage of the home field.
The Toros feature two Brazilian midfielders, Jackson and Michel. Jackson has played for Sao Paulo and Cruzeiro. Michel, a 31-year-old winger, played for Atletico Mineiro and also played in Belgium before joining Dallas. Another player to watch is Blas Perez, a 32-year-old Panamanian forward.
Dallas leads the MLS Western Conference and was on a nine-game unbeaten streak before losing last week to the Seattle Sounders.
Tickets start at $12 and are available at www.strikers.com, at 954-606-0400 or at the box office.
Star power lacking
Germany coach Joachim Loew had a tough time putting together a roster for Wednesday’s friendly against Ecuador at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
The stars of Dortmund and Bayern Munich were unavailable because they were coming off Saturday’s Champions League final. The German Cup final is June 1. The Spanish and Italian leagues are still going, which will keep Real Madrid’s Mesut Oezil and Sami Khedira from making the trip.
Loew called up four new players to the squad, as 15 regular starters will be missing for the Ecuador game and the June 2 friendly against the United States in Washington. The four new players are defender Philipp Wollscheid of Nuremberg, and midfielders Sidney Sam of Bayer Leverkusen, Nicolai Mueller of Mainz and Max Kruse of Freiburg.
Sam is of particular interest because Germany and Nigeria have been playing tug-o-war over the 25-year-old Bayer Leverkusen midfielder. Sam was born to a German mother and Nigerian father.
Though he has represented Germany in under-19, under-20 and under-21 competitions, he would be eligible to switch to Nigeria for the senior national team if he has not played a full international match in a German jersey.
Even if he plays for Germany against Ecuador, he could still change allegiances because it is just an exhibition match.
The German team will get a boost for the U.S. match because Lazio forward Miroslav Klose and two Borussia Dortmund players, Kevin Grosskreutz and Sven Bender, are scheduled to join the team following their club commitments.
“National team games always have a high significance. For the nominated players it’s something special to be there,” Loew said. “I am sure we’ll send a strong team into matches against Ecuador and the United States.”
Tickets start at $35 and are available through Ticketmaster.