MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Memphis 901 FC will kick-off the biggest two weeks in the club’s young history on Wednesday.
The club will host Major League Soccer’s Orlando City SC in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex (7:30 p.m. kickoff). This will mark the first time Memphis has faced an MLS club in a match that features major implications.
The winner advances to the Round of 16, four matches away from the cup final.
“The Open Cup is the national championship of U.S. Soccer and is something we take very, very seriously,” 901 FC Sporting Director Andrew Bell said. “It’s very exciting to be able to compete against a team from Major League Soccer in our first year.”
Following Wednesday’s gigantic fixture, Memphis travels 1,200 miles to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on Saturday for its first match outside of the United States against USL Championship foe Ottawa Fury (6:00 p.m. kickoff). It’ll be the second-straight week against a Top 5 Eastern Conference Opponent.
Memphis returns for the biggest international fixture to hit the Bluff City as it hosts Mexican powerhouse C.F. Pachuca on Saturday, June 22 at AutoZone Park (7:00 p.m. kickoff).
“This is a big moment not only for our club, but also for soccer fans across Memphis and the Mid-South,” 901 FC President Craig Unger said. “In the span of two weeks, two of the biggest clubs in North America will play right here in the Bluff City.
“This is unprecedented and one of the many things we envisioned when we brought professional soccer to Memphis.”
Here are five quick things to know about a crucial two weeks for 901 FC:
Orlando City SC is one of the most recent additions to Major League Soccer, joining the league in 2015. Orlando has competed in the Open Cup since then, reaching the quarterfinals twice. A familiar face will be on the touchline when 901 FC takes on Orlando. Memphis head coach Tim Mulqueen was the Orlando City's goalkeeper coach before being named the inaugural head coach of 901 FC. Orlando boasts a number of former MLS All Stars in Dom Dwyer and Sacha Kljestan.
Memphis is the only club left in the Open Cup representing the State of Tennessee. Memphis’ rivals to the East (Nashville SC) fell in the third round to the Charleston Battery. Chattanooga Red Wolves SC fell in the first round, leaving Memphis as the lone club from the Volunteer State.
Memphis is one of three remaining expansion sides from the USL Championship left in the Open Cup. The other two, New Mexico FC and Austin Bold, are out West making Memphis the only expansion club in the Eastern Conference left.
Not only is a club from the MLS coming to Memphis, a powerhouse from Liga MX will also visit the Bluff City in the next two weeks. C.F. Pachuca is one of the oldest and most successful clubs in the Americas. The friendly is the biggest international event in the city’s history. Pachuca is a dominant force in North American soccer, having won the CONCACAF Champions League five times, Liga MX six times and finishing third in the FIFA Club World Cup in 2017.
With clubs from the two of the top divisions in North American soccer coming in the next two weeks, there is sure to be plenty of firepower on the pitch. Both Orlando and Pachuca will bring players who’ve represented their club and country at the highest level. For example, Orlando forward Nani won the UEFA Champions League with Manchester United in 2007-08 and four Premier League titles from 2007 to 2013. Pachuca’s roster also features a Premier League winner, striker Leonardo Ulloa, who won it with Leicester City in 2015-15 season. Legendary Mexican goalkeeper Óscar “El Conejo” Pérez also plays for Pachuca. Perez represented Mexico in the 2002 and 2010 FIFA World Cups.
Tickets for both matches are now available at www.memphis901fc.com/tickets.