Your Thursday Kick Off

11 MLS sides advance in Open Cup
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Kick Off: Eleven MLS sides advance in Open Cup | USMNT tabs Stewart as GM

Here is everything you need to know about MLS and North American soccer this morning:

Sporting KC begin Cup title defense

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Johnny Russell (left) stole the show for SKC in their win at RSL. | USA Today Images

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup took center stage on Wednesday evening with 13 fourth-round matches featuring 17 MLS clubs. Defending champs Sporting KC got a goal and an assist each from Kharlton Belmar and Johnny Russell to advance to the round of 16 with a 2-0 triumph over home side Real Salt Lake. AKINDELE LIFTS FC DALLAS | MEMO BRACE SPARKS DYNAMO ROUT

Red Bulls steamroll NYCFC again

Vincent Bezecourt hit two minutes in to put the New York Red Bulls ahead and they never looked back, as they enjoyed a 4-0 cruise past derby visitors New York City FC. In Columbus, Chicago Fire netminder Richard Sanchez converted his penalty try and then made the winning save in a marathon 10-9 shootout victory to eliminate the rival Crew SC. RBNY-NYCFC RECAP | CREW SC-FIRE RECAP

Atlanta, Orlando post matching W’s

Andrew Carleton scored his first Atlanta United goal to send the home side on their way to a 3-0 win against visiting Charleston. Meanwhile, Orlando City recorded an identical victory away to NPSL underdogs Miami United on goals from Stefano Pinho, Dillon Powers and PC Giro. ATLANTA-BATTERY RECAP | ORLANDO-MIAMI RECAP

L.A. duo move forward

Both Angeleno sides advanced to the round of 16 on Wednesday, with Diego Rossi and Latif Blessing lighting the lamp three minutes apart to give LAFC a 2-0 victory over Fresno FC in the first Open Cup match at Banc of California Stadium. Just down the road, Ariel Lassiter hit twice to lead the LA Galaxy to a 3-1 win against FC Golden State Force. LAFC-FRESNO RECAP | GALAXY-GSF RECAP

Timbers move on, Sounders ousted

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Jeremy Ebobisse helped send Portland fans home happy. | USA Today Images

There were very different results for Cascadia’s two American clubs, with Portland scoring a 2-0 win over visiting San Jose thanks to goals from Jeremy Ebobisse and Dairon Asprilla. On the other hand, an extra time strike from Sacramento Republic sub Jure Matjasic earned a 2-1 home decision that sent four-time Open Cup champs Seattle crashing out of the draw. TIMBERS-QUAKES RECAP | SRFC-SOUNDERS RECAP

Loons advance on PK’s, Rapids bounced

A pair of impending MLS franchises had very different Open Cup Wednesdays at home against current league clubs. Cincinnati FC kept their game with Minnesota United scoreless for 120 minutes, only to suffer a 3-1 defeat in the penalty shootout. Down in Tennessee, Nashville SC sprung a “cupset” with a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids. MNUFC-CINCY RECAP | NASHVILLE-RAPIDS RECAP

Peruvian star headed to MLS?

World Cup-bound Raul Ruidiaz could have a new home in MLS after the tournament. Monarcas Morelia president Alvaro Davila claimed Wednesday he had received an offer (in Spanish) from an MLS team for the Peruvian forward, who has won a pair of Liga MX scoring titles, and that the move just needed the player’s sign-off to go through. READ MORE

Stewart takes USMNT GM post

On Wednesday, Philadelphia Union exec Earnie Stewart was named as the first US national team general manager, representing one of the first concrete steps in the USMNT’s rebound from missing this summer’s World Cup. READ MORE

With the GM position now filled, Matt Doyle and Bobby Warshaw debated over which MLS boss would make the best US head coach: Columbus head coach Gregg Berhalter or Red Bulls counterpart Jesse Marsch? READ MORE

MLSsoccer.com Must-Watch:

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