PDL alum and Sporting Kansas City defender Colton Storm in his time with Reading United AC
When Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls take the field on Wednesday night for the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Final, they’ll do so with a healthy dose of Premier Development League alums on each side of the field.
On each roster combined, a grand total of 23 players hail from the PDL, including Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi and the New York Red Bulls’ Luis Robles. A healthy number of those 23 alums are likely to see the field as part of the starting eleven on either side, and at least some of them will be walking off the field with a new trophy in their cabinet.
For the hosts, the defensive side of the field is chock full of PDL alums likely to earn either a start or significant playing time. Starting from the back, goalkeeper Tim Melia will almost certainly be in net for Sporting KC as a former member of the 2007 Long Island Rough Riders. Interestingly, one of Melia’s 2007 teammates will be on the opposing sideline, as Mike Grella hails from the Rough Riders 2007 and 2008 squads.
Also of note for Sporting KC are a trio of defenders in Cary Clarets 2008-2009 alum Ike Opara, 2009 Chicago Fire Premier defender Seth Sinovic, and 2005 Central Florida Kraze winger-turned-fullback Graham Zusi. SKC’s most recent alum comes in the form of 2014-2015 Reading United AC and 2016 Portland Timbers U23 defender Colton Storm.
Joining Grella on the Red Bulls sideline are a number of starting talents, including team captain and 2005 Orange County Blue Star alum Sacha Kljestan. Three talents come from the New York Red Bulls U23 team directly, including 2015-2016 alum Arun Basuljevic, 2015 goalkeeping alum Evan Luoro, and 2015 winger Alex Muyl.
No matter who starts in goal for the Red Bulls, they’ll be a PDL alum. In addition to Luoro, goalkeeper Ryan Meara hails from the 2009 Long Island Rough Riders and 2010-2011 Jersey Express, while MLS iron man and Red Bulls icon Luis Robles hearkens back to the 2003-2004 Boulder Rapids Reserve.
With too many players to name, here’s a look at each team’s current roster heading into Wednesday’s showdown. Tune in at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2 to catch these former PDL players as they shoot for silverware.
Goalkeepers: Andrew Dykstra (2005-2008 Richmond Kickers Future), Tim Melia (2007 Long Island Rough Riders), Adrian Zendejas
Defenders: Saad Abdul-Salaam (2013 Portland Timbers U23), Matt Besler, Amer Didic, Kevin Ellis (2009 Kansas City Brass), Jimmy Medranda, James Musa, Ike Opara (2008-2009 Cary Clarets), Erik Palmer-Brown, Tyler Pasher, Seth Sinovic (2009 Chicago Fire Premier), Colton Storm (2014-2015 Reading United AC, 2016 Portland Timbers U23), Graham Zusi (2005 Central Florida Kraze)
Midfielders: Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Cristian Lobato, Soni Mustivar, Kevin Oliveira, Ilie Sanchez
Forwards: Kharlton Belmar (2012 Mississippi Brilla FC, 2014 Portland Timbers U23), Latif Blessing, Gianluca Busio, Gerso Fernandes, Cameron Iwasa (2014 OC Pateadores Blues), Cameron Porter, Diego Rubio, Soony Saad, Daniel Salloi
Goalkeepers: Evan Luoro (2015 New York Red Bulls U23), Ryan Meara (2009 Long Island Rough Riders, 2010-2011 Jersey Express), Luis Robles (2003-2004 Boulder Rapids Reserve)
Defenders: Aurelien Collin, Fidel Escobar, Connor Lade, Kemar Lawrence, Aaron Long (2012-2013 FC Tucson), Michael Murillo, Hassan Ndam, Damien Perrinelle, Sal Zizzo (2006-2007 Orange County Blue Star)
Midfielders: Tyler Adams, Arun Basuljevic (2015-2016 New York Red Bulls U23), Vincent Bezecourt, Sean Davis (2013 Carolina Dynamo), Dilly Duka (2008-2009 Newark Ironbound Express), Derrick Etienne Jr., Mike Grella (2007-2008 Long Island Rough Riders), Sacha Kljestan (2005 Orange County Blue Star), Felipe, Dan Metzger (2013 Austin Aztex), Alex Muyl (2015 New York Red Bulls U23), Daniel Royer, Gonzalo Veron
Forwards: Anatole Abang (Loaned-out), Brandon Allen (Loaned-out, 2014 Baltimore Bohemians), Muhammad Keita, Bradley Wright-Phillips