June 17, 2015
LAMAR HUNT/U.S. OPEN CUP
Fourth-round roundup: Match day 1
Home field advantage played a huge role in the first match day of the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup, with eight of nine hosts advancing to the tournament's Round of 16.
In the only all-MLS matchup of the Round, Portland Timbers were the lone road team to get a result, after they defeated defending champion Seattle Sounders FC 3-1 after extra time in a wild game that saw the home side finish the match with just seven men on the field after three red cards and an injury.
Though there were some nervy moments in Philadelphia, Chicago, Salt Lake City and San Jose, Major League Soccer clubs also held serve against their lower league rivals, going 6-0-2 and winning both shootouts as only the Division 1 clubs advanced to the Round of 16.
The 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round concludes with seven matches on Wednesday night, with the game between the Houston Dynamo and Austin Aztex being moved to a 7:30 p.m. CT kickoff. The Fourth Round will be followed by the Round of 16 Draw, which will stream live on ussoccer.com at 10 a.m. CT on Thursday, June 18.
FOURTH ROUND RECAPS
PHILADELPHIA UNION (MLS) 0 VS. ROCHESTER RHINOS (USL) 0 (3-1 PKs)
Despite their early dominance, the Philadelphia Union were unable to finish their early chances past Rochester goalkeeper Brandon Miller in regulation time. As the game progressed, the Rhinos slowly found their feet, gaining more and more possession in the final third. Both teams have substantial experience in the Open Cup; in fact, the Rhinos are tied for the most all-time wins in the competition, but were unable to put a goal past their former keeper, John McCarthy who is now with Philadelphia. Each team found themselves with decent possession in the attacking third, but lacked the killer final ball.
Miller saved brilliantly to keep his team in the game multiple times, most notably in the 31st minute off of a bullet from C.J. Sapong, who had broken behind the Rhinos' defensive line. McCarthy too had a few saves, but more noticeably took a few risky chances, making several runs out of his box to tackle balls behind his defense. However, this tactic did not always work with both his teammates and the whistle bailing him out on separate occasions.
With the teams locked 0-0 after 90 minutes, the match headed to extra time where the first 15 minutes of play were very open, with the Union continuing to press high, while the Rhinos seemed to be slowing down. Despite this pressure, the Union still found themselves unable to beat Miller. The second half of overtime was more tense, with both teams looking afraid to take any real chances for fear of their opponents breaking. After a scoreless final 15 minutes, the match made way for a penalty kick shootout where former Rhino John McCarthy played the hero, making three big stops to avoid the upset and push the Union to the Round of 16.
NEW YORK RED BULLS (MLS) 3, ATLANTA SILVERBACKS (NASL) 0
From his first time addressing the New York Red Bulls faithful after being named the club's head coach in January, four-time U.S. Open Cup champion Jesse Marsch said he would be taking the tournament seriously. Marsch was true to his word Tuesday night, putting out a strong side that made easy work of the visiting Atlanta Silverbacks. It took the home side just seven minutes to get on the board when Bradley Wright-Phillips chased down a bouncing ball in the Atlanta area before turning outside and laying a perfect ball into the path of Lloyd Sam, who expertly finished to make it 1-0. New York would double their lead with training ground stuff in 15th minute as Brazilian attacker Felipe played a short corner to Dax McCarty. The veteran midfielder laid off for Sacha Kljestan at the top of the area where the U.S. international struck a low shot that was saved by Atlanta 'keeper Steward Ceus, but Red Bulls defender Ronald Zubar was there to pounce, scoring his first goal for the club in the process. New York poured on the pressure in the second half and found their third goal as a progressive build-up through midfield led to Mike Grella leaving a beautiful back heel for Sean Davis, who calmly scored his first for the club from just outside the area. With the win, New York moves to 16-16-1 all-time in U.S. Open Cup play.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY (MLS) 1. SAINT LOUIS FC (USL) 0
In front of a sold-out crowd of 19,298, Sporting Kansas City monopolized possession in their 1-0 win in the Round of 16 of the Lamar Hunt Open Cup. It was a close final score that was not entirely representative of the game, where most of the time, Kansas City was pressing with the ball into Saint Louis FC's half. Benny Feilhaber bossed the midfield, pinging balls out wide and through to Dom Dwyer and Graham Zusi. It looked like SKC were about to take the lead off a Feilhaber free kick in the 18th minute, but Dom Dwyer's header dinked off the underside of the post and away safely from Saint Louis goalkeeper Mark Pais's goal. Despite of SKC's dominance, Saint Louis had a few chances of the break in the first half, but were unable to convert. Right before the break, Sporting's Amadou Dia got behind the Saint Louis defense and crossed the ball square past an on-rushing Pais and found Zusi, whose header was blocked by a Saint Louis defender. In the second half, Kansas City really began to turn the screw on their opponents, pressing even higher than in the first half. A couple chances for Sporting early in the first half saw a goal line clearance, and Dwyer firing just wide. SKC's breakthrough finally came in the 70th minute, when Feilhaber put in a great, curving ball towards Zusi, and the U.S. international's flick-on header beat the diving Pais. With the lion's share of possession, Sporting saw off Saint Louis for the final 20 minutes, ensuring their place in the tournament's Round of 16.
CHICAGO FIRE (MLS) 1, LOUISVILLE CITY FC (USL) 0 (a.e.t.)
Coming off a 2-0 league loss to New England Revolution on Saturday, Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop made six changes to his lineup that kept the home side from finding much rhythm in the first half. In fact, it was former Fire forward Matt Fondy who had the best chance of the first frame in the 12th minute as he danced around the top of the box before unleashing a blast to the bottom right corner that Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson turned out for a corner kick. The Fire could have gone ahead in the 32nd minute when Quincy Amarikwa had Scott Goodwin off his line but pulled his effort wide right of goal. The Fire inserted Scottish international Shaun Maloney at the start of the second half and found more useful possession, but wasted a number of opportunities, while Louisville City took their moments in transition to relieve the backline. Without a goal in regulation, the match headed to extra time where the Fire continued to hold possession and finally found the match winner when substitute Guly do Prado's shot from the top of the box saw Amarikwa redirect a header past Goodwin in the 116th minute. With the victory, the Fire move into sole possession of most U.S. Open Cup wins in the Modern Era with 35 and advance to the Round of 16 on June 22.
FC DALLAS (MLS) 4, OKLAHOMA CITY FC (USL) 1
FC Dallas enjoyed a comfortable 4-1 win against Oklahoma City Energy FC, on the campus of TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. Energy FC goalkeeper Evan Newton was forced into a save just 15 seconds after kickoff, when FC Dallas' Michael Barrios found some space to get a strike on goal. The early pressure continued as FCD's Fabian Castillo beat a couple men in the box and released a low, hard strike that hit Newton's left-hand post in the 19th minute. Dallas finally got their first just two minutes later as Castillo dribbled past his defender and sent a low cross into the box that David Texeira converted. In the 30th minute, Newton made back-to-back saves on a Barrios attempt, but four minutes later the Colombian would finally convert, slotting home a rebound on a shot from Alex Zendejas to make it 2-0. Just moments later, Barrios scored again after a 60-yard run, capping the escapade with his second goal of the match to make it 3-0 heading into halftime. Texeira would get a brace of his own after Barrios made a fantastic run and cut it to the Uruguayan striker to make it 4-0 in the 51st minute. After the fourth goal, the game slowed considerably, and Energy FC pulled a consolation marker back in the 82nd minute when Danni Konig's shot from outside the box managed to beat Dallas 'keeper Chris Seitz. The goal was little bother though as FC Dallas closed out the match to advance to the Round of 16.
COLORADO RAPIDS 4, COLORADO SPRINGS SWITCHBACKS (USL) 1
In the first-ever meeting between the two Colorado clubs, the Rapids had chances galore in the first half, but didn't find the first goal until the 26th minute as Sam Cronin threaded Dominique Badji through before the Senegalese striker finished past Switchbacks FC's Devala Gorrick. The Rapids would double their lead in the 32nd minute when Dillon Serna's free kick picked out the head of Joe Greenspan to make it 2-0. After Switchbacks FC's Josh Phillips was sent off in the 61st minute, the Rapids continued to pour on the chances and found their third goal as Serna beat two defenders before firing home in the 65th minute. The Switchbacks would pull back some pride late in the game as Jordan Burt would beat Rapids' goalkeeper Zac MacMath in the 90th minute, but moments later Serna would finish a low cross from Luis Solignac to earn the brace and give the Rapids a dominant 4-1 win over Switchbacks FC. With the win, Colorado moves to 11-14-0 all-time in U.S. Open Cup play.
REAL SALT LAKE (MLS) 2, SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC 2 (USL) 1
For a while it looked like Real Salt Lake were in for a "cupset" at home to Seattle Sounders FC 2, after Sam Garza beat RSL 'keeper Jeff Attinella in first half stoppage time. First half play was surprisingly even before that goal. Both teams had chances, and though RSL had more of the ball, Sounders 2 did well to keep themselves in the game. After the embarrassment of going down at home to the USL side, the RSL players came out in the second half much more motivated and attack-minded. Still, Sounders 2 were not without chances, and in the 62nd minute Pablo Rossi curled a shot off the crossbar. Just after, RSL pulled themselves back in the game as Joao Plata finished off Olmes Garcia's low cross to equalize 1-1 in the 64th minute. RSL would go on to dominate and just three minutes after his goal, Plata's header forced a save from Sounders' goal keeper Saif Kerawala. In the 71st minute, RSL won an indirect free kick six yards from the Sounders' goal. Plata gave the ball a tap, and midfielder Javier Morales tucked the ball past several onrushing Sounders players and inside the far post to give the home side a 2-1 lead. Sounders 2 tried to press forward late in the game, even forcing two saves out of Attinella, but it was all for naught as Real Salt Lake saw the out the match to advance to the Round of 16.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (MLS) 2, SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC (USL) 2 (6-5 PKS)
Sacramento Republic gave a serious challenge to the San Jose Earthquakes from the start, as Rodrigo Lopez's sixth minute penalty kick put the USL side ahead 1-0 at Avaya Stadium. Sacramento picked their moments well and doubled their lead in the 54th minute as Lopez threaded Emrah Klimenta through the San Jose back line before the Montenegrin defender back heeled his effort past 'Quakes 'keeper Bryan Meredith. Down 2-0, San Jose looked to the lethal finishing of Chris Wondolowski, who didn't disappoint.
First in the 74th minute, the U.S. international lost his mark before tucking his effort inside the far left post. Five minutes later it was Marvell Wynne whose pinpoint cross from the right that Wondolowski who placed a glancing inside the left post to equalize at 2-2. The U.S. international nearly kept the match from going to extra time in the 86th minute when he shirked his marker, stepped left and unleashed a curling effort that ringed just around the far post. Through 30 minutes of extra time, neither team could find a winner and the match went to penalty kicks. Sacramento held a 4-3 advantage in the fifth round, but Klimenta's shot was saved by Meredith, to force sudden death. The teams matched each other through two more rounds; then Shaun Francis converted in the eighth before Republic FC's James Kiffe skied his effort over the bar. The draw and shootout win moves the Earthquakes all-time U.S. Open Cup record to 11-8-6 and into the Round of 16.
PORTLAND TIMBERS (MLS) 3 AT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (MLS) 1 a.e.t.
The defending U.S. Open Cup champion Seattle Sounders FC were dumped out of the 2015 edition of the tournament by their Cascadia rival Portland Timbers after a tumultuous night at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Washington. Seattle finished the match with seven players after three men received red cards and striker Obafemi Martins was stretchered off due to injury.
A hard fought but scoreless first half that saw Seattle boss most of the play quickly turned in Portland's favor after the intermission. The Timbers opened the scoring early in the second half when winger Rodney Wallace whipped in a 48th-minute cross that Diego Valeri put home with a leaping volley inside the six-yard box. The goal roused the Sounders who poured on the offensive pressure, forcing Timbers goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey to intervene on numerous occasions - one of which, a point-blank save of Aaron Kovar was particularly incredible. However, Seattle would not be denied despite being reduced to 10 men in the 69th minute when Brad Evans received his second yellow of the match. Ten minutes later, Obafemi Martins levelled off a Lamar Neagle corner kick before exiting the match through injury, further reducing Seattle to nine players as they had already used all three subs.
Shorthanded as they were, Sounders FC fought on into extra time, even carving out a few half chances. The Timbers' numbers were too great in the end and they found the winner through Wallace in the 100th minute when he snapped home the rebound of a George Fochive shot that had deflected off Seattle defender Dylan Remick. From there the match unraveled as Sounders FC's Michael Azira received a straight red card for elbowing a Timbers player and Clint Dempsey was then also sent off after being twice cautioned for continuing to remonstrate with the referee. Maxi Urruti duly added a third goal to ice the game and send Portland to the Round of 16 for a third consecutive year.