June 18, 2015
LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP
Fourth Round roundup: Match day 2
Unlike the first night of 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round action, Wednesday night provided two upsets as the tournament field was whittled down to the Round of 16.
In Boston, first-year USL side Charlotte Independence used Jorge Herrera's incredible 55th minute strike to down Major League Soccer's New England Revolution. A little further south, the NASL's New York Cosmos came back from two goals down to equalize 2-2 with New York City FC, forcing extra time and eventually penalty kicks. Goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer saved three spot kicks, while Hunter Gorskie scored the shootout winner to push the Cosmos to the Round of 16.
Following the conclusion of Wednesday night's matches, the remaining 16 teams were broken up into geographic groups of four ahead of Thursday's Round of 16 Draw. The groups are as follows:
East Region: D.C. United, New York Cosmos, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union
South Region: Charlotte Independence, Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew SC, Orlando City SC
Central Region: Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas,Houston Dynamo, Sporting Kansas City
West Region: LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes
FOURTH ROUND RECAPS
RICHMOND KICKERS (USL) 1, COLUMBUS CREW SC (MLS) 3
In the lone Fourth Round match between two former U.S. Open Cup champions, the first quarter hour saw even back-and-forth possession. Eventually, it was the MLS side that found the game's first goal as Ben Speas' cross from the right picked out the head of Adam Bedell, who nodded past Richmond goalkeeper Ryan Taylor in the 18th minute. Richmond immediately searched out the equalizer, pressureing the Columbus back line before Eli Garner was chopped down about 25 yards from goal. On the ensuing free kick, a grass-trimming effort from Owusu Sekyere was helped by a decoy run from Nate Schiffman to sneak past United 'keeper Andrew Dykstra and inside the right post. While Richmond continued to look dangerous, Crew SC found the odd goal before halftime as Hector Jimenez's cross from the right was mishandled by Taylor, allowing Ethan Finlay a free chance from close range to make it 2-1 in the 42nd minute. After the break, Richmond looked to pull another equalizer back, but it was Bedell who stole the show. Collecting the ball at the top, left-side of the area, the lanky striker hit a bullet, clanging his effort in off the top right post to in the 63rd minute. Columbus did well to thwart Richmond late and cruise into the Round of 16 with a 3-1 victory.
PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS (USL) 1, D.C. UNITED (MLS) 3 a.e.t.
The nearly 4,000 fans who showed up in Pittsburgh, the largest turnout of the season for the Riverhounds, were treated to an exciting Fourth Round Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match between the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and D.C. United Tuesday night. The USL side went down early in the eighth minute, when Facundo Coria headed in Luis Silva's corner from point blank range. It seemed that D.C. might run away with the game, but in the 22nd minute, 'Hounds midfielder Kevin Kerr was brought down by Kofi Opare in the D.C. box, forcing the referee to point to the spot. Pittsburgh's Third Round hero Rob Vincent, stepped up to the spot and calmly slotted home to tie the game at 1-1 in the 24th minute. The goal completely opened up after the second goal with the Riverhounds pushing their possession into D.C.'s half, creating chances and forcing 'keeper Andrew Dykstra into a couple saves. The British duo of Kerr and Vincent combined for Pittsburgh in the final third multiple times in both halves, but were unable to convert their chances. At the stroke of halftime, a United corner saw 'Hounds captain Danny Earls clear Jalen Robinson's header off the line. The second half saw a few chances for both sides, but went largely without incident save for the 66th minute, when D.C. assistant coach Chad Ashton was sent off for dissent. The game went into extra time looking very close, but almost right off the kick United grabbed the lead through a 92nd minute corner that Opare headed home from close range. Cheered on by their home support, the 'Hounds pushed harder to equalize, but that only opened them up further, and in the 104th minute, Nick DeLeon headed home a cross to push D.C. into the Round of 16.
NEW YORK COSMOS (NASL) 2, NEW YORK CITY FC (MLS) 2 (4-3 PKs)
Playing in their first-ever U.S. Open Cup match, New York City FC looked to have control of the match against their East River rivals New York Cosmos in the early going. City found its first-ever U.S. Open Cup goal in the 25th minute when Kwadwo Poku chased down a through ball from R.J. Allen, stood tall against a Cosmos defender before finishing with an overhead kick as he fell to the ground to make it 1-0. Poku added his second of the night just before the hour mark when midfielder Patrick Mullins chipped him into the box, where the Ghanaian winger took the ball on the hop before blasting his effort past Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer. Just as it looked like the MLS side would cruise to victory, the Cosmos pulled one back in the 65th minute, when Hunter Freeman's cross was headed across goal by Lucky Mkosana before Leo Fernandes pounced to make it 2-1. The Cosmos poured on the pressure late and found the dramatic equalizer in the 90th minute as Freeman again sent a low cross for Mkosana, who took a touch before burying into the top left corner to force extra time. In the extra frame, NYCFC looked like they'd re-take the lead when they were awarded a penalty in the 97th minute, but Pablo Alvarez put his spot kick off the cross bar. Neither team could find the go-ahead goal and the match headed to penalty kicks. Cosmos' goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer played the hero in the shootout, stopping efforts from Ned Grabavoy, Patrick Mullins and Shay Facey before Hunter Gorskie slotted home the winning spot kick to give the Cosmos a 4-3 shootout win. With the Cosmos being the last remaining Division II (NASL) representative in the tournament, the club is awarded $15,000.
CHARLESTON BATTERY (USL) 4, ORLANDO CITY SC (MLS) 4 (7-8 PKs)
A Fourth Round matchup in the U.S. Open Cup between USL side Charleston Battery and MLS side Orlando City SC produced the most unlikely of spectacles in a game that went back and forth. Early in the game, it seemed like Orlando would do most of the attacking, however as the first half progressed, Charleston's attack got going, creating some chances of its own. Charleston found the game's first goal in the 58th minute when Jarad Van Schaik headed home off a Justin Portillo corner. Orlando took just five minutes to reply, when Tyler Turner played a ball through to captain Lewis Neal, who slotted past Battery 'keeper Odinsel Cooper. Charleston re-took the lead in the 67th minute when Maikel Chang slotted the ball to Dane Kelly, who slid the ball home. Then in the 75th minute, Orlando's Rafael Ramos made a speedy run through the Charleston defense, and was brought down for a penalty, which Carlos Rivas scored to equalize at 2-2. At the end of the 90 minutes, Cooper made a fantastic save off a bouncing Ramos header to keep his team in the game.
If regular play was crazy, then extra time was insane. Orlando earned another penalty just two minutes into extra time, which Rivas both earned (taken down by Cooper) and scored to go up 3-2. Incredibly, in the 105th minute, Pedro Ribeiro got around Cooper and was brought down for Orlando's third straight penalty, which Rivas converted for a hat-trick. Just a few minutes later, Portillo blasted a strike from more than 25 yards out into the top corner of Edwards' net to pull Charleston back to 4-3. The penalty drama then continued, when in the 115th minute, the fourth spot kick of the game was awarded to Charleston, as Amobi Okugo handled the ball in his own box on a corner kick. Portillo shot past Edwards to take his team into, aptly enough, penalties. It was a long penalty shootout, and both the keepers and many of the penalty takes put on a great display, but after ten rounds Orlando City finally won 8-7, with the winning penalty converted by Danny Mwanga, bringing to end one of the most thrilling matches of the 2015 U.S. Open Cup as the Lions advanced to the Round of 16.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (MLS) 0, CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE (USL) 1
The Charlotte Independence struck early in the second half of the Declaration Derby to knock out the second Division I team from the 2015 edition of the U.S. Open Cup. After the teams traded chances throughout the opening 45 minutes at Soldiers Soccer Stadium in Boston, Jorge Herrera scored an absolute blinder in the 55th minute. Set up by a nifty chipped pass, Herrera chested the ball down, let it bounce once and ripped a half-volley from outside the right side of the New England penalty area that arched over the out stretched hands of Revs' goalkeeper Brad Knighton and into the far side netting. Over the remaining half hour, New England pushed for an equalizer, coming close on a number of occasions but was unable to breach the Independence defense. Along with claiming a spot in the Round of 16, Charlotte also receives a $15,000 prize as the Division III club to make it the furthest in the 2015 U.S. Open Cup.
HOUSTON DYNAMO (MLS) 2, AUSTIN AZTEX (USL) 0
In a Lone Star State clash, Houston set the pace early on, troubling Aztex goalkeeper Devin Perales' goal often. Yet, in the 17th minute, it was Austin Aztex forward Kris Tyrpak who found Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis off his line, but his lobbed effort went just over the bar. In the 23rd minute, a dangerous looking cross made its way through to Houston midfielder Rob Lovejoy, but Perales made an impressive diving stop on the ensuing effort from Lovejoy. Just a minute later, Houston took the lead when Brazilian midfielder Alex played a through ball into the path of Leonel Miranda, who slotted past the onrushing Perales to give the Dynamo a 1-0 lead. In the 42nd minute, Kofi Sarkodie saved what looked to be an impending goal when he tackled Aztex forward Sainey Tourey just as he was about to finish. Play in the second half was a bit slower and the Dynamo spread the ball around more with some neat passing. A good Dynamo move in the 68th minute saw Zach Steinberger cross for Lovejoy, but Perales made the save. Having just entered prior to second half stoppage time, Ricardo Clark, completed a great run with a delicate chip over Perales to ice the game at 2-0 and put Houston through to the Round of 16.
LA GALAXY (MLS) 6, PSA ELITE (USASA) 1
Having already won the $15,000 cash prize for being the furthest advancing Open Division (amateur) team in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, PSA Elite got out to a dream start against defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy. Catching the Galaxy out in transition, Jose Carrera Garcia came up the right before sending a streaking pass across the box that Michael Salazar coolly finished at the back post to give the amateurs a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute. The lead didn't last long as Kenney Walker's corner kick from the left found the head of Sebastian Lletget who nodded just over the line to equalize 1-1 in the 15th minute. The Galaxy would take the lead three minutes later when Robbie Keane was played to the end line on the right, before centering for Gyasi Zardes, who finished from close range. The Galaxy pushed their lead to 3-1 when a beautiful buildup through midfield saw Lletget chip forward for Ignacio Maganto. The Spanish forward nodded down for Keane who blasted his first career U.S. Open Cup goal home in the 29th minute. Keane would find his second after halftime as Jose Villareal played a quick restart on a free kick, chipping for the open Irishman who headed home in the 53rd minute. Keane completed his hat trick when Lletget strolled down the left to end line and crossed for the Ireland international, who nodded home in the 70th minute. Substitute midfielder Baggio Husidic closed the scoring in the 77th minute as the Galaxy eased to a 6-1 victory over PSA Elite to advance to the Round of 16.
Tuesday night's Fourth Round roundup