By JUSTIN FERGUSON
No matter what happens during the final three rounds of what has been a wild U.S. Open Cup, one thing was sealed on Wednesday night.
There will be a new champion this year.
The 2012 champions Sporting Kansas City were dumped out of this year’s edition in the Round of 16 after USL Pro affiliate Orlando City pulled off a shock 1-0 road win.
Forward Long Tan scored the match’s only goal in the second minute, and the USL Pro side held strong to eliminate their second straight MLS opponent in the competition.
Orlando City were joined by the Carolina Railhawks as lower division teams to reach the Open Cup quarterfinals after the Railhawks defeated Chivas USA, 3-1, in extra time. D.C. United knocked off the Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers beat Tampa Bay, Real Salt Lake downed the Charleston Battery (in extra time), New England eliminated the New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas bested the Houston Dynamo in Wednesday night’s other fourth-round action. The Chicago Fire-Columbus Crew fourth-round match was postponed due to inclement weather and will be played on Thursday afternoon.
Back at Sporting Park, both Sporting KC and Orlando City were undermanned for Wednesday night’s match. While the hosts had Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, Kei Kamara and other starters out on international duty, Orlando City were missing leading scorer Dom Dwyer and three more SKC loanees from their squad.
Orlando City, who are on a dominant tear through their league schedule, were boosted by the great play of goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo after their lightning-fast opener. Gallardo made two outstanding saves at the hour mark, denying a point-blank effort from C.J. Sapong and a Paulo Nagamura shot.
The 76th-minute return of Teal Bunbury, who suffered an ACL tear in August 2012, was not enough to boost the home offense. SKC had two more close chances in second-half stoppage time, but Gallardo’s net stayed empty for the stunning upset.
Orlando City now advance to the quarterfinals of the competition, where they will face the winner of Thursday’s rescheduled match between Chicago and Columbus.
Here is a closer look at the rest of the results from Wednesday’s fourth round action in the U.S. Open Cup:
After three long months, D.C. United grabbed their first non-shootout win since March, a 3-1 victory over Eastern Conference rivals Philadelphia. Dwayne De Rosario led the way in his return to Ben Olsen’s starting lineup, netting all three goals for the hosts at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Philadelphia striker and league scoring machine Jack McInerney pulled one back for the Union seconds after De Rosario’s second, but the 2011 MLS MVP completed his hat trick nine minutes later with a 40-yard finish into an open net.
NASL leaders Carolina continued their deep run into the U.S. Open Cup with a 3-1 home win over Chivas USA, who knocked the RailHawks out last season. It took extra time for the RailHawks to finish of the struggling Goats—César Elizondo and Brian Ackley delivered back-to-back goals shortly into the added period for the win at WakeMed Soccer Park. Chivas had come close to a stoppage time winner, but Walter Vilchez’s header went straight off the crossbar. With the loss, all four semifinalists in last year’s U.S. Open Cup have now been eliminated.
After a scoreless draw against D.C. United last weekend, the New England Revolution reignited their red-hot offense with four-goals against the New York Red Bulls. After a back and forth beginning, New England grabbed a second goal from Kelyn Rowe and a Dimitry Imbongo strike for a 3-1 lead. Jonny Steele tried to inspire a comeback for the visiting Red Bulls with a 61st-minute header, but Chris Tierney sealed the Revs’ spot in the final eight with just a few minutes left in the match.
FC Dallas kept control of Texas bragging rights on Wednesday night with a dominating 3-0 home win over the Houston Dynamo. Kenny Cooper scored the first two goals for FC Dallas, and midfielder Michel played a huge part in both. The Brazilian’s cross found Andrew Jacobson, who knocked it down for Cooper’s finish in the 37th minute. Michel’s corner at the hour mark met the head of the veteran forward, and Zach Loyd finished off the rivalry win 17 minutes later with a chipped goal.
For the opening 45 minutes on Wednesday night, the Real Salt Lake offense was all out of shape. USL Pro side Charleston had grabbed an early 2-0 lead, and the hosts looked like they were in trouble. Then RSL rattled off five unanswered goals, including three in extra time, to end the Battery’s Open Cup run. Rookie Devon Sandoval started RSL’s comeback in the 66th minute and the eventual match-winner seven minutes into the added period. Khari Stephenson and Javier Morales added goals of their own before the extra time break to seal a wild win for RSL.
For the first time in franchise history, the Portland Timbers are into the quarterfinals of the Open Cup after a 2-0 victory over the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies. Midfielder Michael Nanchoff netted the goal of the night just nine minutes into the match, a left-footed volley that brought the crowd at JELD-WEN Field to life. Jack Jewsbury came off the bench and scored his first goal of the season in the 55th minute, firing into the roof of the net off a Frederic Piquionne flick-on. Tampa Bay missed a chance to spark a comeback in the 79th minute when a Luke Mulholland free kick hit the post, and the visitors Cup dreams died with a red card 10 minutes later.
What did you make of these results? Shocked at the defending champions’ Fourth Round exit? Surprised at D.C. United’s multi-goal win over Philadelphia? See Orlando City and Carolina pulling off any more upsets? Who is your favorite to win the Open Cup now?
Share your thoughts below.