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Sounders and Galaxy the latest MLS clubs to fall in U.S. Open Cup

RowdiesSounders (Tampa Bay)


On Tuesday night, two Western Conference clubs made the trip to the East Coast and were promptly knocked out of the 2013 U.S. Open Cup by a pair of plucky USL Pro sides.

On Wednesday night, two teams from the NASL stepped up and doubled the underdogs’ head count, dispatching visiting Western Conference opponents of their own.

The biggest shock of the night and entire Third Round came in the Sunshine State as the Tampa Bay Rowdies hung on for a 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders. Although the Sounders were also missing several key starters, they traded blows with the host Rowdies throughout the match. Ten minutes after Tampa Bay went up on a Georgi Hristov tap-in, they were in trouble as defender Jordan Gafa handled the ball on the line and was sent off. But substitute striker Obafemi Martins’s penalty attempt was saved, and the Rowdies hung on for the upset—an upset over a team that previously made it to the Open Cup Final in all four of their campaigns.

While the U.S. national team struggled to generate offense in Cleveland, the Los Angeles Galaxy were experiencing similar troubles down south. The pain of last year’s trip to North Carolina came back to Los Angeles on Wednesday night as a mostly reserve Galaxy squad were beaten soundly by the Carolina RailHawks, 2-0. While the visitors were unable to create a shot on goal until the 71st minute, Carolina grabbed two quick goals early in the second half to coast to their second straight win over the defending MLS champions.

The Portland Timbers prevented an 0-for-3 night for the Western Conference in Wednesday’s final match. Portland showed no trace of last year’s 1-0 loss to amateur side Cal FC and rolled to an easy 5-1 win over USL Pro outfit Wilmington. Veteran striker Frédéric Piquionne scored the first four of Portland’s goals, with the first coming in the second minute of the match. The Hammerheads pulled one back shortly after the hour mark, but it was far too late. Futty Danso brought the lead back to four with 17 minutes left, setting up a Fourth Round meeting with Tampa Bay.

Here’s a closer look at all of Wednesday’s action from the third round of the U.S. Open Cup, which included another undefeated night for the Eastern Conference:

Carolina RailHawks (NASL) 2, Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) 0 (REPORT)

Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro) 0, Chicago Fire (MLS) 2 (REPORT)

New York Red Bulls (MLS) 2, Reading United AC (PDL) 0 (REPORT)

Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) 1, Seattle Sounders (MLS) 0 (REPORT)

Columbus Crew (MLS) 2, Dayton Dutch Lions (USL Pro) 1 (REPORT)

Houston Dynamo (MLS) 2, FC Tucson (PDL) 0 (REPORT)

Portland Timbers (MLS) 5, Wilmington Hammerheads (USL Pro) 1 (REPORT)


What did you take away from these results? Shocked at Open Cup power Seattle’s loss to Tampa Bay? Thoughts on a shorthanded Galaxy squad’s performance against Carolina? Impressed with the Eastern Conference going a perfect 8-0 in the Third Round?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Just ask Wigan how winning the FA cup worked out for them. Obviously there is no relegation in MLS but I would be interested to know what do MLS clubs really have to gain by participating in the tournament. Player development perhaps? Otherwise it is injury, fatigue and expensive travel.

      • Europa league is not such a big deal from a financial standpoint. Lost revenues from EPL TV contracts far exceed the potential gains from Europa league participation. I think both Liverpool and Southampton have mentioned turning down an invitation if extended.

        Wigan had nothing left in the tank against arsenal after playing MCFC a few days before. Maybe they could have stayed up if they were rested?

      • No, he means the winner of the US Open Cup gets a champions league birth. You asked what MLS clubs have to gain, not EPL clubs.

    • CCL entry if you win.

      You know, I get it why some clubs don’t bother, but that is between them and their fans. I have zero right to criticize LA or SJ or S#itt!e’ decisions (albeit on that last one, I have no doubt they care). I want my team to care. I think it would be fun to be playing in CCL. Yes, yes – whining about schedule congestion, but to the best teams go the honor of having a congested schedule because you have earned it. If we just want a straight regular season with no CCL, no USOC, no friendlies then so be it (in that case we should have a 40 game schedule easy), but these guys are professionals with 30 man rosters. Yes, more games may mean at important times you are missing a key player just due to more opportunity for injury / fatigue, but having less games is certainly no guarantee your team is 100% fit when it is essential.

      As I watched my Timbers last night go up 4-0 in the first half, all I could think was “please no injuries!”. That said, I’d rather field a competitive team EVERY game and take our best shot at winning this thing rather than have another CalFC debacle from last year (which, sadly, was a mix of starters and reserves who badly miscalculated thinking that if they just kept firing in weak attempt after weak attempt all 90 minutes then surely they’d outclass – they failed miserably on that one).

      I like the USOC. I like the CCL. Friendlies are largely “meh” but it was fun to watch my team play Ajax and Man City in past years (teams I would otherwise only see on TV in my lifetime). But there really was no competition and so what if we lose (or win for that matter) in those games. USOC at least matters if you keep winning to the end. You get a trophy and a CCL berth.

  2. You can’t expect MLS sides to do well when they have to fly clear across country midweek with 2 games back to back and a US Mens national team camp taking place at the same time. Seattle and LA lost key players to the mens team which meant they had to leave even more players home and the trip far away was a severely depleted reserve squad.

    You just can’t expect quality teams putting quality players out for this with such scheduling congestion and the salary cap limiting any true depth. Even the best depth teams have severe drops in quality from their first xi to their bench. These games should’ve happened this weekend with no MLS fixtures

    • There’s a full set of fixtures in the mls this weekend. I understand the hardships of cross country travel, but we do live in a world where airplanes can quickly accomplish this task. Why did Arena not even make the trip?

      • LA to Raleigh Durham is only 5.5 hours. I had school bus trips for state playoff games longer than that.

        Absolutely the US is a big country and coast to coast travel is harder than say Italy or England or France. LA has a good enough team that I can understand that they have set their sights on an MLS championship and are willing to just blow this one off and see it as a nuisance more than an opportunity. That isn’t true of most MLS teams though (SJ, Colorado, etc.) who are much less likely to finish in the MLS Cup final.

  3. It’s perfectly rational for MLS clubs to send second string lineups for these matches. The risk of fatigue (compounded by cross country travel) and injury outweigh the rewards (both financial and prestige). Qualifying for MLS playoffs is more important.

  4. this tourney should be regionalized somehow, not by picking pairs as they used to do, but perhaps with brackets. dont make any club travel more than one time zone until the later rounds.

    • This wouldn’t work because there are not enough decent USL & NASL clubs out west. You would end up with a bunch of early round MLS v. MLS reserve team match ups which would suck.

  5. Can’t believe that Obafemi missed that penalty, we seem to miss way to many of those. Sounders were bound to slip up in this comp after 4 years of not losing in it, other than a PK shootout in finals last year.

    • Yep. Gone are the excuses of a congested schedule and travel for the rest of the season. In fairness to Seattle fans, they are very critical of the Sounders publicly when they show no effort, such as the LAG 4-0 whitewash and this embarrassment at Tampa…Many (if not all) Seattle fans will accept nothing less than a deep run for MLS Cup from here on out. If not, they’ll demand changes at the top. Including Adran Hanauer and Sigi Schmidt!

      • in the end, i am sure they (fans, players, coaches, and FO) will find excuse for not wining mls cup or SS.

      • That may be true, but you can’t sit there and type something like that without acknowledging that EVERY team comes up with excuses (including Houston) for any (and every) loss! The excuse ticket only goes so far and I, as a Sounders fan, am far more prepared to blame (unlike YOU) any and all failures that emerge with the Sounders on the Sounders (from the FO on down!) themselves vice whatever you want to think!

    • “after 4 years of not losing in it”

      This is why so many folks have a strong distaste for may Sounders fans – you lost last year. Nobody but Sounders’ fans looks at the PK shoot out as a draw. It’s not about what shows in the win-loss column it’s about who took the cup home.

      YOU LOST THE US OPEN CUP LAST YEAR – nope, still doesn’t work. Didn’t work on my brick wall either.

      A little honest reflection and humility goes a long way.

      • maybe you should learn to read, since in the last part of my comment i said “other than a PK shootout in finals last year.” i am fully aware they lost in the finals last year but to go four years with only loss and that loss being a PK shootout is impressive. also if you look in the record books i believe that PK shootouts show up as draws, not 100% sure on that though.

      • Still don’t understand why you’d use that language though.

        You guys won 3 on a row but are 3 for the last 5. Losing in the final is losing. It isn’t 4 years of not losing it except one time any more than it is 5 years of not losing it except for 2 times or 100 years of not losing it except for 97 times.

      • clearly people here are oversensitive to anything sounders fans say, losing once in the comp in 4 years is impressive. all my original point was is that we were bound to get bounced early eventually. also i have no idea what your last sentence is trying to say, not a clue

      • It’s not really impressive when the club can – and did – buy home field advantage more than any of their competition. You wrote checks for those trophies. Just admit it and move on.

      • agree to disagree, did we play most of our games at home? yes. do all other MLS try do that same thing? yes. did we win our first USOC title on the road? yes.

  6. Can’t wait to hear the whining from Il Bruce about his team having to play in this tournament. Seems like they always get dumped out early because his apathy seeps down to the team.

  7. Ives, The Hammerhead goal in the Portland game was a spectacular overhead kick. Worth finding a clip of it if you can.

  8. No excuse for the Sounders losing, but it is pretty crap to structure this tournament to have teams going cross country mid week. 3 teams traveled across the country last night and all lost. Should be shorter distances until it gets deeper.

    • it is pretty crap. that’s why the Galaxy sent the reserves and Onalfo to coach them

      still, congrats to the NASL teams

    • I agree completely. Seattle came from LA to FLA, now have to come back to LA. LA was on the east coast last week, back to LA, then back to the east coast for the mid week game. Then you have teams like Chivas traveling 10 miles to play. If they want MLS teams to take the tourney seriously, take the travel these teams have to make under consideration.

      • I didn’t say it was an excuse. I just said it is rough travel and it shows by the fact that out of 6 teams to travel across the country, 1 won in OT. The Sounders had a PK and missed, they could have tied it. Should have won as they do on the road in the USOC, but they didn’t. Just making commentary on the travel in early rounds of this. It is tough since there are more midwest/east coast teams, but there should be some way to make it easier on the lower divisions and the upper divisions to where they aren’t going across the country multiple times in a week.

      • What do you expect them to do? None of the leagues are going to stop playing for the Cup so mid-week matches are the only possibility. It is impossible to limit travel when 12 of 16 lower tier teams are based on the east coast and 10 of 16 MLS teams are west of the Mississippi River. There are only two rounds with heavy travel, the rest of the tournament is regionalized to make it easier on teams. The easiest thing to do would be allowing MLS matchups in the 3rd round but I’m not sure that would be a popular decision.

      • Seattle has won on the road in this comp before but go ahead and keep saying they never have. Losses happen, the upsets are what make this and all cup competitions great

    • You honestly do have a good point with SS … their east-coast USOC game was sandwiched between a pair of weekend games at LA and Chivas. However, with the Galaxy, they already had to come to the east coast this weekend anyway … to play NER.

      I had said the LAG just didn’t value this game as an organization … now, I understand that neither their Head nor Asst. Coach made the trip either? … I mean, that sounds like it’s just this side of a boycott.

  9. “Thoughts on a shorthanded Galaxy squad’s performance against Carolina?” You had a solid home team from a lower-level league that, throughout its organization, wanted to win and move on in the tourney, with a large record crowd on hand. You had a road team from the top-level league that, at least organizationally, didn’t really care if they won and actually probably saw a lot of positives in losing. The result should not be “shocking” at all.

    It’s a shame that the defending MLS champions AGAIN showed such apathy for this nation’s national tourney. Some say it reflects bad upon the Cup itself … NO, I say it reflects badly upon MLS.

    • Uhh NO, it reflect bad on the Gals. Most MLS teams played B teams, as expected, and advanced. We will see stronger MLS squads as the tournament gets closer to the quarters and semis.

      • To call what LA fielded last night a “B” team would be generous to say the least.

        Third-tier strikers combined with a couple of third-tier midfielders, third-tier goalkeeper and no starting defenders (who usually do make the midweek trips)… this was a C+ team, at best.

      • LA put Villareal, Zardes, and Rogers out on the field, as well as Cochrane, all of whom I expect to pick up a healthy number of minutes throughout the season. But yeah, the rest of the team probably don’t even make the 18 for a typical game.

      • Doubt that, considering he and his associate head coach didn’t make the trip themselves.

        How he regards USOC was made loud-and-clear by that simple fact alone.

      • I can’t speak for SanFran415, but he perhaps he was trying to imply was that Bruce Arena’s absence reflects poorly on Arena himself. Arena is a coach, not an athlete, so I don’t think that tired legs from the travel would be much of an excuse. You also have to wonder what the LA Galaxy players who made the trip think of Arena’s absence? Arena’s explicit message may be that the Open Cup isn’t very important to the Galaxy, but the implicit message is that most of the players they sent to play aren’t very important to the Galaxy either.

  10. Don’t mess with the Rowdies!

    Great atmosphere at Al Lang stadium. It was a fairly even game, but the Rowdies took their chance. Martens came on as a sub just in time to miss a penalty 🙂 It was a great diving save by Restrepo, actually!

    Georgi Hristov simply can’t stop scoring. I wonder how much longer he stays with the Rowdies.
    Another solid performance by Luke Mulholland as well.

    On to Portland Timbers!


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