The 2023 U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 featured two major upsets with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Birmingham Legion FC reaching the quarterfinals.
The Riverhounds eliminated MLS opposition for the second-consecutive round, defeating the Columbus Crew 1-0 at Highmark Stadium on Wednesday. Albert Dikwa’s first-half goal paired with Jahmali Waite’s three-save clean sheet propelled the USL Championship side into the final eight.
Dikwa continued his impressive domestic campaign by boosting the Riverhounds in front 1-0 after 22 minutes. Robbie Mertz’s through ball pass was slotted home by Dikwa, propelled the hosts ahead.
Thomas Roberts’ long-range shot in the 52nd minute was denied by Waite before Gibran Rayo was also denied by the Jamaican goalkeeper. However, the Crew were unable to truly test Waite for the remainder of the match, bowing out in the Round of 16.
Edward Kizza was sent off in stoppage time for the Riverhounds, which could rule him out of contention in the next round. Wednesday’s win clinched Pittsburgh’s first quarterfinal berth since 2001.
Here is a closer look at this week’s U.S. Open Cup results:
Birmingham Legion FC 1, Charlotte FC 0
Birmingham Legion became the second USL team to punch their ticket to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday after blanking Charlotte FC 1-0 at Protective Stadium.
Prosper Kassim’s long-range strike in the 60th minute was all the Legion needed to shock their MLS visitors.
Kerwin Vargas and Karol Swiderski were both denied in the opening stages of the match while Brandon Cambridge struck the left post after 28 minutes. Both Vargas and Swiderski were repelled again before halftime as Legion goalkeeper Trevor Spagenberg made four first-half saves.
Charlotte FC were reduced to 10 men in the 51st minute following Adilson Malanda’s second yellow card, giving Legion an extra man advantage the rest of the way.
Juan Agudelo set up Kassim in the 60th minute before the winger raced up field and drilled a left-footed shot into the bottom-left corner for a 1-0 lead.
Agudelo and Anderson Asiedu had additional offensive chances later in the match to extend the Legion’s advantage, but both were denied by Kristijan Kahlina.
The Legion did well to run down the remaining time, sealing a fourth Open Cup win this year, and a third on home soil.
Dynamo 4, Loons 0
The Houston Dynamo advanced to the quarterfinals after using a hat trick from Corey Baird to eliminate Minnesota United on Tuesday night.
Baird scored three goals while Ibrahim Aliyu also added his first senior goal in a 4-0 home victory over the Loons. Kervin Arriaga was sent off in the 38th minute for the Loons, before the Dynamo added three additional goals in the second half.
Baird’s opener came from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute after Bongokuhle Hlongwane was whistled for a handball. The veteran forward made no mistake, drilling his penalty kick down the middle of the Loons net.
Arriaga’s ejection just five minutes later put the Loons in a major hole for the rest of the match.
Baird extended the Dynamo’s lead to 2-0 in the 68th minute after Amine Bassi’s pass was chipped home down the middle of the net.
Ibrahim Aliyu’s long-range strike in the 79th minute made it 3-0 Dynamo before Aliyu assisted Baird for his hat trick finish just 10 minutes later.
Andrew Tarbell registered a three-save clean sheet to cap off the Dynamo’s perfect night.
LAFC 0, Galaxy 2
The LA Galaxy used a full strength squad in Tuesday’s trip to Los Angeles FC and made the defending MLS Champions pay.
Tyler Boyd and Riqui Puig scored three minutes apart in the early stages of the second half to lead the Galaxy past LAFC 2-0 at BMO Stadium.
Nathan Ordaz and Danny Crisostomo were both denied by Jonathan Klinsmann in the first half while Puig was repelled twice by Eldin Jakupovic. Jakupovic kept LAFC level going into halftime after denying Puig from the penalty spot in the 34th minute.
However, the Galaxy would find their opening goal in the second half before adding an insurance tally not long after. Tyler Boyd’s left-footed missile into the top-left corner broke the deadlock after 49 minutes before Puig finally found the back of the net after Marky Delgado’s assist.
Klinsmann was stellar in goal, making six saves to earn a clean sheet on the road.
Despite playing several LAFC2 players, Steve Cherundolo’s squad held their own, but couldn’t find a way back after going down.
Here are all of this week’s U.S. Open Cup results:
Inter Miami 2, Nashville SC 1
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1, Columbus Crew 0
New York Red Bulls 1, FC Cincinnati 1 (FC Cincy advanced 5-3 on penalty kicks)
Houston Dynamo 4, Minnesota United 0
LAFC 0, LA Galaxy 2
Birmingham Legion FC, Charlotte FC
Austin FC, Chicago Fire
Colorado Rapids, Real Salt Lake
Juan Agudelo!!!! Wow. Hadn’t heard his name in years. Glad he’s still doin his thing.