Open Cup fifth round recap: Eight MLS teams remain

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER
MLS Writer

There was a pleasant trend to the U.S. Open Cup round of 16 over the last couple nights. Teams that approached their matches as though they were important and worth winning were typically rewarded. Those that treated the Open Cup as an excuse to give lesser talent playing time generally made their exits. Also, home teams won seven out of eight matches. For the first time since 2008, all eight teams who reached the quarterfinals play in Major League Soccer.

New York Red Bulls 4-1 New York Cosmos

The Red Bulls won their second New York Derby in four days with a strong win over the Cosmos.

The Cosmos entered the game with injuries, forcing Hunter Gorskie to play out of position at left back. That would be a theme throughout the night. Just five minutes in, Lloyd Sam beat Gorskie down the wing and sent in a perfect cross for Sal Zizzo to head in the opening goal. Anatole Abang made a good run to the near post, attractingthe attention of most of the Cosmos’ defense.

The Cosmos were able to fight back from the initial onslaught with an equalizer in the 16th. Jimmy Maurer outlet pass curled and stayed in along the touch line, and Connor Lade, who was on a yellow card, was beaten soundly by Walter Restrepo. In a two-on-one breakaway, Luis Fernandes’ first pass was blocked by Matt Miazga, but it bounced back, and Fernandes fed Lucky Mkonsa for the goal.

But before halftime, the Red Bulls were able to reclaim the lead. Abang this time got the goal for his work, heading in the corner kick. Shortly into the second half, Gorskie lingered too long on a ball just outside of his box. He was shielding off one Red Bulls player, but never sensed Chris Duvall coming in to steal the ball. Gorskie compounded his error by bringing down Duvall in the box.

The Cosmos’ best chance at starting a comeback just refused to go into the net. Raul’s header went off the bar, and rebounded to Mkonsa, whose shot hit the post. After that, it just seemed like it wouldn’t be the Cosmos’ night. Long Island’s Mike Grella added some style to the Red Bulls’ victory with a late goal, again beating Gorskie down the right.

It wasn’t all smiles for the Red Bulls and their fans, however. Duvall was in a 50-50 challenge with Gorskie in the 84th minute, and had to leave the field on a stretcher. In their fourth round match, the Red Bulls saw Sam leave with a groin injury. This is the risk they’re taking by treating the tournament more seriously than they have in years past.

The Red Bulls will host the Union in the quarterfinals, a fact made more controversial by the fact that they had to reschedule the game in order to avoid conflict with the Red Bulls’ friendly against Chelsea.

San Jose Earthquakes 0-1 LA Galaxy

The Galaxy extracted a modicum of revenge from the Earthquakes for their Saturday night loss. Neither team gave this match, in front of a mostly-full Avaya Stadium, the same sort of priority as their Saturday night Clasico. Both lineups were littered with players who don’t typically see much playing time in MLS. This favored the team with a USL side.

As on Saturday, the Galaxy scored first in impressive fashion. Jose Villarreall deftly controlled a long ball and finished well to put LA up in the sixth minute. Villarreal isn’t a regular starter for the Galaxy, but that fact says more about the team than it does about him. He now has three goals for the senior team in all competitions this year.

Unlike Saturday, the early lead held up. Mark Sherrod seemed to have an equalizer in the 30th minute, but it was called off for offside. I think that’s the reason, anyway; the Earthquakes’ blurry stream never showed a replay of it. The team from Silicon Valley has done a poor job with their streams.

LA will head to Salt Lake for the quarterfinals.

Sporting Kansas City 6-2 FC Dallas

SKC scored four times in the first half in a steamrolling of Dallas. The first two goals were mirror images of each other: Dom Dwyer headed both in from Benny Feilhaber crosses. Dwyer completed his hat trick with a penalty kick in the 42nd minute, and he’d add a fourth for good measure in the second half. Krisztian Nemeth scored two, including a preposterous chip from the endline in the 59th minute.

Dallas was down by five before they scored, and again when they scored their second. They played a few of their starters, but they were no match for a Kansas City side that doesn’t play this upcoming weekend and could play a complete starting XI. It’s worth noting that SKC won by four when they played in MLS; lineup strengths can’t explain all of that.

Kansas City will host Houston in the quarterfinals.

Philadelphia Union 2-1 DC United

Lightning, a red card, and an early deficit couldn’t stop the Union from advancing to the quarterfinals.

It was an inauspicious start to say the least. After the match was suspended by lightning in the 15th minute, the Union returned to the field and promptly saw CJ Sapong sent off. Three minutes later, Jairo Arrieta gave DC the lead, and it looked like another bad night in a bad year for the Union.

But while DC rested most of their starters for the match, it was a full-strength XI that started for Philly. So despite the sending off, the Union fought back. In the 55th minute, just minutes after Andrew Wenger managed to hit both posts with one shot, Eric Ayuk scored the equalizer.

Fabinho came on as a substitute in the second half, and rewarded Jim Curtin with a winning goal. Cristian Maidana had the assist, and also assisted on Ayuk’s equalizer.

The Union reached the final of last year’s Open Cup, and generally did so in close, odd, rainy games. That pattern kept on Wednesday night.

Orlando City SC 2-0 Columbus Crew SC

Orlando City is taking the Open Cup seriously. A strong lineup from Adrian Heath had no trouble dispatching the Crew on Tuesday night.

Both goals came in the first half. Just a minute after Kaka had a free kick goal called back for offside, he scored the legal way to put Orlando in front. Kaka’s presence in the cup match—and the fact that he didn’t want to be subbed off in the 87th minute—says a lot about his commitment. Carlos Rivas, whose appearance was less remarkable, doubled the lead with a powerful shot just a few minutes later.

There was a bright spot for Columbus in the second half, when Wil Trapp came off the bench. Trapp had been suffering the lingering effects of a concussion, and hadn’t played for Columbus since April. He’s a valuable part of that midfield.

Orlando will go to Chicago for the quarterfinals.

Chicago Fire 3-1 Charlotte Independence

Mike Magee returned to the Fire’s starting XI, and he led them to victory after a scare against Charlotte.

The Independence, the last remaining USL team in the tournament, struck first. Tomasz Zahorski gave Charlotte the lead in the 5th minute, a good curling goal after he was given too much space. But their hopes of a third straight road win in the Open Cup would slowly slip away.

Magee equalized in the 37th minute. He was making his first start for Chicago since going down with injury last August, and reminded his team what they’ve been missing out on. He was first to a cross from Kennedy Igboanike to tied the match at one.

The underdogs went into halftime tied, but that scoreline didn’t last long into the second half. Lovell Palmer hit a rocket of a shot past Hunter Gilstrap to put the Fire in front. As Charlotte pushed for an equalizer late, Magee scored his second. This time, he finished off Patrick Nyarko’s cross, finishing off hopes of an upset in the process.

Real Salt Lake 2-0 Portland Timbers

A pair of second half goals propelled Salt Lake to victory over Portland.

The Timbers and RSL both sent out strong lineups on Wednesday night, and played a very entertaining game as a result. Only a couple offside flags kept the first half scoreless. Sebastian Jaime opened the scoring in the 54th minute, finishing off an assist from Olmes Garcia. Joao Plata earned a penalty in the 70th minute, and Javier Morales scored it to double the lead and down the Timbers.

RSL will host the Galaxy in the quarterfinals.

Houston Dynamo 1-0 Colorado Rapids

After a rain delay of more than two hours, the Dynamo defeated Colorado. Both teams started less-than-ideal lineups, the Dynamo moreso than the visitors. That afforded an opportunity to Mauro Manotas. The 19-year-old Colombian made his first start for Houston, and scored his first goal in the 43rd minute. It would be the only goal of the match, though the two teams combined for 33 shots on the night.

 

  • OpenCupFan

    Serious question, why are so many various mls franchises allowed in this competition since they are single entity? In a hamburger taste test McDonalds only gets one entry, you don’t get the same hamburger from each McDonalds on the world?
    .
    Incidentally, how do they have to play all these games when they are also stealing lunch money from lil kids soccer clubs?
    .
    Some should file a grievance with USSF about this (haha).

    • slowleftarm

      Why do you write so many posts when they all say the same thing?

      • OpenCupFan

        Stop avoiding the question Mr Robot.