U.S. Open Cup: 3 NASL Teams Advance

Nazmi Albadawi Image, Rob Kinnan/NCFC

By JAKE NUTTING

Open Cup II logoThree North American Soccer League teams remain standing in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after surviving their third-round matches against opposition from the United Soccer League on Wednesday night.

The Jacksonville Armada was the only NASL team to lose while North Carolina, Miami and the San Francisco Deltas each came out on top to set up meetings with teams from Major League Soccer in the fourth round, on June 14.

Charleston Battery 1, Jacksonville Armada 0

An own goal proved to be the end of Jacksonville’s Open Cup run. After surviving an early onslaught from the USL’s current Eastern Conference frontrunner, Jacksonville was done in by a fatal miscue as defender Drew Beckie‘s attempted clearance ended up in the back of the net in the 25th minute. Neither team produced quality scoring chances in the remaining hour and change after Charleston jumped ahead. Charleston advances to play its MLS affiliate Atlanta United at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.

North Carolina FC 4, Charlotte 1

North Carolina dominated from the start and ousted the USL’s Charlotte Independence. Midfielder James Marcelin gave North Carolina the lead at home in the 17th minute with an assist from Lance Laing and the captain Nazmi Albadawi then bagged two in the second half to put the match out of Charlotte’s reach. Connor Tobin added another for North Carolina in the final 10 minutes while Charlotte managed to find a consolation penalty goal from Alex Martinez in stoppage time. With the win, North Carolina now hosts a fourth-round game with the Houston Dynamo.

Miami FC 2, Tampa Bay 0

Tampa Bay kept Miami’s potent attack at bay through through the first hour of Wednesday’s match at Riccardo Silva Stadium until Dylan Mares entered the match for the home team. Mares’ insertion changed the match as he first drew the penalty that gave Miami the go-ahead goal from Vincenzo Renella in the 74th minute and then provided the assist to Jaime Chavez for the second tally 10 minutes later. The win earns Miami a date with Orlando City in the next round.

San Francisco 2, Phoenix 1

All the scoring between the San Francisco Deltas and Phoenix Rising occurred past the 80th minute. The Deltas got on the board first as  Kyle Bekker‘s free kick deflected off a defender to beat the keeper in the 81st minute, but the home side answered just four minutes later when forward Omar Bravo converted a penalty. As the end of regulation neared in stoppage time, a hopeful cross from San Francisco on the right flank found its way through several Phoenix defenders to land at the feet of Tommy Heinemann, who calmly tapped home the winner. San Francisco’s first Open Cup run will continue with an away match against the San Jose Earthquakes.