May 28, 2015
LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP
Third round roundup
As Division II North American Soccer League sides entered the Third Round of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the league matched up in seven battles with Division III United Soccer League counter parts. But the already tested USL sides went 6-0-1 in those matches, with Third Division Saint Louis FC also dispatching Minnesota United FC on penalties.
The Third Round wasn't kind to Amateur Division teams, as the dream runs for Jersey Express, Chattanooga FC, Ventura County Fusion and Chula Vista FC all ended, but California side PSA Elite (USASA) became the tournament's furthest advancing amateur team for the second year in a row, garnering the $15,000 cash prize awarded for the achievement.
Winners from Wednesday's matches will face 15 different U.S.-based Major League Soccer sides in Fourth Round play on June 16-17. The draw to determine Fifth Round match-ups will be held at the conclusion of Fourth Round play on June 18. The Fifth Round is scheduled to be played June 30-July 1.
THIRD ROUND RECAPS:
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC 2 (USL) 2, PORTLAND TIMBERS FC 2 (USL) 1 (a.e.t.)
It was a scoreless first half between the two rivals' second teams, but not without chances. In the eighth minute, Portland Timbers 2's 'keeper Justin Luthy made a point-blank save off an effort from Seattle's Victor Mansaray, and also managed to save a shot by the Sounders' Andy Craven later in the half. Seattle's 'keeper Saif Kerawala was also called into action in the 23rd minute when he made a fantastic save on a low shot by Rundell Winchester, who had broken behind the Sounders 2 back line. The second half was more attacking, and in the 54th minute Rennico Clarke headed home a Blair Gavin corner kick to make it 1-0 for Timbers 2. Then in the 66th minute, Mansaray played Craven through for the second time in the half and the striker dribbled past Luthy before slotting it home to tie the game. In injury time, Qudus Lawal found himself in on goal, but Luthy made a great save to send the match to extra time. Seattle's Pablo Rossi would find the game-winner in the 104th minute when Sam Garza played him through Portland's defense as Rossi curled it to the back post to set up Sounders 2 with a Fourth Round date at Real Salt Lake.
HARRISBURG CITY ISLANDERS (USL) 1, ROCHESTER RHINOS (USL) 3 (a.e.t.)
For a game that spent the vast majority of time locked in a stalemate, the Third Round match between the Harrisburg City Islanders and Rochester Rhinos rewarded those who stuck around until the end with an extremely eventful finish. It was a scrappy game, with many cards, and in the 38th minute, Rochester's Steevan Dos Santos received his second caution and was sent off. However, the 10-man Rhinos held on at 0-0 through regular time. In the second period of extra time, the game's first goal finally came from the Islanders' Brett Jankouskas, who slipped the ball past goalkeeper Brandon Miller off an Eric Bird assist. The floodgates opened, but not in the direction anyone expected. A minute later, Rochester struck back, with Kenardo Forbes capitalizing on a defensive lapse. Then, in the 115th minute, a bouncing ball in the box was slotted home by Rochester's Asani Samuels. Just five minutes later, Samuels bagged a brace to push his side to a Fourth Round matchup at the Philadelphia Union.
RICHMOND KICKERS (USL) 3, JACKSONVILLE ARMADA (NASL) 0
Hosting Jacksonville for the Florida club's first-ever U.S. Open Cup match, the Richmond Kickers ran out to a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute as Fred Owusu Sekyere picked out the head of Brian Ownby, who nodded inside the far post. Richmond would extend their lead just before halftime as Jason Yeisley broke through the back line before finishing past Armada 'keeper Miguel Gallardo in the 38th minute, tallying the club's 100th goal in U.S. Open Cup play. Whistled for a penalty kick early into the second half, Jacksonville fell further behind when George Davis IV easily placed his effort to the right of Gallardo to give the Kickers a 3-0 lead in the 51st minute. The padded lead helped Richmond see out the match, pushing the USL side to a Fourth Round home date against the Columbus Crew.
PITTSBURGH RIVERHOUNDS (USL) 1, TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (NASL) 0
After 90 minutes of high pressing and numerous attempts, it seemed like the Pittsburgh Riverhounds just couldn't get one over on their NASL competition the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The 'Hounds had the lion's share of the possession, much of which was in the Rowdies' half, but they had nothing to show for it. A low save by former MLS keeper Matt Pickens from Kevin Kerr's vicious half-volley kept the Rowdies in the game in the 79th minute. Then, just as the fourth official was announcing stoppage time, Rob Vincent picked the ball up, strode up field, and unleashed a 25-yard bullet into the bottom-left corner, giving Pickens no chance and the Riverhounds a 1-0 victory. Pittsburgh advances to the Fourth Round where it'll host MLS side D.C. United.
CHATTANOOGA FC (NPSL) 1 VS. ATLANTA SILVERBACKS (NASL) 2 (a.e.t.)
The dream is over for underdog darlings Chattanooga FC after their 2-1 extra time defeat to the NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks. After 87 scoreless minutes, Chattanooga looked likely to pull the "Cupset" when Luke Winter, put home a Jon Finlay cross. However, just two minutes later the Silverbacks bounced back, winning a penalty and a chance to take the game to extra time, which Shaka Bangura converted with style. In the 109th minute, Atlanta's Jaime Chavez broke Chattanooga's hearts with a super strike to give his team the 2-1 lead. Despite Chattanooga's best efforts, the Division II Silverbacks held on, setting up a Fourth Round match away to the New York Red Bulls.
CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE (USL) 1, CAROLINA RAILHAWKS (NASL) 0
In the first-ever meeting between the two sides from the Tar Heel state, neither team could find a firm footing in attack and instead traded possession through much of the first hour. In the 71st minute, an Independence forward seemed to be taken down in the box, but the referee waived played on. Ten minutes later though, Ryan Finley came good, finding the back of the net to take Charlotte to a 1-0 victory over their NASL counterparts. The win pushes the first-year USL side to a Fourth Round clash with the New England Revolution.
CHARLESTON BATTERY 3, FORT LAUDERDALE STRIKERS (NASL) 2
In one of seven NASL vs. USL matches on the night, the Division II Fort Lauderdale Strikers drew first blood early when Dani Sanchez slipped Bruno Nunes through to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute. After working out the early jitters, Charleston would find the equalizer when Dane Kelly laid a ball back for Ricky Garbanzo, who smashed a half-volley into the roof of the net in the 30th minute. Fort Lauderdale would go back into the lead just before halftime when Sanchez fired home a strong toe poke from the top of the area in the 40th minute. Trailing in the second half, the hosting Battery side began to put the pedal down and found the equalizer in the 77th minute when a Fort Lauderdale giveaway in the back was pounced on by Dane Kelly. The Jamaican played a quick pass across the box for Zach Prince, who first-timed his effort inside the right post. Catching the Strikers out in transition, the Battery would find their first lead of the match two minutes later as Garbanzo moved up the right before picking out Kelly at the back post where he finished the game-winner from close range in the 79th minute. With the victory, Charleston will host Orlando City SC in Fourth Round action.
INDY ELEVEN (NASL) 0, LOUISVILLE CITY FC (USL) 2 (a.e.t.)
In a game that was delayed because of severe weather in central Indiana, I-65 rivals Indy Eleven and Louisville City FC played a physical first half before trading blows in the second frame, but neither side could find a goal to settle the match in regulation. Just as it seemed the match would head to extra time, the visitors from Louisville broke through as Nate Polak's effort from outside the box beat Indy 'keeper Kristian Nicht in the 115th minute. With Indy pushing everything forward in search of the equalizer, Louisville struck again just before time when Matt Fondy's shot was saved by Nicht but Sidney Rivera was there to sweep in the rebound, sending the USL side home with a 2-0 win. Louisville will get their first crack at an MLS team when they visit the Chicago Fire in the Fourth Round.
NEW YORK COSMOS (NASL) 3, VS. JERSEY EXPRESS (PDL) 0
Fourteen minutes into the match, the Cosmos' Leo Fernandes hit a nice free kick over the Express wall to give the home side a 1-0 lead. Then, in the 40th minute, Cosmos' Sebastian Guenzatti beat multiple Express defenders before finishing to make it 2-0. For much of the second half the Cosmos continued to force their will on the match and found the third and final goal in the 79th minute when Haji Wright made a run into the box and passed to Fernandes, who was brought down for a penalty kick. Mads Stokelien converted the penalty to give the Cosmos a 3-0 lead in the 81st minute. It wasn't all sunshine and roses for the Cosmos, though, as Sam Caceres received a straight red for a nasty foul in the 90th minute. Still, the NASL side eased to victory over the Express, setting up a Fourth Round matchup with nascent neighbors New York City FC.
SAINT LOUIS FC 1 (USL), VS. MINNESOTA UNITED FC (NASL) 1 (3-1 PKs)
Following a scoreless first half, Minnesota United was rewarded for early second half pressure when Geison Moura's shot clanged off the cross bar before falling for JC Banks who finished from close range in the 53rd minute. Their backs against the wall, Saint Louis were relentless in attack and found their equalizing opportunity when United defender Tyler Polak chopped down Saint Louis's Charles Renken in the penalty area, forcing the referee to point to the spot. Bryan Gaul calmly stepped up and placed his effort past United 'keeper Mitch Hildebrandt to send the match to extra time. While both teams traded blows in the extra period, a goal couldn't be found and the match went to a shootout. In the tie breaker, only U.S. international Miguel Ibarra could convert out of four attempts for Minnesota, while Saint Louis bagged all three of their spot kicks to down United 3-1 in the shootout. With the win, Saint Louis FC will visit Sporting Kansas City in Fourth Round play.
TULSA ROUGHNECKS (USL) 0, OKLAHOMA CITY ENERGY FC (USL) 1
The Third Round match between the Tulsa Roughnecks and the Oklahoma City Energy was short on goals, but not on shots. Nearing the final minutes, the match looked destined for extra time, when, seemingly out of nowhere, Energy FC substitute Peter Toth blasted a shot from distance which squeezed into the top-left corner. Heartbreak for the Roughnecks, as Oklahoma City Energy advance to the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup where they'll pay a visit to FC Dallas.
SAN ANTONIO SCORPIONS 0 (NASL), AUSTIN AZTEX (USL) 2
USL continued its advantage over the NASL in Texas when the Austin Aztex downed the San Antonio Scorpions 2-0 Wednesday night. Playing away from home, the Aztex played a high energy, pressing game the Scorpions had no answer for. In the 51st minute, the Aztex's Michael Ambrose scored off a beautiful strike from about 30 yards out. Then, on a counter-attack in the 78th minute, the Aztex's Trevin Caesar latched on to a through ball before slamming the insurance marker home to earn a 2-0 away win. With the victory, Austin advanced to the competition's Fourth Round where they'll visit Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo.
REAL MONARCHS SLC 0 (USL), COLORADO SPRINGS SWITCHBACKS (USL) 1
Real Monarchs welcomed their neighbors to the east to Rio Tinto Stadium Wednesday night, but it was the side from Colorado that had the early ideas as Josh Phillips chipped Aaron King in alone before the striker beat Real 'keeper Eric Osswald in the fifth minute. The home side nearly pulled level when Emery Welshman was picked out in the box, but his header went just wide of the post in the 33rd minute. As the teams tried to return from halftime, a bout of severe weather forced the match to be delayed. Once the game continued, Real continued on looking for tying goal, but saw their best chances come in second half stoppage time. First Max Rauhoffer's half volley came back off the cross bar, before Maikon Orellana put his effort just wide left of the post moments before the referee whistled for time. With the victory, the Switchbacks move on to an in-state Fourth Round match as they visit the Colorado Rapids.
VENTURA COUNTY FUSION (PDL) 1, PSA ELITE (USASA) 2
In the only Third Round battle between two Amateur Division teams, PSA Elite looked good to return to the Fourth Round for the second straight year when Mats Bjurman scored his third goal of the tournament from the penalty spot in the 39th minute. With the opportunity to face defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy hanging over both teams heads, the home side responded in the 72nd minute when Jinho Kim's curling free kick was flicked on by Sola Abolaji before Abdullah Adam slammed the equalizer home. Both sides looked for the odd goal late but it was the visiting USASA side that found it when Justin Dhillon slammed home in the 80th minute. The victory combined with other results Wednesday hands PSA Elite a $15,000 prize as the furthest advancing amateur team and a Fourth Round date away to the LA Galaxy.
SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC (USL) 7, CHULA VISTA FC (USASA) 3
Following a high-flying entrance into Open Cup play, Sacramento started where they left off last week when Octavio Guzmano was played towards box and flicked his effort home for a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute. Though Republic FC dictated much of the play, the young side from Chula Vista evened things up when Francisco Ramirez converted a spot kick in the 39th minute. The amateurs were no doubt looking to take that score into halftime, but Sacramento had other ideas as Adnon Gabeljic restored a 2-1 lead in the 43rd. On the other side of the break, Sacramento's Tommy Stewart found some space on the right side of the box before turning to bury his effort inside the far left post for his tournament leading fourth goal in the 52nd minute. Just seven minutes later Gabljic popped up again to make it 4-1 and earned a penalty minutes later, but Sebastian Ortiz saved Rodrigo Lopez's 63rd minute attempt. The fifth would eventually come from Zev Taublieb in the 73rd minute, but Chula Vista responded with a small comeback as Joey Estrada got on the end of a loose ball and chipped to the left post in the 74th minute. Eight minutes later, Mario Rubio popped up to pull Chula Vista back to within two goals, but Sacramento Republic put the hammer back down as Lopez fired home in the 85th minute before Gabeljic completed his hat trick and the 7-3 score line in the 89th minute. With the win, Sacramento Republic advances to a Fourth Round match at San Jose Earthquakes.