CHICAGO – The Third Round of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup saw Christos FC continue its Cinderella run to become the only remaining amateur side left in the competition alongside 13 professional teams from the USL (9) and NASL (3) that advanced to the Fourth Round. Those Fourth Round dates against Division I, Major League Soccer sides are set for June 13-14.
The round began on Tuesday night when well-known giant killers Michigan Bucks (PDL) came up short, falling 2-1 to pro side Saint Louis FC (USL) after an early second-half golazo from Francis Atuahene gave the amateurs hope of a potential comeback.
Amateur sides alternated positive results to begin Wednesday night’s action, with Reading AC (PDL) going down 3-0 to pros Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) and GPS Omens (Mass.) giving Division II stalwarts Rochester Rhinos (USL) all they could handle before succumbing 2-1 after extra time. In the night’s one all-amateur affair, Christos FC traveled from Baltimore to the west side of the Windy City to defeat Chicago FC United 1-0 behind a first minute goal from Levi Houpeau that featured an assist from his goalkeeper Peter Carinigi III. As the lone remaining amateur team in the competition, Christos FC is awarded the $15,000 prize given to the amateur team to go the farthest in the tournament.
The United Soccer League also fared well on the night, sending nine teams on to meet M.L.S. competition in the Fourth Round, while fellow Division II league NASL also did well, winning three of the five matches its teams were involved in to advance a trio of strong performers to the Fourth round, which is scheduled to be played June 13-14.
THIRD ROUND RECAPS:
Tuesday, May 30
Michigan Bucks (PDL) 1, Saint Louis FC (USL) 2
A quick-fire brace from St. Louis FC’s Danish striker Sebastian Dalgaard saw the United Soccer League (USL) pros get the better of giant-killers Michigan Bucks 2-1 at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Michigan. The Bucks’ livewire forward Francis Atuahene scored the goal of the game, and maybe the competition so far, but it wasn’t enough to keep the home side from losing out on the day and seeing their 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup campaign come to an end. St Louis FC, despite looking second-best for large portions of the match in Pontiac, move on to the Fourth Round and a tough date with four-time Open Cup champions Chicago Fire at home in Missouri.
Wednesday, May 31
Rochester Rhinos (USL) 2, GPS Omens (Mass.) 1 (a.e.t.)
With just seconds remaining in the second half of overtime, Sammy Edoung-Biye finished off a cross from Jalen Brown to allow the Rochester Rhinos to sneak past GPS Omens at Capelli Sport Stadium. After a scoreless first half, the Rhinos took a deserved lead when Brown finished in the 52nd minute, but their advantage didn’t last long. Three minutes later, Keith Campbell curled in a free kick from 22 yards out to get GPS Omens back even and eventually push the game to overtime. Despite the Rhinos having the majority of chances in overtime, it looked certain the game was going to penalty kicks until Edoung-Biye was able to finish in the 120th minute to keep the only non-MLS club in the modern era to win the U.S. Open Cup alive for another round in this year’s tournament. The Rhinos now face the New England Revolution (MLS) in the Fourth Round.
Jacksonville Armada (NASL) 0, Charleston Battery (USL) 1
The Charleston Battery rode a 26th minute own goal by Jacksonville Armada defender Drew Beckie to a 1-0 win. The pair of Division II teams battled throughout the match with Jacksonville carrying much of the play. Although Armada attackers Bryan Rebellon, Derek Gebhard, and Zack Steinberger carved out the best opening chances, it was the unfortunate Beckie who turned the ball into his own net midway through the opening frame. Jacksonville continued the search for an equalizer in the second half, forcing a handful of saves from Charleston ‘keeper Odisnel Cooper and putting second handful over the bar. Armada shot stopper Caleb Patterson-Sewell also made his fair share of saves to keep it a one-goal game, but ultimately Charleston saw the game out and booked their Fourth Round date against MLS side Atlanta United FC.
FC Cincinnati (USL) 1, Louisville City FC (USL) 0
Louisville City FC was sent home twice bitten, once shy in a 1-0 loss to FC Cincinnati. Djiby Fall, a dominant forward in his first year with Cincinnati, recorded the game’s lone goal in the 48th minute when he pounced on deflection following a corner. Fall’s goal is his second in the competition and eighth on the season for the USL side, despite being handed a six-game suspension for biting a Louisville player in a league contest in late April. FC Cincinnati advances to host MLS’s Columbus Crew SC at Nippert Stadium in the Fourth Round.
Reading United AC (PDL) 0, Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) 3
Two goals by Jake Bond propelled the Harrisburg City Islanders to a 3-0 victory against Reading United and a ticket to the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup for the fourth time in six years. Harrisburg took the lead early in the eight minute after a nice build-up on the right side opened space for Danny Diprima at the top of the box and the midfielder buried a one-timer past the goalkeeper for his third career U.S. Open Cup goal. Just eight minutes later, the City Islanders struck again with an impressive feed and finish that covered more than half the field in a matter of seconds. From 10 yards in their defensive half, a long ball was sent from the left side across the field to a streaking Bond along the right sideline. Bond chested the ball forward in stride to lose his defender and then used his next touch to hit a surprising strike inside the right post that left the Reading goalkeeper stunned. Bond put the game away just five minutes into the second half when he buried his second goal. Harrisburg next faces M.L.S. club Philadelphia Union in the Fourth Round.
North Carolina FC (NASL) 4, Charlotte Independence (USL) 1
North Carolina FC got goals from Nazmi Albadawi (2), James Marcelin, and Connor Tobin to route Charlotte Independence and knock their intrastate rivals out of the Open Cup for the second straight season. Lance Laing’s corner found Marcelin’s head to put the hosts on the board in the 17th minute. Albadawi added goals in the 51st and 82nd minute and Tobin followed up with a counter attack goal a minute later to push the lead to 4-0. Charlotte found a small late respite when Alex Martinez converted a stoppage-time penalty to complete the 4-1 scoreline. NCFC advances to host M.L.S.’s Houston Dynamo next month.
Miami FC (NASL) 2, Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL) 0
A pair of second-half scores led Miami FC to a 2-0 victory against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in either team’s first win in the nascent Sunshine State series. The bay-side squad held strong in the first half, thanks to big saves from goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald, particularly in the 20th minute with a diving effort to get a hand on a bending Michael Lahoud attempt. Vincenzo Rennella, a La Liga veteran, gave Miami the lead with a well-taken spot kick to the low left corner in the 74th minute. Jaime Chávez doubled the lead with a calm finish in the 84th minute to complete the scoring. The victors from South Florida travel up the turnpike to Orlando City SC for a Fourth Round matchup, its first in franchise history against a Division I club.
Chicago FC United (PDL) 0, Christos FC (Md.) 1
The brothers from Baltimore, Christos FC kept their U.S. Open Cup dream run alive with a 1-0 road win against Chicago FC United to claim a Fourth Round showdown against M.L.S. side D.C. United. After making the long trek from the Mid-Atlantic to the Windy City, Christos FC got off to an unbelievable start when goalkeeper Pete Carinigi III’s long ball reached Levi Houpeau, who tucked his shot away to give the Baltimoreans a 1-0 lead in the opening minute of the game. Undaunted, the home side threw everything it had at the visitors and had reasonable claims for multiple penalty kick opportunities in the second half but saw them waved away by the referee. Having now knocked off the ’95 Open Cup Champion Richmond Kickers, plus fellow amateur sides Fredericksburg FC and Chicago FC United, Christos FC moves on to a Fourth Round matchup vs. D.C. United (M.L.S.) nearly 50 miles west at Maryland SoccerPlex.
Tulsa Roughnecks FC (USL) 0, San Antonio FC (USL) 0 (7-6 PKs)
After a scoreless 120 minutes of regulation play, Tulsa Roughnecks goalkeeper Fabian Cerda came up huge during eight rounds of penalty kicks to defeat San Antonio FC, 7-6, and advance to the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup. The Roughnecks fell behind during the penalty shootout after their third attempt caromed off the crossbar, but Cerda single-handily turned the tables. The Chilean goalkeeper saved San Antonio’s fourth penalty attempt and then buried the Roughnecks fifth penalty to keep the shootout going. Three rounds later, Cerda started the celebrations in Tulsa when he made his second save of the shootout, this time denying fellow goalkeeper Diego Restrepo. The Roughnecks are set to travel to FC Dallas for a Fourth Round date with the defending Open Cup champs in June.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (USL) 1, OKC Energy FC (USL) 2
OKC Energy FC electrified a cagey affair in Colorado Springs in the 73rd minute when Jose Barril cut in from the wing and placed his shot into the corner of the goal. The visitors doubled the lead behind Wojeich Wojcik, who gave himself a birthday gift by converting a penalty in the 83rd minute. The Switchbacks briefly sprang back with a late Jordan Burt penalty, but OKC powered down the hosts and hung on for a 2-1 win. OKC Energy returns to The Centennial State to take on the Colorado Rapids in the Fourth Round.
Phoenix Rising FC (USL) 1, San Francisco Deltas (NASL) 2
San Francisco Deltas and Phoenix Rising FC were headed to a scoreless 90 minutes until things heated up late in the desert. San Francisco’s Kyle Bekker’s free kick deflected off the wall and wrong-footed the goalkeeper on its way to the opening goal in the 81st minute. Just three minutes later, Omar Bravo converted a penalty to level the match after being clattered over in the penalty area. Just before the final whistle, Deltas substitute Tommy Heinemann stunned the home crowd with a last gasp goal on his first touch to give the visitors a 2-1 win. San Francisco’s win sets up a Bay Area derby with San Jose Earthquakes (M.L.S.) at Avaya Stadium.
L.A. Wolves FC (Calif.) 0, Orange County SC (USL) 1
Orange County FC ended the LA Wolves nine-game unbeaten streak in all competitions behind a 42nd minute free kick goal. Roy Meeus hit the game-winning strike from about 22 yards out with his left foot, banging it past the wall and into the lower left corner of the goal. The Wolves, who had twice come back from behind to move on in this year’s Open Cup, put the pressure on the backline of OCFC, but couldn’t break through. With the win, the USL side advanced to the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup for the first time in their history and will face the LA Galaxy (M.L.S.).
Sacramento Republic FC (USL) 2, Reno 1868 FC (USL) 0
Sacramento Republic FC ended Reno 1868 FC’s six-game undefeated streak across all competitions with a 2-0 result on Wednesday night. 21-year-old forward Harry Wiliams gave the home side a first-half lead when he finished a perfectly-weighted through ball from Trevin Caesar in the 41st minute. Caesar, a Trinidad & Tobago international, doubled Sacramento’s margin with a knuckling 59th minute tally from outside the 18. The win advances the California club to the Fourth Round, where it will host Real Salt Lake, marking its first competitive home match against an M.L.S. side.
|June 13#||D.C. United (MLS) vs. Christos FC (Md.)||7:30 p.m. ET||Maryland SoccerPlex; Boyds, Md.|
|June 13&||Colorado Rapids (MLS) vs. OKC Energy FC (USL)||7 p.m. MT||Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.|
|June 13*||Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) vs. Portland Timbers (MLS)||7:30 p.m. PT||Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.|
|June 14||FC Cincinnati (USL) vs. Columbus Crew SC (MLS)||7 p.m. ET||Nippert Stadium (Univ. of Cincinnati); Cincinnati, Ohio|
|June 14||North Carolina FC (NASL) vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS)||7:30 p.m. ET||Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.|
|June 14||New England Revolution (MLS) vs. Rochester Rhinos (USL)||7:30 p.m. ET||Anderson Stadium (Providence College); Providence, R.I.|
|June 14||Philadelphia Union (MLS) vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)||7:30 p.m. ET||Talen Energy Stadium; Chester, Pa.|
|June 14||Atlanta United FC (MLS) vs. Charleston Battery (USL)||7:30 p.m. ET||Fifth Third Bank Stadium (Kennesaw State Univ.); Kennesaw, Ga.|
|June 14||Orlando City SC (MLS) vs. Miami FC (NASL)||7:30 p.m. ET||Orlando City Stadium; Orlando, Fla.|
|June 14^||New York Red Bulls (MLS) vs. New York City FC (MLS)||8 p.m. ET||Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.|
|June 14||Saint Louis FC (USL) vs. Chicago Fire (MLS)||7 p.m. CT||Toyota Stadium (WWT Soccer Park); Fenton, Mo.|
|June 14||FC Dallas (MLS) vs. Tulsa Roughnecks FC (USL)||7 p.m. CT||Westcott Field (Southern Methodist Univ.); Dallas, Texas|
|June 14||Sporting Kansas City (MLS) vs. Minnesota United FC (MLS)||7:30 p.m. CT||Children’s Mercy Park; Kansas City, Kan.|
|June 14||Sacramento Republic FC (USL) vs. Real Salt Lake (MLS)||7:30 p.m. PT||Papa Murphy’s Park; Sacramento, Calif.|
|June 14||Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) vs. Orange County SC (USL)||7:30 p.m. PT||StubHub Center Track Stadium; Carson, Calif.|
|June 14||San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) vs. San Francisco Deltas (NASL)||7:30 p.m. PT||Avaya Stadium; San Jose, Calif.|
* Date changed 5/19
^ Time changed 5/19
# Date changed 5/22
& Date determined 5/23