Amateurs Orange County FC (NPSL) achieved the dream of all Open Division clubs Wednesday night by defeating Division II (USL Championship) professionals Las Vegas Lights 5-3 to advance from the Third Round and set a date with Major League Soccer opposition in the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
In addition to OCFC, who earned the $25K prize as the amateur team to advance farthest in the tournament, 10 Div. II sides from across the country advanced to the Fourth Round to face Division I (MLS) competition on June 12. Ten of the 21 U.S.-based MLS sides that now enter the competition will face one another in the Fourth Round, while the 11 others will be paired with lower division opponents. All the Fourth Round games will be available to watch on ESPN+.
The Fourth Round Draw will be conducted on Thursday, May 30 at 11 a.m. ET at U.S. Soccer headquarters in Chicago. Fourth Round ties will be announced as they are drawn on the U.S. Open Cup Twitter account: @opencup.
Around the Open Cup, there were two other Cupset bids that fell short as North Carolina FC (USL Championship) ended the run of hot-shot Miami amateurs Florida Soccer Soldiers, 1-0, while Saint Louis FC (USL Championship) downed Forward Madison FC (USL League One) 3-1.
The Third Round got off the mark on Tuesday night when OKC Energy won a barn burner against current USL Championship league leaders Tampa Bay Rowdies, 4-3 in Norman, Oklahoma. Wednesday evening began with a pair of 1-0 wins for Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Louisville City against Indy Eleven and Birmingham Legion FC, respectively. Wider margins of victory were recorded by Memphis 901 FC and Austin Bold FC as both clubs poured in four goals, while Sacramento Republic FC and Open Cup debutants New Mexico United both needed 30 minutes of extra time to vanquish their opponents.
The lone match of the Third Round to reach a penalty shootout ended with Charleston Battery taking out Nashville SC 3-1 after the teams played to a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
THIRD ROUND RECAPS:
OKC Energy (USL Championship) 4, Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL Championship) 3
Defense was an after-thought on the John Crain Field at the OU Soccer Complex on Tuesday night as OKC Energy outlasted the Tampa Bay Rowdies in a high-scoring affair, 4-3. Former Tampa Bay forward Deshorn Brown snapped a 3-3 deadlock in the 60th minute, converting an Alexy Bosetti feed from a quick counterattack.
The loss was the Rowdies’ first in all competitions this year as the team owns a 7-0-5 mark in the USL Championship. Tampa Bay, which won its Second-Round Open Cup match, also has conceded only four league goals in 12 games.
After enduring a two-hour and 20-minute lightning delay prior to kickoff, the wait certainly was worth it for the fans who stuck it out as they witnessed an entertaining match in a clash of USL Championship teams.
Slightly less than two minutes after the kickoff, Jamaican international Owayne Gordon drew first blood for the hosts. Gordon latched onto a long diagonal pass on the right flank, beat his man before firing an 18-yard blast that skimmed off the right post and into the net past goalkeeper Chris Konopka.
The Rowdies, however, rebounded by grabbing a 2-1 lead. First, Brandon Allen converted a controversial penalty kick past goalkeeper Bryan Byars in the 20th minute after the referee ruled that Antoine Hoppenot had been taken down in the box. Hoppenot’s goal in the 24th minute boosted OKC into a 2-1 advantage as he ripped a 19-yard line drive into the upper right corner.
Then it was OKC’s turn to fill the net. Only three minutes later, Bosetti took advantage of a poor Tampa Bay clearance and sent a curling effort from 22 yards into the net to equalize at 2-2 in the 27th minute. Christian Eissele made sure the tie did not last very long as his 12-yard effort boosted OKC back into a 3-2 edge in the 32nd minute.
It should not have come as any surprise that the scoring onslaught continued into the second half. Only two minutes in, Allen tallied his second goal, firing home from eight yards for a 3-3 deadlock.
OKC Energy retook the lead on the hour off the counter as Bosetti found Brown, who drilled a 16-yard shot home for a 4-3 lead that the hosts made stand up the rest of the way.
OKC Energy now advanced to the Fourth Round, which will be contested on June 12.
North Carolina FC (USL Championship) 1, Florida Soccer Soldiers (Fla.) 0
Florida Soccer Soldiers’ run of Cupsets was ended by North Carolina FC (USL Championship), which registered a 1-0 win at Koka Booth (Field 2) at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. Coached by former U.S. National Team interim head coach Dave Sarachan, North Carolina drew first blood against the amateur side in the 47th minute on a fine individual goal by DJ Taylor, who was set up by halftime substitute Steve Miller. Taylor ran through some traffic on the right side and fired a left-footed strike past goalkeeper Bryant Gammiero into the lower right corner. Goalkeeper Darrin MacLeod recorded the clean sheet. Gammiero, made several vital saves to keep his teammates within striking distance. The visitors finished with 10 men after Luis Calderon was shown red deep into stoppage time. The South Florida side had surprised two professional clubs in earlier rounds. They upended Miami FC, a National Premier Soccer League team and 2017 Open Cup Guarterfinalists, in the opening round. Florida then posted a dramatic victory over Charlotte Independence (USL Championship) in the Second Round.
“The Open Cup is all about what you saw tonight,” Sarachan said. “The players from Florida did a good job of disrupting us in the first half. Our soccer was much better in the second half. We grinded it out and we are moving on.”
Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL Championship) 1, Indy Eleven (USL Championship) 0
Talk about making an immediate impact. Only four minutes after coming on, Kenardo Forbes scored in the 85th minute to lift the Pittsburgh Riverhounds to a 1-0 triumph over Indy Eleven in a clash of USL Championship teams at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Riverhounds reached the Fourth Round for the first time since 2015. Forbes, who replaced Sammy Kahsai in the 81st minute, took a cross-field pass from Noah Franke and smashed a 26-yard strike past goalkeeper Jordan Farr for his second goal of the season. Former Danish international Thomas Enevoldsen, who played in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, had an opportunity to equalize in the 89th minute, but he sent his close-range shot wide right of keeper Kyle Morton. Indy enjoyed a 61 percent possession, but could not solve Morton. The start of the game was held up due to a 40-minute weather delay, but as it turned out, the wait was worth it for the Riverhounds.
Louisville City FC (USL Championship) 1, Birmingham Legion FC (USL Championship) 0
For Louisville City FC, it was much better late than never. With the game seemingly headed for extra-time, Sean Totsch converted a penalty kick in the 90th minute to boost the USL Championship side to a 1-0 victory over Birmingham Legion FC in a battle of USL Championship teams at Lynn Stadium on the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky. Totsch hammered his spot kick with his right foot into the lower left corner past goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel, who had taken down substitute Brian Ownby, on a clean breakaway, in the box and subsequently was shown a yellow card a minute earlier. Ownby had subbed for Richard Ballard in the 62nd minute. “We have gone through so much,” Louisville City FC head coach John Hackworth said. “To give our fans something to cheer about was really nice.”
Saint Louis FC (USL Championship) 3, Forward Madison (USL League One) 1
If anyone was late arriving to this encounter at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo., then they would have missed some early fireworks by the hosts. Saint Louis FC tallied twice in the opening six minutes to take control of the match over Forward Madison (USL) en route to a 3-1 victory. Less than two minutes after the opening kickoff, Paris Gee intercepted a poor clearance and drilled a 16-yard shot into the USL Championship side for a 1-0 advantage. Guy Abend followed up four minutes later, beating the goalkeeper from close range. Madison sliced the lead in half as Don Smart took advantage of a defensive mistake and scored in the 38th minute. Russell Cicerone restored Saint Louis’ two-goal advantage in the 72nd minute as he headed in Lewis Hilton’s corner. Saint Louis FC Academy goalkeeper Patrick Schulte, the shootout hero of the team’s Second-Round win over the Des Moines Menace, did not start, although he was on the bench. First-team keeper Tomas Gomez started picked up the win.
Memphis 901 FC (USL Championship) 4, Hartford Athletic (USL Championship) 0
Two goals in the opening 21 minutes helped Memphis 901 FC set the pace as it recorded an emphatic 4-0 win over 10-man Hartford Athletic in a confrontation of two USL Championships teams at Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis, Tenn. Hartford played the final 29 minutes with a man disadvantage after center back Sem De Wit was given his second yellow card of the match in the 61st minute. Forward Jochen Graf broke his duck with Memphis 901 FC, connecting for his first two goals of the season on either side of halftime. Captain Marc Burch converted a penalty kick in the sixth minute past goalkeeper Jacob Lissek to give Memphis all the scoring it needed. It was Burch’s third Open Cup goal. His first two came during D.C. United’s title run in 2008, against the Rochester Rhinos in the third round. Graf doubled the lead in the 21st minute, heading home Cam Lindley’s long free kick from eight yards. He added another in the 59th minute, scoring from close range off a right-wing feed for a three-goal advantage. Morgan Hackworth closed out the match by slotting home a rebound in the 83rd minute. Goalie Scott Levene earned the clean sheet. Memphis 901 FC outshot the visitors, 18-10, as the team placed 10 shots on target, compared to three for Hartford.
Nashville SC (USL Championship) 1, Charleston Battery 1 (USL Championship), 1-1, 0-3 PKs
Goalkeeper Phillip Breno made two saves and had some help from a friend in the shootout as the Charleston Battery defeated Nashville SC after playing to a 1-1 tie in 120 minutes of regulation and extra-time between two USL Championship sides at Dean A. Hayes Track & Soccer Stadium at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Breno dived to his left on Nashville’s first two spot-kicks, denying Liam Doyle and Matthew LaGrassa before Matshidiso Moloto banged his attempt off the crossbar. Bermuda international Zeiko Lewis, Leland Archer and Ian Svantesson (game-winner) converted their PKs against keeper Connor Sparrow. The teams traded goals in regulation. Nicque Daley, off a brilliant run from the edge of the center circle to the left of the penalty spot, scored to give the visiting side the lead in the 24th minute. Nashville, however, hit back in the 73rd minute with a Kharlton Belmar score to equalize at 1-1.
Austin Bold FC (USL Championship) 4, San Antonio FC (USL Championship) 2
Andre Lima scored twice, once in each half, to lead Austin Bold FC to a 4-2 win over San Antonio FC in a tussle between a pair of USL Championship teams at Bold Stadium in Del Valle, Texas. Austin secured a 3-0 lead before the visitors found the net. Team captain Kleber Giacomazzi boosted Austin to a 1-0 edge in the 10th minute as he headed a pass before he volleyed it home. A flurry of goals closed out the opening period. First, Lima’s penalty kick was saved by goalkeeper Jonathan Viscosi, who dove to his right. Sonny Guadarrama, however, banged home the rebound to double the score in the 39th minute. Four minutes later, Austin was celebrating again as Lima found himself open on the far left post and tapped in Guadarrama’s free kick. Barely a minute later, however, San Antonio FC got on the scoresheet via Walter Restrepo’s goal. Lima got his brace in the 62nd minute. After Viscosi saved his second PK of the game in the 90th minute, Jack Barmby closed out the scoring for San Antonio as he beat goalkeeper Diego Restrepo.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL Championship) 1, New Mexico United (USL Championship) 2
Three minutes from elimination, New Mexico United pulled off the escape trick of the Third Round. Chris Wehan equalized in the 87th minute to send the game into extra-time and Kevaughn Frater converted a penalty kick past goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez in the 95th minute as New Mexico registered a 2-1 win over the 10-man Colorado Springs Switchbacks at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs, Colo. Daniel Bruce was fouled in the box to set up what turned into the game-winning goal. Midfielder Rony Argueta was red carded, forcing the hosts to play the final 15 minutes of extra-time at a man disadvantage. Jordan Burt gave the Switchbacks a 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute, powering a 22-yard shot to the near left post past keeper Cody Mizell in a confrontation between two USL Championship teams.
Las Vegas Lights FC (USL Championship) 3, Orange County FC (NPSL) 5
In a game that had it all, amateurs Orange County FC prevailed in epic fashion after seemingly letting slip the opportunity to advance to the Fourth Round and a tie with Division I (Major League Soccer) opposition. Coached by former U.S. Men’s National Team legend Paul Caligiuri, who shocked the American soccer public in 1989 when his “shot heard round the world” sent the U.S. to the 1990 World Cup, Orange County pulled a smaller if not similar rabbit out of the hat against a Las Vegas Lights team helmed by Caligiuri’s former MNT teammate and Cupset specialist, Eric Wynalda. It was a shock start for the hosts at Cashman Field just off the strip in Sin City as OCFC grabbed a 2-0 lead inside the opening 20 minutes thanks to Cody Shelton’s sixth-minute strike and an own-goal from LV defender Mobi Fehr ten minutes later. The Lights shook off the early deficit and earned a penalty kick that Santiago Echavarria converted in the 23rd minute before Dakota Collins restored OCFC’s two-goal advantage in the 35th. Coming out of halftime down 3-1, LV grabbed a quick goal through Edwin Rivas in the 47th minute to draw within one. The teams played for nearly half an hour before the next momentous event, a straight red card issued to Christian Torres in the 74th minute. The dismissal had the Lights scrambling to create chances as the shadows grew long on their Open Cup fate. But Junior Sandoval’s 85th minute strike looked to have given Las Vegas the chance to fight another day. But Orange County would not be denied and an innocuous throw-in that made its way into the box led to the game-winning strike from Vegas native Blake Frischknecht in the 89th minute. OCFC then made sure they were on their way to the Fourth Round with a lightening counter-attack in the first minute of stoppage time that was tapped home by Oscar Flores.
Sacramento Republic FC (USL Championship) 0, Fresno FC (USL Championship) 0, 1-0 AET
With literally the last touch of the game after 121 minutes of scoreless soccer, Stefano Bonomo headed home the game winning goal that sent Sacramento Republic to a 1-0 win against fellow Californians Fresno FC and the Fourth Round of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. While Sacramento garnered the greater amount of possession in the first half, it was Fresno that looked more likely to break through, putting four of seven shots on target compared to the hosts who put all five attempts wide or over the goal. The second half brought something of a reversal, as Sacramento put more crosses into the box and shots on target, while Fresno could muster only one attempt on goal. Still the breakthrough would not come as both teams’ legs grew heavy in the extra-time period and the game became stretched. Just when the game looked destined for PKs, Sacramento’s 25th-minute cross paid off as Bonomo met Sam Werner’s lofted pass to the center of the box and headed home through traffic.