The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 offered nearly the full range of soccer drama on Wednesday night as teams scored blowouts, narrow victories, comebacks, wins in OT and on penalty kicks.
Everything but a cupset was dealt.
The highest drama unfolded in Nashville where reigning Open Cup champs Atlanta United ran out to a 2-0 lead over the hosts before the home side fought back for a last-gasp equalizer and an eventual 3-2 win in overtime. Newly crowned Concacaf Champions League winners Seattle Sounders nearly replicated Nashville’s feat, fighting back from a two-goal deficit to take their game against San Jose all the way to penalties before the Quakes prevailed 10-9 with goalkeeper Matt Bersano playing the hero by saving Seattle’s final attempt and making his own to send his side through.
The New England Revolution also recorded a comeback against FC Cincinnati but left the drama out of it, running away in the second half to record a 5-1 win. Similarly, Charlotte FC began the night with a 5-1 road drubbing of Div. III Richmond Kickers.
Lower division sides weren’t without victories on the night. Division III Union Omaha defeated fellow USL League One club Northern Colorado Hailstorm 2-0, while Sacramento Republic FC fought past USL Championship (Div. II) brethren Phoenix Rising by the same scoreline.
MLS heavyweights New York City FC and LA Galaxy both faced Division III sides during the night’s action. Where the Citizens outlasted Rochester New York FC to earn a comfortable 3-1 win, the Galaxy were made to sweat by NISA’s California United Strikers, falling behind 1-0 and conceding late in a sweaty 3-2 victory.
Lastly, Minnesota United and the Colorado Rapids saw their match, which was tied 1-1 in the 17th minute, postponed due to torrential rain in St. Paul, Minn. The match will resume from the same point at which it was postponed until Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.
On the first match-night, six teams advanced to the Round of 16. Five winners came from Div. I (MLS): Inter Miami CF, Los Angeles FC, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC, and Sporting Kansas City. Div. II (USL Championship) club Louisville City FC also advanced Tuesday.
The Round of 16 will feature 13 clubs from Division I (MLS), two from Division II (USL Championship) and one from Division III (USL League One).
The Open Cup moved on to the Round of 16 Draw on Thursday, May 12.
For the Draw, teams were pooled geographically into groups of four and a random selection will determine the pairings within each group. Instances where a logical geographic fit doesn’t exist in determining the groups will be resolved by random selection.
The Round of 16 is scheduled to be played on May 24-25.
ROUND OF 32 RECAPS
Richmond Kickers (USL League One) 1, Charlotte FC (MLS) 5
Yordy Reyna scored the go-ahead goal and set up three others and McKinze Gaines tallied twice in the second half to pace Charlotte FC at City Stadium in Richmond, Va. The visitors drew first blood in the 34th minute. Danny Rios’ header was denied by goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald with a two-handed save as the ball went to Reyna. The Peruvian fed an unmarked Rios, who tapped the ball home from point-blank range. The hosts equalized in the 53rd minute as Zacarias Moran drilled a shot from the top of the box that deflected off a defender and past CFC ‘keeper George Marks. Only a minute later, however, Reyna lifted Charlotte into the lead on a scoring sequence that was started with an interception in the attacking third. Christian Ortiz found Reyna, who beat Fitzgerald from four yards on the left side. Reyna turned playmaker, feeding Gaines from the left wing for a 3-1 advantage in the 58th and again for a 61st-minute score. Andre Shinyashiki closed out the scoring in the 86th minute.
New York City FC (MLS) 3, Rochester New York FC (MLS NEXT Pro) 1
Thiago Andrade, Heber and Maxime Chanot found the net for the defending MLS Cup champions at Belson Stadium at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. Andrade boosted the hosts into a 23rd-minute lead with a wonderful volley off a pin-point, right-wing cross by Gabriel Pereira that sailed over goalkeeper Philip Ejimadu’s head. Heber doubled the margin in the 31st minute. After Gustavo Rissi sent the ball back to Ejimadu, Heber rushed in, stripping the Rochester ‘keeper of the ball to tally a gift goal for a 2-0 advantage. Three minutes into first-half injury time, Rochester sliced the lead in half on a sequence that began off a throw-in as Jesus Batiz beat goalie Luis Barraza from four yards. Chanot gave City some breathing room in the 76th minute, heading home Santiago Rodriguez’s corner kick. Ejimadu saved Gedion Zelalem’s 90th-minute penalty kick before Pereira was given his marching orders for his second yellow card a minute into second-half stoppage time. Rochester’s Preston Popp was awarded a straight red card six minutes into injury time. This was the second time Rochester lost to an NYCFC side as it dropped a 3-2 decision to NYCFC II in MLS NEXT Pro action on April 23. As the Rochester Rhinos in 1999, RNY FC is the last non-MLS team to win the Open Cup.
New England Revolution (MLS) 5, FC Cincinnati (MLS) 1
New England, the 2007 Open Cup winner and the MLS Supporters’ Shield holder, got an early scare from Cincinnati despite the visitors fielding a near fully-rotated squad. Winger Alvaro Barreal got the Revs’ attention with a surprising 12th-minute strike to take the lead in Gillette Stadium — but Cincy’s good vibes in Foxborough didn’t last long. Coach Bruce Arena’s side dominated the match from then on as the Revs cruised onto their eighth straight Open Cup Round of 16. Reigning MLS MVP Carles Gil netted twice in four minutes (one from a penalty, one from open play) before halftime, then emphatically got his hat-trick with a stellar one-timer past ‘keeper Kenneth Vermeer in the 53rd minute, fed via one of winger Brandon Bye’s two assists on the night. Striker Adam Buksa added in a brace for good measure as New England controlled the game’s possession battle (58.4%-41.6%) and allowed few threatening chances after the first 25 minutes. Arena hasn’t won an Open Cup as a manager since snatching the 1996 title with D.C. United, but has a second cup in his sights this year.
Nashville SC (MLS) 2, Atlanta United FC (MLS) 2, 3-2 AET
Only minutes from elimination, Nashville SC capped a memorable and dramatic second-half comeback with C.J. Sapong’s stoppage-time score before Ethan Zuback connected in extratime against the defending Open Cup champions at GEODIS Park in Nashville, Tenn. Sapong equalized two minutes into second-half injury time on a six-yard header from a Tah Anunga feed. In the 93rd minute, Zubak latched onto a Hany Mukhtar pass, raced in on goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, stumbled a bit, regained his balance and slotted the ball home from the left side for the game-winner. Atlanta owned the first half. Thiago Almada converted a short pass from the left side by Andrew Gutman past Nashville ‘keeper Joe Willis to boost the visitors into the lead in the 13th minute. Luiz Araújo made it 2-0 in the 29th minute, slipping the ball over a defender before firing it into the net. After Atlanta’s Alan Franco took down Ake Arnaud Loba in the box, Mukhtar converted the ensuing penalty kick, striking his attempt to the right of Shuttleworth in the 50th minute to make it 2-1. In the 79th minute, it appeared that U.S. Men’s National Team center back Walker Zimmerman had leveled the match for Nashville with a six-yard header off a free kick. However, the goal was called back for a foul. There is no Video Assistant Referee in the Open Cup.
Minnesota United (MLS) 1, Colorado Rapids (MLS) 1 (postponed in 19th minute)
Lightning struck early and often on the pitch in Minnesota — that is, until lightning actually struck. For the less than 20 minutes of play the crowd in attendance got before a waterlogged Allianz Field forced the match to be postponed, there was at least plenty of action within it. Minnesota forward Abu Danladi struck first in the eighth minute, tapping in a low cross from close range for his second goal with the club. The Loons’ joy was short-lived, however, as seven minutes later, Nicolas Mezquida equalized for Colorado after pouncing on a ricocheted follow-up from a blocked free kick. Those were the only two shots on-target on the night before storms arrived to the area, turning the pitch into a swamp. The game was officially postponed due to the weather conditions and will resume from where it left off at 1-1 in the 18th minute on Thursday at 1 p.m. CT.
Union Omaha (USL League One) 2, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC (USL League One) 0
Noe Meza and Connor Doyle tallied second-half goals against the USL League One compatriots as Union Omaha became the lone Div. III team to reach the Round of 16 at Al F. Caniglia Field on the University of Nebraska in Omaha, Neb. In contrast to its shootout upset of the Chicago Fire in the previous round, there was no need for 11th-hour heroics in this encounter. Meza gave the hosts all the scoring they needed in the 47th minute, drilling a shot from the top of the penalty area that Hailstorm goalkeeper Thomas Olsen got a hand on but could not stop. Doyle, the team captain, finished a neat passing combination, the last pass from Joseph Brito, as he recorded his first goal of the year from four yards in the 58th minute. Omaha goalkeeper Rashid Nuhu, one of the heroes of the Fire cupset, earned the clean sheet. The teams will meet in league action for the first time in Omaha on May 28.
Houston Dynamo (MLS) 1, San Antonio FC (USL Championship) 0
Despite having met just once prior, there was no love lost between the two Lone Star State clubs as plenty of tension on the pitch resulted in several yellow cards between Houston Dynamo and San Antonio FC. Nonetheless, the match’s pace was relatively slow and methodical throughout — until it opened up and got lively around the hour mark. Up-and-down play made itself known throughout the final half-hour, with each team getting their share of shots on-target and threatening moments. However, it was the host Dynamo that broke the deadlock, with Paraguayan international Sebastian Ferreira heading in a Sam Junqua ball from close range in the 82nd minute. Houston held on to advance to the Round of 16, but it didn’t come without controversy. San Antonio whipped a ball into the Houston box several minutes after the goal that appeared on replay to careen off a Dynamo player’s arm. San Antonio’s appeals for handball went unheard as the no-call stood, leaving Houston as the final Texan team remaining in this year’s Open Cup field.
Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) 2, San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 2 (9-10 PKs)
Goalkeeper Matt Bersano saved a penalty kick and converted one of his own on the final shot of the shootout to lift the Earthquakes over newly crowned Concacaf Champions League winners Seattle Sounders in the rain at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash. Bersano saved Stefan Cleveland’s attempt on Seattle’s 11th and final attempt in the marathon shootout, won by San Jose. The ‘keeper then stepped up to drill his attempt into the left side for the 10-9 PK win. The Quakes spoiled the Sounders’ second-half comeback. The visitors struck first in the 10th minute after Seattle’s Abdoulaye Cissoko pulled down Benjamin Kikanovic in the box. Jack Skahan converted the penalty kick to the lower right corner past Cleveland for his second Open Cup goal in as many matches. Bersano kept the Sounders off the board with two saves in a minute in first-half injury time. Five minutes into the second half, the Quakes doubled their lead as Cade Cowell took advantage of space on the right side before scoring from six yards. Jimmy Medranda pulled one back as he ripped a free kick to the near right post that Bersano got a hand on but could not stop in the 54th minute. The Sounders knotted it up at 2-2 in the 77th minute as Fredy Montero headed in Kelyn Rowe’s right-wing cross at the back post. It was Montero’s eighth Open Cup goal. Ten yellow cards were handed out, five to each team.
Sacramento Republic FC (USL Championship) 2, Phoenix Rising FC (USL Championship) 0
Phoenix had history on its mind as one of the USL Championship’s most successful teams just needed to beat a Western Conference rival to advance to the Open Cup’s Round of 16 for the first time. But Sacramento had none of it, moving to 10 games unbeaten in all competitions at Heart Health Park this season and onto the Round of 16 for the third time in team history. Luis Felipe Fernandez found the bottom-left corner in the 30th minute to put Sacramento up, but the match’s defining moment came when Republic goalkeeper Danny Vitiello saved both a Greg Hurst penalty and a follow-up attempt that would’ve leveled the score in the 42nd minute. Sacramento held on for the clean sheet despite 22 shots during the game from the Rising, and were able to seal the deal for good in the 88th minute when Douglas Martinez headed in Emil Cuello’s corner.
Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) 3, California United Strikers (NISA) 2
NISA’s lone remaining team in the Open Cup, the Strikers had the rare opportunity of hosting not just a five-time MLS Cup champion, but also a local rival located roughly 45 minutes north on Interstate 5 from Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine. Early on, Cal United ensured that it wasn’t trying to let a potentially historic night go to waste. The Strikers broke through and took a shocking lead through a Shinya Kadono goal in the 19th minute, officially putting Galaxy on cupset watch. Los Angeles forward Dejan Joveljic converted a penalty just before halftime to calm nerves, though the Galaxy couldn’t take a lead until left back Owen Lambe scored with a first-time finish on his first-team debut in the 80th minute. Joveljic scored from the penalty spot again minutes later, and though the Strikers’ Kevin Garcia-Lopez made it interesting with an 88th-minute goal, the Galaxy marched one step closer to its first Open Cup final since 2005.
ROUND OF 32 RESULTS
TUESDAY, MAY 10
|Result||Game (home team listed first)||Venue|
|2-1||Orlando City SC (MLS) vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS)||Exploria Stadium; Orlando, Fla.|
|0-3||D.C. United (MLS) vs. New York Red Bulls (MLS)||Audi Field; Washington, D.C.|
|1-1, 1-1, 2-4 PKs||Detroit City FC (USLC) vs. Louisville City FC (USLC)||Keyworth Stadium; Hamtramck, Mich.|
|3-1||Inter Miami CF (MLS) vs. South Georgia Tormenta FC (USLL1)||DRV PNK Stadium; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.|
|4-2 AET||Sporting Kansas City (MLS) vs. FC Dallas (MLS)||Children’s Mercy Park; Kansas City, Kan.|
|2-0||Los Angeles Football Club (MLS) vs. Portland Timbers (MLS)||Banc of California Stadium; Los Angeles, Calif.|
WEDNESDAY, MAY 11
|Result||Game (home team listed first)||Venue|
|1-5||Richmond Kickers (USLL1) vs. Charlotte Football Club (MLS)||City Stadium; Richmond, Va.|
|3-1||New York City FC (MLS) vs. Rochester New York FC (MLSNP)||Belson Stadium (St. John’s Univ.); Jamaica, N.Y.|
|5-1||New England Revolution (MLS) vs. FC Cincinnati (MLS)||Gillette Stadium; Foxborough, Mass.|
|2-2, 3-2 AET||Nashville SC (MLS) vs. Atlanta United FC (MLS)||GEODIS Park; Nashville, Tenn.|
|2-1||Minnesota United FC (MLS) vs. Colorado Rapids (MLS)||Allianz Field; St. Paul, Minn.|
|2-0||Union Omaha (USLL1) vs. Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC (USLL1)||Al F. Caniglia Field (Univ. of Nebraska Omaha)|
|1-0||Houston Dynamo FC (MLS) vs. San Antonio FC (USLC)||PNC Stadium; Houston, Texas|
|2-2, 2-2, 10-9 PKs||Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)||Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.|
|2-0||Sacramento Republic FC (USLC) vs. Phoenix Rising FC (USLC)||Heart Health Park; Sacramento, Calif.|
|2-3||California United Strikers FC (NISA) vs. LA Galaxy (MLS)||Orange County Great Park – Championship Soccer Stadium; Irvine, Calif.|