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FC Cincinnati, Miami FC, Sacramento Republic earn U.S. Open Cup upsets

CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – The Fourth Round of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup served up three “Cupsets” as USL’s FC Cincinnati and Sacramento Republic FC and NASL’s Miami FC moved on to join 13 Major League Soccer sides in the tournament’s Round of 16 scheduled to be played June 28.

Playing in front of a non-Final tournament record crowd of 30,160, FC Cincinnati utilized a 64th minute header from Djiby Fall to upset Ohio-based M.L.S. side Columbus Crew SC 1-0 at Nippert Stadium. To the south, NASL side Miami FC took advantage of a hat trick from Stefano Pinho to glide to a 3-1 road win at fellow Florida side Orlando City SC. Out west, Sacramento Republic FC ran out to a 4-1 home victory against Real Salt Lake to take the tournament’s remaining lower league representation to three clubs.

The Fourth Round was also highlighted by three all-M.L.S. matchups, which saw Seattle Sounders FC defeat their Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers 2-1 on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, New York Red Bulls edged New York City FC 1-0 in the Hudson River Derby, while Sporting KC used goals from four different players to take down M.L.S. expansion side Minnesota United FC 4-0 at Children’s Mercy Park.

The Fourth Round also marked the end of the Cinderella run for 2017 tournament darlings Christos FC on Tuesday night. The side named after a Baltimore-based liquor store was already the last remaining amateur team in the tournament and jumped out to a 1-0 lead against M.L.S. royalty D.C. United when Mamadou Kansaye ripped a free kick past goalkeeper Travis Worra. Though tied at 1-1 for much of the game, the part-timers finally succumbed as the M.L.S. side tallied three goals in the final 10 minutes to run out 4-1 winners. Christos FC’s inspiring run earned them followers around the country as well as a $15,000 cash prize awarded to the tournament’s furthest advancing Open Division team.

With the results, the four regions for Thursday’s Round of 16 Draw are as follows:

CENTRAL: Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Sporting Kansas City
EAST: D.C. United, Philadelphia Union, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls
SOUTH: Atlanta United FC, Chicago Fire, FC Cincinnati, Miami FC
WEST: LA Galaxy, Sacramento Republic, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC

The Draw to determine the Round of 16 Bracket as well as the potential hosting scenarios for the Quarterfinals will be held at Soccer House in Chicago on Thursday, June 15.

2017 LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP RECAPS

Tuesday, June 13

D.C. United (M.L.S.) 4, Christos FC (Md.) 1
Christos FC lost to D.C. United and was eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup. But that’s not what the players and supporters of the liquor store-based team will remember. Christos FC’s 15 minutes of fame turned into much more than that. Christos was featured in Sports Illustrated, the Washington Post, and SportsCenter, and even leveraged its Open Cup run into a new kit deal. They had previously worn bright green t-shirts and whatever black shorts their players had in their wardrobes. But on this day, the spiffy, all-green clad amateurs came to play with new kits on show. Christos even took a lead on the three-time Open Cup champions with Mamadou Kansaye’s 23rd-minute free-kick beauty . Julian Buescher scored for D.C. United but, Christos kept the match level into the 80th minute before the amateurs’ time in the sun had to come to end. Lloyd Sam, Buescher, and Ian Harkes all scored late goals for D.C., which won 4-1 and advanced to the Round of 16.

Colorado Rapids (M.L.S.) 3, OKC Energy FC (USL) 2
After receiving a first half gut punch, the Colorado Rapids fought back from 2-0 down, recording three goals in the second half, to claim a 3-2 win against OKC Energy and a place in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Round of 16. It took until 10 minutes before the break for either team to draw first blood and it was the visitors from Oklahoma who did via Daniel Gonzalez’s well taken shot that skipped over Colorado ‘keeper Zac MacMath and defender Eric Miller. Danish attacker Philip Rasmussen doubled the Greens’ lead in first half stoppage time, putting home a feed from Daniel Jackson, who also assisted on the opening goal. The second frame was all Colorado as Dominique Badji got the hosts back in the match just four minutes after the restart. Miller then tied matters with a well-taken volley at the back post after Alan Gordon flicked on a corner kick in the 66th minute. With the shadows growing long and extra time looming, Dennis Castillo gave the M.L.S. side the last-minute win with a beautiful snap header in the 89th minute; his first goal for the club.

Seattle Sounders FC (M.L.S.) 2, Portland Timbers (M.L.S.) 1
In one of North American soccer’s fiercest derbies, Seattle Sounders FC punched a ticket to the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 with a 2-1 win against the Portland Timbers. With both M.L.S. clubs fielding second string sides, the Sounders struck first as Aaron Kovar slipped in the back door to turn home Nouhou Tolo’s cross in the third minute to put the hosts up 1-0. Portland responded a half hour later via a Ben Zemanski corner kick that was headed toward goal by Rennico Clarke and then redirected by Augustine Williams, tying the match at 1-1 before half time. Both teams pushed the issue in the second half, spurning multiple chances with Zach Mathers’ 55th minute penalty kick goal proving the exception and eventually the match winner as Seattle dumped its bitter rival from the competition.

Wednesday, June 14:

FC Cincinnati (USL) 1, Columbus Crew SC (M.L.S.) 0
Cincinnati made history when it turned out in record numbers for a Fourth Round U.S. Open Cup clash against in-state big brothers Columbus Crew SC. While the crowd set a new U.S. Open Cup record for attendance at a non-final, the 30,160 fans who packed Nippert Stadium were sent home happy after a determined effort from Djiby Fall in the 64th minute gave the underdogs the Ohio Derby victory. Djiby’s strike, his ninth of the season, came on a second-effort header after his first was blocked. Columbus got off 14 more shots than Cincinnati but were unable to find the breakthrough. “Tonight was an event for our city,” FC Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch said postgame. “I’m ecstatic for everybody: I’m ecstatic for our players, I’m ecstatic for our amazing fans. It’s awesome!”

New England Revolution (M.L.S.) 3, Rochester Rhinos (USL) 0
2016 Open Cup runners up New England Revolution earned an emphatic 3-0 win against Rochester Rhinos, the last non-M.L.S. club to win the competition. New England was quick to capitalize on a pair of yellow cards to Joe Farrell with Teal Bunbury converting a penalty in the 44th minute, despite Rhinos goalkeeper Tomas Gomez’ best effort. The Revs added goals in the 50th and 51st minute, first on a line-drive header by Donnie Smith. Seconds after, Zachary Herivaux capitalized on a second of substandard defending by cleaning up a rebound in his season debut. The Revolution continued to own possession with the man advantage, allowing the Rhinos their first corner a whopping 69 minutes into the match. With the win, New England advances to the Round of 16 for the fourth time in five years.

Philadelphia Union (M.L.S.) 3, Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) 1
After the early going was devoid of chances, the Philadelphia Union broke through in the 18th minute. A build-up down the right flank between Keegan Rosenberry, Marcus Epps and Jay Simpson led to the latter laying a ball back to U.S. youth international Derrick Jones. The Union midfielder took a first-time hit from 25 yards that took a bounce before sneaking inside the right post to give the Union a 1-0 lead. Philadelphia doubled the advantage in the 33rd minute when Roland Alberg intercepted a pass in midfield and quickly pushed towards goal. The Dutchman laid off for Simpson at the top of the box, who danced around the area before finding C.J. Sapong on the right, where the forward swung his effort past Harrisburg goalkeeper Sean Lewis and inside the left post.

Perhaps the Union felt too confident after their first-half double, as Harrisburg pulled themselves back into the game with a well-worked team goal just before halftime. Winning the ball at the back, Shawn McLaws drove his side forward before playing a dangerous ball into the box for Paul Wilson. Entering the area on the right, Wilson quickly centered for Jonathan Mendoza, who smashed his effort past Jon McCarthy in the 37th minute. Harrisburg’s comeback was short-lived though as Philadelphia restored its two-goal lead two minutes into the second half. Haris Medunjanin played a nice through ball up the right for Marcus Epps who used his speed to outpace his marker, cut inside the box and slot past Lewis, icing the game in the process. With the victory, Philadelphia extends its winning streak in their opening match of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup to six games, dating back to 2012.

North Carolina FC (NASL) 2, Houston Dynamo (M.L.S.) 3 (a.e.t.)
In a match marked by offensive fireworks and some incredible goalkeeping, Houston Dynamo emerged victorious with a 3-2 extra time victory to claim a hard-won place in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Round of 16. NCFC defender Steven Miller got proceedings off to a thunderous start with a left-footed missile that found the upper right corner in the fourth minute. Houston struck back through Andrew Wenger’s sliding effort in the 25th minute before taking the lead in the second half via defender Dylan Remick’s excellent individual effort to strip an NCFC center back and slot home a cool finish from the middle of the penalty area in the 62nd. The visitors’ lead last only six minutes before Lance Laing struck another beauty for NCFC. From a free kick 25 yards out, Laing curled a dipping, left footer over the Dynamo wall and beneath a diving Joe Willis to knot the score at 2-2. With just three minutes remaining in regulation, weather forced the teams into the locker room for an hour and a half delay. The sides traded chances throughout the extra half hour, but it was Jose Rodriguez’s first career goal for the Dynamo in the 109th minute that ultimately separated the evenly matched sides.

Atlanta United FC (M.L.S.) 3, Charleston Battery (USL) 2
Atlanta United overcame a multitude of obstacles to earn its first Open Cup victory as an M.L.S. club with a 3-2 comeback win against the Charleston Battery. The first was a two hour and 40-minute weather delay prior to kickoff, followed by a Charleston goal three minutes in thanks to a Forrest Lasso header at the end of a long throw in by O’Brian Woodbine. Kevin Kratz provided Atlanta a short-lived burst of momentum in 30th minute when he settled a rebound and blasted a shot past the ‘keeper, but the Battery were quick to counter. Charleston regained the lead 30 seconds later on a driven left-footed shot by Dante Marini, which deflected off Miles Robinson’s foot, who made his Atlanta debut after starting the year on loan with the Battery. United caught a huge break just shy of the half when Woodbine skied a penalty over the bar, keeping Atlanta within striking distance at the break. The expansion side came out strong in the second half, first with a 48th minute header from Josef Martinez, assisted by U.S. youth international Brandon Vázquez, who went on to score a goal of his own in the 72nd minute. Vazquez received a perfect pass across the face of goal from former U.S. Youth National Teamer Mikey Ambrose before emphatically tapping in the game-winning goal.

Orlando City SC (M.L.S.) 1, Miami FC (NASL) 3
In an impressive display, NASL league leaders Miami FC traveled north to down Sunshine State rival Orlando City SC 3-1 and secure a spot in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Round of 16. Stefano Pinho’s hat trick powered the visitors to a 3-0 lead with his first two goals coming in a six-minute span midway through the opening frame. Pinho bagged his first by converting a Michael Lahoud cross in the 30th minute before heading home a Hunter Freeman cross six minutes later to send Miami FC into the break up 2-0. Pinho then capped off his three-goal performance 10 minutes into the second half. Although Orlando brought on Brazil World Cup-winner Kaka to try and alter the outcome with half an hour remaining, the Lions could only manage a consolation strike from Giles Barnes in the 79th minute.

New York Red Bulls (M.L.S.) 1, New York City FC (M.L.S.) 0
The Big Apple’s two M.L.S. sides brought their fierce rivalry to the U.S. Open Cup stage and did not disappoint. Scoreless after the first half, Daniel Royer of Red Bulls finally delivered the goods for the home team on a beautiful 66th-minute volley. The ball popped into the air and to the feet of Royer after New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson saved the initial danger. The Red Bulls advance to the Round of 16, where their run came to an end last year in a 2-1 defeat to the Philadelphia Union.

Saint Louis FC (USL) 0, Chicago Fire (M.L.S.) 1
A high-flying Chicago Fire side recovered from a nervy, early start and began to take over the game against their former USL affiliate Saint Louis FC. The Fire came close in the 14th minute when Brazilian midfielder Juninho clanged his free kick attempt from 25 yards off the left post. That goal itself would have been worthy of the highlight reel, but the Fire’s opening marker 13 minutes laterwould make up for it. After a spell of possession, Brandon Vincent crossed for Luis Solignac and with his back towards the Saint Louis goal, the Argentine flicked on an effort with his heel that curled over the back line and inside the top right corner. Saint Louis continued to keep things tight and saw their best chance of the match come when Christian Volesky’s rocket from the top of the area beat Chicago Fire goalkeeper Matt Lampson only to careen off the cross bar in the 76th minute. Despite that chance, Saint Louis FC’s comeback bid took a death blow five minutes later when captain Dragan Stojkov received a second yellow, forcing the lower-league side to play down a man the remainder of the match and ensuring the Fire their fifth-straight victory in a U.S. Open Cup opener, dating back to 2013.

FC Dallas (M.L.S.) 2, Tulsa Roughnecks FC (USL) 1
The underdogs from Tulsa showed plenty of a fight and resiliency in battling back to level in the second half before falling on a stoppage-time heartbreaker. Coy Craft, who helped the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team to a CONCACAF Championship title earlier this year, opened the scoring in the 31st minute for FC Dallas. Kosuke Kimura responded for the Roughnecks in the 59th minute after stealing possession deep in the final third. Kimura shrugged off two defenders while firing the shot. The upset bid, however, fell just shy when a Michael Barrios strike in stoppage time deflected off of Modou Jadama and into the back of Tulsa’s net for an own goal. FC Dallas, the reigning champs, move on to the last 16.

Sporting Kansas City (M.L.S.) 4, Minnesota United FC (M.L.S.) 0
2015 U.S. Open Cup champs, Sporting Kansas City disposed of Minnesota United with a dominant 4-0 win in the Fourth Round of the Open Cup, halting the Loons’ Open Cup campaign for the third time in four years. Sporting KC’s goals came in bunches, first over a span of two minutes at the end of the first half. Ike Opara headed U.S. MNT defender Graham Zusi’s corner past a charging Patrick McLain in the 43rd minute. Just a few ticks later, Gerso Fernandes tallied an unassisted goal when he calmly converted on a rebound. Dom Dwyer furthered the lead with a left-footed finish in the 72nd minute, followed by a nifty Daniel Salloi marker in the 83rd minute.

LA Galaxy (M.L.S.), Orange County SC (USL)
Looking to build off their run to the 2016 Semifinals, the LA Galaxy got on the board in the 17th minute when Nathan Smith laid off for Jose Villarreal, before the attacker blasted a rocket from 30 yards that slipped inside the top right corner. Orange County SC was not deterred, striking back nine minutes later when Amirgy Pineda’s low corner kick to the top of the box found Roy Meeus, who sent a blistering effort past Jonathan Kempin in the 26th minute. Just as the USL side worked its way back into the match, Orange County’s Saloman Wbias was whistled for a foul in the box, leading to Jack McBean restoring the Galaxy advantage when he slotted his penalty to the lower, right corner in the 36th minute. Orange County SC hung tough for much of the second half, but fell behind by two goals when Ariel Lassiter tucked home a 73rd minute finish. Orange County pressed late on, but Kempin turned away a number of quality opportunities to ensure the Galaxy a place in the Round of 16

San Jose Earthquakes (M.L.S.) 2, San Francisco Delta (NASL) 0
San Jose Earthquakes wasted no time getting their noses in front of their Bay Area opposition, seeing off the San Francisco Deltas 2-0 with both goals coming in the opening six minutes. U.S. youth international Jackson Yueill started the goal party with an ill finish, volleying home a low shot from the top of the box into the lower right-hand corner to notch his first professional goal in just the fourth minute. Two minutes and 38 seconds later, Cordell Cato put home his own rebound after a flowing move from the Earthquakes set up his initial shot. The win sends San Jose to the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 for the third time in the last four years.

Sacramento Republic FC (USL) 4, Real Salt Lake (M.L.S.) 1
Sacramento Republic FC notched one of the most significant wins in franchise history with a 4-1 victory against M.L.S.’s Real Salt Lake. Republic FC dominated early and often before Trevin Caesar broke the seal in the 29th minute with his second goal of the competition. Danny Barrera, who was part of Cal FC’s historic 2012 upset against the Portland Timbers, did well to head a cross from the goal line to Caesar at the top of the six-yard box for a right-footed volley to finish the play. Six minutes later, Ricardo Velazco created space to score from the top of the box for RSL’s lone tally of the game, marking the first goal conceded by the USL side in the competition. Sacramento restored its lead in the 43rd minute when Agustin Cazarez used his head to redirect Barrera’s cross, then recorded an insurance goal on a successful spot kick in stoppage time from Jeremy Hall. Just as Salt Lake began to build possession, Barrera earned a goal of his own, finding himself in the perfect place to finish a James Kiffe cross in the 72nd minute to finish off the Cupset.