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MLS Jul 11, 2019

Four MLS clubs advance to Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinals

CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – The final four teams standing in the 106 th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer’s National Championship, earned their tickets to the Semifinal Round on Wednesday night as Division I clubs Atlanta United, Orlando City SC, Minnesota United FC and Portland Timbers all advanced to the penultimate stage of the competition.

The last pair of lower division sides were eliminated with Saint Louis FC (USL Championship) collecting the $25K prize awarded to the team from each lower division to advance farthest in the tournament. SLFC won the prize ahead of first-year club New Mexico United (USL Championship) with two wins in regulation vs. Division I sides, while New Mexico had one win and a draw vs. Major League Soccer opposition in regulation time.

Saint Louis was defeated by reining MLS Cup holders Atlanta United 2-0, while tournament Cinderella New Mexico took a 6-1 beating from high-flying Minnesota United. Orlando won the only match of the night to need more that 90 minutes, ultimately seeing off New York City FC 5-4 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in regulation persisted through overtime. Finally, Portland outdueled Los Angeles FC 1-0 in a feisty rematch of last year’s West Region Quarterfinal.

The Semifinals will feature three teams in Atlanta, Minnesota and Orlando that have reached that stage of the tournament for the first time in their histories. Portland is the only remaining club with Semifinal experience, which it gained in the 2013 edition of the Cup.

A draw to determine the Semifinal hosts and the priority order for hosting the Final will take place on July 11 at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Twitter @opencup and usopencup.com. The Semifinals are scheduled to take place on Aug. 7 and the Final on Aug. 27 or 28. Fans can watch every game of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup on ESPN+.

2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal Schedule Possibilities

Date Game (home team listed first) Time Venue
Aug. 6-7 Orlando City SC (MLS) vs. Atlanta United FC (MLS) 7:30 p.m. ET Exploria Stadium; Orlando, Fla.
-or-
Aug. 6-7 Atlanta United FC (MLS) vs. Orlando City SC (MLS) 7:30 p.m. ET Mercedes-Benz Stadium; Atlanta, Ga.
Aug. 7# Minnesota United FC (MLS) vs. Portland Timbers (MLS) 7 p.m. CT Allianz Field; St. Paul, Minn.
-or-
Aug. 7# Portland Timbers (MLS) vs. Minnesota United FC (MLS) 8 p.m. PT Providence Park; Portland, Ore.

# Date determined as a result of at least one team scheduled for a league game Aug. 4

Orlando City SC (MLS) 1, New York City FC (MLS) 1, 1-1 (5-4 PKs) 
For the first time in club history, Orlando City SC advanced to the Semifinal round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, prevailing against New York City FC on penalty kicks 5-4 after 120 minutes of soccer resulted in a 1-1 draw. The Lions’ first trip to the final four will see them take on regional rival Atlanta United, who defeated underdogs Saint Louis FC 2-0.

One of the heroes of Orlando’s Round of 16 win over New England Revolution was goalkeeper Adam Grinwis, and he had to step up again in the first half of the Quarterfinal. He denied NYCFC their best chance of a scoreless period when he stretched to deny Maxime Chanot from a corner kick.

The home side got the opener just past the hour mark as Nani’s run down the left led to a cross that found the head of Chris Mueller, who put it across the goal and out of the reach of NYCFC’s Brad Stuver to make it 1-0.

Orlando City were almost to the final whistle but in the sixth minute of second half stoppage time, a NYCFC long-ball pinballed around the box to the feet of Maxi Moralez. His shot was blocked by Robin Jansson, deflecting the ball out of Grinwis’ reach to knot it up and send the match to extra time.

The best chances of extra time fell to the visitors from New York City. Grinwis was forced into action twice in as many minutes, as Anton Tinnerholm’s 110th minute shot was cradled with ease. Grinwis was called into more dramatic action in the 111th minute as Valentin Castellanos went for the upper corner only for the keeper to get a hand up to deny him.

During penalty kicks, NYCFC were immediately put under pressure in the first round, as Grinwis went to his right to deny Alex Ring and give Orlando City the advantage. Stuver evened things back up for the visitors as he was able to stop Dom Dwyer’s third-round effort. The teams made it through five rounds even at 4-4 to move to sudden death. Orlando City’s Oriol Rosell made his chance to put the pressure on Chanot. That’s when Grinwis came up big again with a one-handed stop to his right to ensure the Lions’ spot in the Semifinal.

Atlanta United FC (MLS) 2, Saint Louis FC (USLC) 0
Atlanta United FC became the first team to advance to the Semifinals of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night with a 2-0 win against Division II Saint Louis FC at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia. Atlanta United advance to the Semifinal round for the first time in club history, where they will take on Orlando City SC.

Defending MLS champions, the Five Stripes piled on the pressure early, but Saint Louis was able to hold strong and keep the home side off the scoreboard. Atlanta finally got on the board early in the second half and rode that lead before converting a late penalty to give themselves some breathing room.

It was all Atlanta United in the first half, as Saint Louis FC goalkeeper Tomas Gomez was called into action multiple times to keep Josef and Pity Martinez (no relation) off the board. In the 37th minute, the visitors got their best chance of the opening 45, as a corner kick saw Sam Fink get open at the near post, but his header hit the outside of Brad Guzan and Atlanta United’s post to keep the scores level.

Atlanta United got right to work in the second half, as some strong pressing from Emerson Hyndman resulted in a Saint Louis turnover, which he handed off to Pity, who finished into the upper corner past Gomez to get the home team on the board 1-0 in the 52nd minute. Gomez did well to keep the score at 1-0 with a strong save on an outside-the-box shot from Eric Remedi.

The counterattack opened up in the closing minutes, allowing Atlanta United more chances. Substitute Dion Pereira got one-on-one with Saint Louis’ Sean Reynolds, who took down the attacker in the box to give the home side a penalty in the final minutes. Josef made no mistake, sending the ball into the top left corner to give the Five Stripes a second and Atlanta United their passage to the Semifinal.

Minnesota United FC (MLS) 6, New Mexico United (USLC) 1
Minnesota United FC put an end to the magical 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run of Division II New Mexico United with a commanding 6-1 victory Wednesday night at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The victory means the Loons advance to the Semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup for the first time in club history and will play the Portland Timbers (who beat LAFC in the night’s last Quarterfinal).

The visitors from Albuquerque made sure there would be some drama early, silencing the Allianz Field crowd. In the sixth minute, NMU’s Chris Wehan took a short corner and on the return found an open Santi Moar at the top of the 18-yard box. Moar made no mistake, one-timing the shot inside Vito Mannone’s far post to put the road side ahead.

Minnesota United responded within five minutes as Angelo Rodriguez got his first of the night via a header from eight yards out to knot the score at 1-1. Six minutes after that, MUFC were ahead as Rodriguez’s shot was parried by New Mexico goalkeeper Cody Mizell, with Darwin Quintero waiting to smash home the rebound to make it 2-1. Two minutes later Rodriguez got his second of the evening, smoothly finding the bottom corner from the top of the box to make it 3-1 Loons.

The home team kept piling on the goals, as Jan Gregus’s free kick on the edge of the box was precisely converted, beating Mizell at the bottom corner of the far post to make it 4-1 MUFC in the 23rd minute. Rodriguez completed his hat-trick on the stroke of halftime, converting off a blocked Quintero shot to make it 5-1.

The Loons added a sixth goal in the second half, as a 62nd minute counterattack saw Kevin Molino’s shot saved by Mizell, but right into the path of Miguel Ibarra who rounded the laid out ‘keeper to put away the final goal of the match for the 6-1 score line.

Los Angeles FC (MLS) 0, Portland Timbers (MLS) 1
For the first time since 2013, the Portland Timbers advanced to the Semifinal Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Jeremy Ebobisse’s 84th minute goal was the difference in a 1-0 win for Portland over Los Angeles FC Wednesday night at Banc of California Stadium.

The Timbers will play in the 2019 U.S. Open Cup Semifinal on Aug. 7, where they will face Minnesota United FC, who advanced earlier Wednesday night with a 6-1 win against underdogs New Mexico United.

LAFC dominated the ball early but could not turn the possession into chances on goal. It was the visiting Timbers who came up with the two best chances of the first half within minutes of each other from center back Larrys Mabiala.

The first, in the 31st minute, saw Mabiala pick up an attempted clearance from 10 yards out, but his shot was tame enough for Pablo Sisniega to stretch out of the air. The 32nd minute saw Mabiala deftly move to lose his marker for a powerful header from eight yards out, but Sisniega was up to the challenge again and tipped it over the bar.

The theme continued into the second half, with the home side controlling possession, but the visiting Timbers creating the better chances on goal. In the 71st minute, Jorge Moreira’s interception in the Portland box set the visitors on a 3-on-2 counterattack, which found its way to Brian Fernandez, whose shot was chased down by Jordan Harvey and blocked out of play.

The Portland breakthrough came through Fernandez’s run down the right, which was initially shutdown by Harvey. However, the LAFC man’s clearance went right to the feet of Ebobisse, who was 1-on-1 with Sisniega, and he clipped the ball over the home goalkeeper into the far side netting for the game winner.

2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal Round Results

Date Game (home team listed first) Result Venue
July 10 Orlando City SC (MLS) vs. New York City FC (MLS) 1-1, 1-1 (5-4 PKs) Exploria Stadium; Orlando, Fla.
July 10 Atlanta United FC (MLS) vs. Saint Louis FC (USLC) 2-0 Fifth Third Bank Stadium (Kennesaw State Univ.); Kennesaw, Ga.
July 10 Minnesota United FC (MLS) vs. New Mexico United (USLC) 6-1 Allianz Field; St. Paul, Minn.
July 10 Los Angeles FC (MLS) vs. Portland Timbers (MLS) 0-1 Banc of California Stadium; Los Angeles, Calif.