The first of two nights in the 2011 US Open Cup Quarterfinals was a night in which we saw three different kinds of coach reactions of note. The final match Wednesday evening was yet another Sounders-fest as the two-time defending champions cruised to another win.
First there was the complete disregard for the event with the Red Bulls sending one first team player, 13 reserves and second-level assistant coach to Chicago. Not surprisingly, it was an easy victory for the Fire, who took the match seriously.
Then there were a pair of coaches who were vocal in the lead up that they wanted to win and perhaps even more vocal in defeat. Reports indicate both Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City coaches reprimanded their star-laden squads after lackluster performances in losses. RSL fell yet again in Dallas after winning at home against the same team over the weekend. Kansas City suffered its first-ever loss in the new stadium, which ended a 12-game unbeaten streak in all competitions.
And finally, there was the genius of Richmond Kickers manager Leigh Cowlishaw. A stunning starting lineup for the last remaining lower division side saw the two stars David Bulow and Matthew Delicate start on the bench. The surprising tactic, though mostly out of need to rest the pair, proved brilliant for a club that saw a stormy night of action for the second time in five nights.
Perhaps prepared by the lengthy two-hour lightning delay the Kickers waited out Friday evening in league play, the side made a couple switches when play resumed after a similar break of approximately 80 minutes Tuesday at the 65th minute mark and caught the hosts asleep. Two second half goals led to a historic result that included a laundry list of achievements at the team and individual player levels.
In the Semifinals, set for August 30, the Richmond Kickers will be traveling to face the Chicago Fire while the Seattle Sounders play host to FC Dallas.
The Kickers became the first lower division club to record back-to-back road wins against MLS clubs in the tournament and David Bulow’s penalty made him the all-time leading scorer in the Professional Era, passing Jaime Moreno and Johnny Menyongar. TheCup.us Match MVP: Ronnie Pascale
Dominic Oduro wasted no time with the opening goal after seven minutes. The Fire ran away with it early in the second half as well with Orr Barouch scoring twice. TheCup.us Match MVP: Orr Barouch
Trends won out as first-time Quarterfinalists RSL remained winless at Pizza Hut Park, falling to all-time leading Quarterfinalist (12 appearances) FC Dallas. TheCup.us Match MVP: Jackson
A year later it was Nate Jaqua again in the spotlight as Seattle downed the visiting Galaxy in the Quarterfinals for the second consecutive year. Jaqua notched a goal and an assist in the first 25 minutes as Seattle advanced to a Professional Era record fifth consecutive Semifinal appearance via the USL and MLS clubs. TheCup.us Match MVP: Nate Jaqua