A DC United squad that has not won since their second game of the MLS season (0-8-2) was dearly hoping for a change in fortune in the US Open Cup, and barely even got that as they prevailed in Richmond via penalties 4-2 after a grueling scoreless stalemate with the Kickers, their official affiliate in USL Pro.
Back-up goalkeeper Joe Willis was the man of the match from start to finish for DC United, coming out of the goal 17 minutes into the match to prevent on onrushing Michael Seaton, on loan from DC, from having an easy one-on-one opportunity at the top of the box, and then later making two saves in the penalty kick tiebreaker to send DC onto the Fourth Round.
Eight minutes after beating Seaton to the ball Willis was called upon again to squelch another chance when Joseph Ngwenya connected with Stanley Nyazamba, who proceeded to find Nate Robinson for a low shot that the keeper stopped.
DC nearly took the lead just after the half-hour mark when Kyle Porter’s corner was headed onto the crossbar by Lionard Pajoy, and again saw the frame of the goal come into play four minutes later when former Kickers star Dwayne De Rosario sent a header off of the post, falling along the goalline where it was gathered by United loanee Andrew Dykstra.
The Kickers nearly gave the visitors the advantage right before halftime with a potential own goal when back pass was complicated by miscommunication that saw it scoot past Dykstra, who had to recover to send the ball over the endline instead of the back of the net.
The second half continued to be the Willis show with the netminder denying two quality opportunities for the Kickers and watched another from a free kick sail just over the crossbar in the 90th minute as overtime loomed.
That is when things began to get interesting. DC saw two players sent off in extra time with Chris Korb receiving a second yellow in the 113th minute and Carlos Ruiz getting his walking orders just four minutes later with a straight red card. But the seven minutes of having one or two extra players came too late as the two sides ultimately played things out from the spot.
The Kickers were unable to recover after seeing Sascha Gorres and Ngwenya’s attempts in the first two rounds saved by Willis despite conversions from Luke Vercollone and Nate Robinson as De Rosario, Perry Kitchen, Nick De Leon and James Riley were all perfect.
RIC – 2: Sascha Gorres (save), Joseph Ngwenya (save), Luke Vercollone (goal), Nate Robinson (goal)
DC – 4: Dwayne De Rosario (goal), Perry Kitchen (goal), Nick De Leon (goal), James Riley (goal)
RIC: Jason Yeisley (caution) 57th
RIC: Matthew Delicate (caution) 73rd
DC: Chris Pontius (caution) 82nd
DC: Chris Korb (caution) 90th
DC: Chris Korb (caution, ejection) 113th
DC: Carlos Ruiz (ejection) 117th
RIC: Andrew Dykstra (caution) 120th
Kickers: GK Andrew Dykstra, Henry Kalungi, Shane Johnson (Matthew Delicate – 69’), William Yomby, Luke Vercollone, Michael Seaton (Juan Arbelaez – 60’), Mike Callahan, Stanley Nyazamba (Sascha Gorres – 60’), Nate Robinson, Jason Yeisley, Joseph Ngwenya
D.C. United: GK Joe Willis, Daniel Woolard, James Riley, Chris Korb, Raphael Augusto (Chris Pontius – 58’), Perry Kitchen, Conor Shanosky, Nick De Leon, Kyle Porter (Sainey Nyassi – 91’), Dwayne De Rosario, Lionard Pajoy (Carlos Ruiz – 80’)
Referee: Eric Weisbrod
Assistant Referees: James Brooks, Dean Fairweather
Fourth Official: J.T. Alukonis
Attendance: 4,752 Weather: Partly cloudy, 85º