There have only been six “upsets” in the Quarterfinal round of the US Open Cup since 1995, therefore all four of them are, in fact, “notable.” You could argue there has been seven, but we didn’t think the Seattle Sounders (USL-1) eliminating the Kansas City Wizards (MLS) on penalty kicks was much of an upset in 2008.
Tampa Bay Mutiny (MLS) 3 : 4 (asdet) Rochester Raging Rhinos (A-League)
September 7, 1996
Frontier Field – Rochester, NY
In front of more than 12,000 fans at Frontier Field, the Rochester Raging Rhinos knocked off Major League Soccer’s best team, the Tampa Bay Mutiny, in sudden death overtime. It’s known as one of the most exciting Open Cup games in the Professional Era (1995-present). Henry Gutierrez and Doug Miller put the Rhinos up 2-0 at the half, but it was Roy Lassiter who began one of the most thrilling 10 minutes in modern Open Cup history. Lassiter’s goal in the 80th minute brought the Mutiny to within one goal, but two minutes later, Miller would score his second to make it 3-1.
The home crowd thought the game was over, but Tampa Bay would score two goals in two minutes (Carlos Valderamma PK in the 85th and Evans Wise in the 86th on an assist from Lassiter) to send the game into overtime. 23 minutes of sudden death overtime saw the Rochester crowd whipped into a frenzy when substitute, and Rochester native, Chris Kennell scored the game-winner in the 113th minute. The first-year franchise would advance to the Open Cup Final that year, falling to DC United in the championship game.
San Francisco Bay Seals (D3 Pro League) 2 : 1 San Jose Clash (MLS)
August 20, 1997
Spartan Stadium – San Jose, CA
Ronald Cerritos converted an early first half penalty kick to put the San Jose Clash up 1-0, but the Bay Seals, the darlings of the 1997 tournament, got a pair of late goals from Shani Simpson (77th minute) and Shane Watkins (86th minute) to put them in the Semifinals. San Francisco remains the only third division club to advance to the Semifinals during the Professional Era (1995-present).
Dallas Burn (MLS) 1 : 2 (asdet) Rochester Raging Rhinos (A-League)
August 11, 1999
Frontier Field – Rochester, NY
After a 71st minute goal by Mauro Biello put Rochester in front 1-0, the Rhinos were five minutes away from pulling off the upset in regulation when Jason Kreis tied the game up thanks to an assist by Paul Broome. After 20 minutes of extra time, Michael Kirmse scored the golden goal (assisted by Darren Tilley) to send the Rhinos to the Semifinals, on their way to winning the tournament.
Minnesota Thunder (USL-1) 3 : 1 Kansas City Wizards (MLS)
August 24, 2005
Julian Field – Parkville, Missouri
In the midst of a disappointing run of league form, the Minnesota Thunder continued their run in the US Open Cup with a road win over the Kansas City Wizards. It was the third MLS team Minnesota had eliminated in a row (Real Salt Lake, Colorado Rapids). Johnny Menyongar scored two goals and was a part of the third when his shot was re-directed by the Wizards’ Shavar Thomas and past goalkeeper Will Hesmer.
Colorado Rapids (MLS) 0 : 5 Seattle Sounders (USL-1)
August 7, 2007
Qwest Field – Seattle, Washington
Seattle completely dominated the Colorado Rapids in the worst loss ever suffered by an MLS team in the Open Cup. After two goals by Sounder defenders midway through the first half, Colorado’s Ugo Ihemelu put the ball into his own net to make it 3-0 Seattle at the half. The game was all but over, but when Colorado defender Facundo Erpen was sent off in the 49th minute, the Sounders poured it on in the second half to return to the Semifinals for the first time since 1995.
Charleston Battery (USL-1) 3 : 1 FC Dallas (MLS)
July 8, 2008
Pizza Hut Park – Frisco, Texas
After a weather delay, the Charleston Battery eliminated FC Dallas 3-1 in front of the Dallas fans. Former Dallas player Lazo Alavanja opened the scoring, followed by Ian Fuller and Randi Patterson. Kenny Cooper added a score in second half stoppage time but it was too little, too late. The Battery got their revenge after being knocked out of the tournament by Dallas the last two years in a row.