With the win, the Fire advance to the Semifinals for the fourth year in a row. They also become the first club in the 103-year history of the US Open Cup to reach four straight Semifinals twice (2003-06, 2013-16).
Lletget tallied twice in the final five minutes as Los Angeles Galaxy came from behind to defeat the Seattle Sounders, 4-2, in a quarterfinal round game at the Track and Field stadium at StubHub Center.
Penalty kick shootouts generally turn into a battle of the goalkeepers. After 120 minutes of dazzling saves, Brad Knighton of the New England Revolution came out the winner, leading his team to a 4-2 penalty kick victory over the Philadelphia Union.
The Quarterfinals of the 2016 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup will kick off tonight with four games in four of our country’s biggest sports cities. Boston, Chicago (Bridgeview), Houston and Los Angeles (Carson) will host the games that will produce four winners to advance to the Semifinals of the 103rd edition of the tournament.
There are a pair of teams chasing history as the Chicago Fire and the Seattle Sounders are seeking to win a record-tying fifth US Open Cup title. Another pair of teams looking to lift the trophy for the first time (Houston Dynamo, Philadelphia Union), and three more looking to break a long championship drought (FC Dallas, Los Angeles Galaxy, New England Revolution). This leaves the last remaining lower division team in the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers who are trying to become the first NASL team to reach the final four.
All four games will be broadcast live on YouTube (all streams will be embedded below).
After the dust settles, the draw for the Semifinals and the Final will take place on Thursday morning at 11 a.m. ET. The US Soccer Federation is expected to make it official that the Semifinals and the Final will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, as reported by TheCup.us
Below, you will find links to our coverage on TheCup.us, as well as previews from all four games, including video and audio links where available. You can get all the latest updates from every game through Twitter, using the hashtag #USOC2016. Use that same hashtag on Instagram to share your US Open Cup-related photos.
Winner will play … Fort Lauderdale Strikers or Chicago Fire in Semifinals
Philadelphia Union Open Cup records
Overall: 11-3-4 (3-1 PKs) | Home: 10-2-2 (1-1 PKs) | Away: 1-1-2 (2-0 PKs) | vs. MLS: 5-3-3 (2-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2015 (1-1 Draw (7-6 PK loss) vs. Sporting KC of MLS in Final)
Best finish: Runner-up (2014, 2015)
New England Revolution Open Cup records
Overall: 16-11-4 (2-2 PKs) | Home: 10-4-2 (1-1 PKs) | Away: 5-7-2 (1-1 PKs) | vs. MLS: 4-7-0
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 1-0 vs. Charlotte Independence of USL in Round 4)
Best finish: 2007 US Open Cup champions
By Michael Berton
Chris Pontius scored two goals for the Philadelphia Union, his second and third of his US Open Cup career. Photo: Bob Larson
The 2016 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup has been a series of close affairs for the New England Revolution and the Philadelphia Union. If form holds true, Soldiers Field at Harvard Stadium will host another close event on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
New England advanced to the Open Cup Quarterfinals with two narrow victories over lower-division teams. In the Fourth Round, the Revolution escaped past the Carolina RailHawks 1-0 after extra time. Then in the Fifth Round, the Revs had to come from behind twice against the New York Cosmos before eventually winning 3-2.
Since first entering the tournament in 2012, the Union have enjoyed plenty of home cooking. Out of their 18 all-time matches, 14 of them have been played at home, including the last two US Open Cup Finals. This match will be the first road trip in the 2016 tournament for the Union.
Zachary Herivaux of the New England Revolution battles for the ball against the Carolina RailHawks in the 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: Rob Kinnan | Carolina RailHawks
The hosts New England have had a mixed bag of results this season. Currently 5-7-8 in league play, the Revolution are sixth in the MLS Eastern Conference, which is also the final playoff position. Since beating the Cosmos, New England have gone 1-1-2, with their last result being a scoreless draw at Real Salt Lake.
Lee Nguyen is powering the New England with five goals and seven assists this season, while four other players have three goals each. Bobby Shuttleworth mans the net for the Revolution, posting a 1.63 goals against average so far this season in 16 games played.
Playing US Open Cup games away from their home at Gillette Stadium is nothing new for the Revolution. Midweek Open Cup crowds are tough to justify the cost of opening the nearly 70,000-seat NFL stadium, so the team often finds locations in and around New England to host their cup matches. This is the club’s third trip to Harvard University’s Soldiers Field, but prior to that they have played at Brown University, Veterans Memorial Stadium in New Britain, Conn., and Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, Mass. They have only played in Gillette Stadium once since the stadium was built in 2002 and that was a 2007 Quarterfinal match against the Harrisburg City Islanders. Prior to that, they played at Foxboro Stadium during the 2000 and 2001 tournaments.
Farther up the Eastern Conference table sits the Philadelphia Union. In second place with a 8-6-6 record, the Union are vastly improved compared to recent years. Philadelphia is tied for the MLS lead in goals scored with 34 and will provide a tough test for the New England defense. However, the Union have struggled on the road, going just 1-5-3.
Philadelphia features a balanced scoring attack, but Chris Pontius leads the way with seven goals. CJ Sapong and Roland Alberg are close behind with six each. MLS All-Star Andre Blake is the Union’s star goalkeeper. He has played in 19 of the Union’s 20 games, sporting a 1.37 goals against average.
The Revolution and Union have played once so far this season, with the Union coming out 3-0 winners. Sapong scored twice and the leading scorer in the US Open Cup Modern Era, Sebastian Le Toux, added the third.
Winner will play … Seattle Sounders or LA Galaxy in Semifinals
FC Dallas Open Cup records
Overall: 28-16-6 (5-1 PKs) | Home: 17-6-3 (2-1 PKs) | Away: 11-10-2 (2-0 PKs) | vs. MLS: 9-11-3 (2-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 6-2 at Sporting KC of MLS in Round 5)
Best finish: 1997 US Open Cup champions
Houston Dynamo Open Cup records
Overall: 11-8-1 (0-1 PKs) | Home: 9-2-0 | Away: 2-6-1 (0-1 PKs) | vs. MLS: 3-6-0
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 3-1 at Sporting KC of MLS in Quarterfinals)
Best finish: Semifinals (2006, 2009)
By Adam Uthe
The Houston Dynamo celebrate a goal against Sporting KC in the 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: Nigel Brooks | Houston Dynamo
Houston Dynamo will host in-state rivals FC Dallas in a US Open Cup match for the second time in three years on Wednesday night.
The two sides are already familiar enough with each other and have also met twice in league play this season.
Houston and Dallas met in the fifth round of the 2014 Open Cup with Dallas winning a 3-2 extra time thriller at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. Tesho Akindele scored the winner for the Hoops just eight minutes into extra time and the visitors held on to retain bragging rights, at least in terms of Open Cup play.
The two Texas teams have met three times in the tournament with Dallas winning two. Given the way their 2016 MLS campaigns have gone so far, Dallas would seem to have the upper hand but the two sides have also played twice in league play so far and the Dynamo have outscored their rivals 6-1 over the course of those two games.
The two sides met in the second week of the season back in March down in Houston and the Dynamo scored four in the first 27 minutes en route to a shocking 5-0 victory. Andrew Wenger, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Philadelphia Union, scored one and assisted on two others. He’s currently tied with Will Bruin and Giles Barnes for team lead in goals this season with four.
The second match, this time in Frisco on June 2, came just before the Copa America break in league play. The match was much more competitive with the two teams playing to a 1-1 draw. Ricardo Clark’s second half goal cancelled out Ryan Hollingshead’s first half tally.
Outside of their head-to-head meetings, it’s pretty obvious FC Dallas has had the better season of the two. They’ve looked like the best team in MLS for several stretches and Oscar Pareja seems to have built a strong core around young, homegrown talent like US youth international Kellyn Acosta and the team’s leading goal scorer Michael Barrios, who has tallied six times this season.
That being said, they have been prone to the occasional bad result like their first meeting with Houston and another 5-0 loss suffered last Wednesday at the hands of Western Conference cellar dwellers Seattle Sounders. But like any good team, Dallas bounced back from that Sounders loss with a 3-1 home win over the Chicago Fire. The win was doubly important as it gave Dallas the best record in MLS heading into Open Cup play and it helped bring the Brimstone Cup (a supporters trophy created in 2001) back to Dallas for the first time in four seasons. Max Urruti, Mauro Diaz and Mauro Rosales all scored to extend the team’s unbeaten streak at home to 16 games.
By contrast, Houston have had a poor season. Things have been so bad, the Dynamo are currently being coached on an interim basis by former player Wade Barrett after Owen Coyle left the club to return to the UK where he now manages English Championship side Blackburn Rovers. They’re coming off a 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy last Friday night via a second half goal from Steven Gerrard. The Open Cup has been the one bright spot for the Dynamo.
Houston got their run started in the fourth round with a comfortable 4-0 win over the USL’s San Antonio FC. Alex Lima provided a goal and an assist with David Rocha also chipping in two assists. In the Round of 16, they beat MLS rivals Sporting Kansas City 3-1 behind a pair of goals from Mauro Manotas and one more from Alex. Former Dynamo captain Brad Davis scored Kansas City’s lone goal. Despite losing the possession battle, the Dynamo were able to outshoot Sporting KC and made the most of their chances.
Houston find themselves in the quarterfinals for the second time in as many seasons and are looking for their third Open Cup semifinal appearance in team history, and the first since 2009.
The road to the quarterfinals has been far more arduous for FC Dallas. After falling behind 1-0 in the first half and then surrendering an 89th minute equalizer, Dallas was able to take down OKC Energy, their USL affiliate, in a penalty shootout by a final tally of 6-5. Colin Bonner scored the winner for the Hoops.
The Round of 16 wasn’t much easier. Dallas dug themselves another early hole as they gave up a first half goal through Dominique Badji of the Colorado Rapids, who have been neck and neck with Dallas at the top of the overall standings in MLS this season. But Dallas turned up the heat in the second half and came away with the 2-1 win thanks to goals from Diaz (assisted by Colombian Fabian Castillo, who raised eyes with his run in the lead up to the goal) and Urruti, who was acquired this past offseason from the MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers.
Ft Lauderdale Strikers
0 : 3
Toyota Park – Bridgeview, IL
Winner will play … New England Revolution or Philadelphia Union in Semifinals
Fort Lauderdale Strikers Open Cup records
Overall: 7-8-4 (3-1 PKs) | Home: 6-3-2 (2-0 PKs) | Away: 1-5-2 (1-1 PKs) | vs. MLS: 1-4-1 (1-0 PKs)
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 3-2 at Charleston Battery of USL in Round 3)
Best finish: Third Round (2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
Chicago Fire Open Cup records
Overall: 38-13-4 (3-1 PKs) | Home: 24-1-2 (1-1 PKs) | Away: 13-12-1 (1-0 PKs) | vs. Div. 2: 6-3-2 (2-0 PKs)
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 1-0 at Philadelphia Union of MLS in Semifinals)
Best finish: 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006 US Open Cup champions
By Jeff Engelhardt
History will be made Wednesday.
David Accam of the Chicago Fire celebrates his goal against Indy Eleven in the 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: Chicago Fire
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers will look to continue their role of David after slaying two Goliaths in DC United (MLS) and Orlando City (MLS) in previous rounds. If the Strikers manage to get past the Chicago Fire in the Quarterfinals, they will be the first NASL team to ever make the US Open Cup Semifinals and the first Division II team to advance that far in the tournament since the Charleston Battery appeared in the Final in 2008.
The Chicago Fire have their own chance at history with a victory as it would be a record-setting 12th appearance in the semifinals and their fourth consecutive trip to that round. Only seven teams (including the Chicago Fire from 2003-06) have reached four straight semifinals in tournament history. They would be the first to do it twice.
Getting past the Fire will be no easy task for the Strikers as Chicago is a staggering 24-1-2 (1-1 PKs) at home in Open Cup play. But the Strikers have proven capable of rising to the occasion thanks in part to the efforts of players such as goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, midfielder PC and forward Jose Angulo.
Restrepo has been outstanding during the tournament, winning TheCup.us Player of the Round in Round 3 for his penalty kick heroics against the Richmond Kickers. He followed up that performance with another outstanding performance in penalty kicks against D.C. United (he fell one vote shy of being the first repeat winner of the award) and came up with enough big saves against Orlando City to allow his team take the 2-1 victory in extra time.
Photo: Jon van Woerden
PC and Angulo both scored in the 2-1 victory and Angulo is only one of two Strikers with multiple goals in league play. PC also fell a vote shy of winning Player of the Round.
The Fire could be catching the Strikers at the right time though as Fort Lauderdale only has one point in four games during the NASL Fall Season. The Strikers are on a three-game losing streak and have not scored in any of those contests. Adding to their struggles will be the absence of former Fire player Maicon Santos, who was issued a red card in the Orlando City match.
The Fire have gone through their own share of struggles, currently sitting in last place in the MLS Eastern Conference after a 3-1 loss to FC Dallas. With the playoffs a fading possibility for Chicago, the Fire rested some key players in the FC Dallas loss including reigning Player of the Round winner David Accam, who is coming off a brace in the Round of 16 matchup with the Columbus Crew.
Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said the Open Cup is the team’s top priority and the Strikers should expect a full strength and motivated lineup. A new addition to the squad is Dutch midfielder Michael de Leeuw will make his US Open Cup debut and could be the X-factor as he has already showed promise with a goal in his first-ever MLS start.
NASL teams have proven difficult for the Fire in the past, however, including a penalty kick, nail-biter in their Fourth Round match against Indy Eleven this year. The team holds a 6-3-1 (1-0 PKs) record against Division II sides in the Open Cup.
Seattle Sounders FC
2 : 4
Los Angeles Galaxy
StubHub Center Track Stadium – Carson, CA
Winner will play … FC Dallas or Houston Dynamo in Semifinals
Seattle Sounders Open Cup records
Overall: 35-13-6 (4-2 PKs) | Home: 27-3-2 (2-0 PKs) | Away: 8-10-4 (2-2 PKs) | vs. MLS: 18-8-3 (2-1 PKs)
As MLS: 20-2-4 (3-1 PKs) | Home: 16-1-1 (1-0 PKs) | Away: 4-1-3 (2-1 PKs) | vs. MLS: 14-1-2 (1-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 3-1 in OT vs. Portland Timbers of MLS in Round 4)
Best finish: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 US Open Cup champions
Los Angeles Galaxy Open Cup records
Overall: 27-13-1 (1-0 PKs) | Home: 18-2-0 | Away: 9-11-1 (1-0 PKs) | vs. MLS: 11-9-1 (1-0 PKs)
Last entry: 2015 (Lost 1-0 at Real Salt Lake of MLS in Quarterfinals)
Best finish: 2001, 2005 US Open Cup champions
By Dennis Pope
Dave Romney of the LA Galaxy celebrates his goal against La Maquina in the 2016 US Open Cup. Teammate Jose Villarreal is shown injured in the background. Photo: LA Galaxy
The Los Angeles Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders are teams going in seemingly opposite directions.
L.A. has not allowed a goal in five of its last six games, while Seattle cannot shake a horrific league start and continues to sink to new lows.
The two meet Wednesday night at the StubHub Center Track Stadium in Carson (Calif.) in a US Open Cup quarterfinal round game.
The Galaxy are riding a four-game shutout streak after Steven Gerrard’s 66th-minute goal earned a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Friday night. Gerrard has shown improved form in recent appearances, as the Englishman pounced on a rebound against Houston to notch his third of the 2016 MLS campaign.
L.A. most recently defeated the Sounders, 1-0, in Seattle two weeks ago with Robbie Keane scoring upon his return from Euro 2016 duty.
Keane and Gyasi Zardes returned to a team struggling to find offense in their absence, with the Galaxy having scored just six goals in their last seven games across all competitions.
First-year starting goalkeeper Brian Rowe has received plenty of attention during this recent shutout steak, posting 270 scoreless minutes and inspiring the trending hashtag #RoweRoweRoweYourBoat.
Seattle Sounders fans are hoping their club can take another step toward a record-tying fifth US Open Cup title. Photo: JaneG. Photography | Seattle Sounders FC
Seattle has had far less to boast this season, and currently is a franchise pondering a massive change.
Sigi Schmid, the only coach in the Sounders’ MLS history, may be out soon as the team — mired near the bottom of the Western Conference — continues to drop points. Schmid also coached the Galaxy to a US Open Cup (2001), CONCACAF Champions Cup (2000), MLS Cup (2002) and a Supporters Shield (2002)
A 3-1 loss to Portland Timbers on Sunday is their most recent stumble, and now the Sounders will be without Osvaldo Alonso due to a suspension for yellow card accumulation.
To get here, the Sounders had a tough 2-0 home win over the PDL’s Kitsap Pumas, followed by a penalty kick win on the road (after a 1-1 draw) with Real Salt Lake.
The Galaxy had their own scare from an amateur team as they needed extra time to eliminate the Santa Ana-based La Maquina. The game was tied in extra time before the Galaxy scored a controversial goal off a set piece which changed the game. L.A. then traveled up to Portland to edge the Timbers 1-0 to clinch their second straight Quarterfinal appearance.