Photo: Columbus Crew
With what is arguably a contingent of the hottest teams currently in Major League Soccer taking the pitch Tuesday night for the Third Round of the US Open Cup, the top flight saw seven of the eight clubs advance to the Quarterfinals for the first time under the current format since it was introduced initially in 2002 before returning permanently in 2007.
On a night in which it was the first time no game in the Round of 16 went to overtime, the tally of seven also marked a high for the league since it comprised the full field in the 2006 US Open Cup Quarterfinals. The league had six teams among the final eight a year ago.
It is only the fifth time in 15 years of the tournament MLS has had at least seven remaining at the quarterfinal stage, hitting the mark in 2002 and 1998 and also previously sweeping the field in 2000 as well as 2006. There are two clubs that have been a part of all five of these high-percentage MLS fields: New York and Dallas. While both have changed names since their early years, they were among the field of at least seven on each of the previous four occasions. The Red Bulls earned a narrow 2-1 victory against their local lower division rivals and FC Dallas nabbed a last-second 3-2 win in a thrilling finish.
The lone exception on a night filled with close contests and dramatic finishes was the defeat suffered by the Columbus Crew at the hands of the Richmond Kickers, who registered their 4th upset over an MLS team in the tournament since winning it in 1995, the beginning of the Professional Era of the tournament.
Overall, despite the losses it was a respectable evening for USL as only two of the seven defeats were by more than one goal and they led in three. One of those two multi-goal losses was the amateur Chicago Fire PDL side and the other the Wilmington Hammerheads, who had a vast trip crossing three-quarters of the country and experiencing a significant elevation change in playing at Real Salt Lake.
FC New York 1:2 New York Red Bulls – Recap [+]
One of four MLS clubs to fall behind on the night, the Red Bulls rallied with two unanswered as US international Gold Cup returnees Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream played key roles as Corey Hertzog equalized and John Rooney hit the winner. TheCup.us Match MVP: John Rooney
Chicago Fire 1:0 Rochester Rhinos – Recap [+]
The Rhinos’ nine-game unbeaten streak (7-0-2, PK 2-0) at home came to an end with the 37th minute strike from Diego Chaves, also giving the Fire their first regulation win in three tries in Rochester. TheCup.us Match MVP: Diego Chaves
Richmond Kickers 2:1 Columbus Crew– Recap [+]
A Matthew Delicate diving header five minutes from time proved the difference as the Kickers finished the night as the only remaining lower division club. TheCup.us Match MVP: Matthew Delicate
Chicago Fire PDL 0:3 Sporting Kansas City – Recap [+]
Three different scorers gave Sporting KC its first-ever Open Cup win at its new home, two coming a minute apart in the second half. TheCup.us Match MVP: Milos Stojcev
Wilmington Hammerheads 0:2 Real Salt Lake – Recap [+]
The Hammerheads traveled a long way to see a four-minute span end the club’s run in the tournament as Jean Alexandre set up a goal and connected for one of his own in the final five minutes of the first half for the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League finalists. TheCup.us Match MVP: Jean Alexandre
Orlando City SC 2:3 FC Dallas – Recap [+]
Trailing, the lower division Orlando City thought they extended the game to overtime with a stoppage time equalizer from Yordany Alvarez only to have their hopes dashed less than a minute later with a Milton Rodriguez winner for Dallas at the other end. TheCup.us Match MVP: Jackson
Kitsap Pumas 1:2 Seattle Sounders – Recap [+]
Mike Fucito scored twice for the two-time defending champions, but it nearly proved to not be enough for Kitsap as the Pumas rallied in the Puget Sound Showdown. TheCup.us Match MVP: Mike Fucito
LA Blues 1:2 LA Galaxy – Recap [+]
The current MLS Player of the Week for his role in goal for the Galaxy for more than a half in a scoreless draw three days prior in San Jose, midfielder Mike Magee was the hero yet again with the game-winner nine minutes from time to conclude the Galaxy’s rally for the win. TheCup.us Match MVP: Mike Magee
2011 US Open Cup Quarterfinal Schedule
New York Red Bulls (MLS) at Chicago Fire (MLS)
Toyota Park – Bridgeview, Ill. – 8:30 pm ET
Richmond Kickers (USL Pro) at Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
LiveStrong Sporting Park – Kansas City, Kan. – 8:30 pm ET
Real Salt Lake (MLS) at FC Dallas (MLS)
Pizza Hut Park – Frisco, TX – 9:00 pm ET
Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) at Seattle Sounders (MLS)
Starfire Sports Stadium – Tukwila, Wash. – 10:00 pm ET
2011 US Open Cup goalscoring leaders [+]
2011 US Open Cup bracket [+]
2011 US Open Cup participant map [+]
Meet the USASA: Class of 2011 [+]