2012 US Open Cup Quarterfinals Live Blog: Join the conversation!

Posted by | June 26, 2012

To join the conversation, either enter the blog, or include #USOC in your tweets to share your thoughts or ask a question. And don’t forget to Declare Your Support, whether your club is playing or not, with #OpenCupFan. Follow TheCup.us on Twitter (@USOpenCup) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thecup.us) for updated scores and  news throughout the night .

2012 US Open Cup bracket [+]
2012 US Open Cup Quarterfinal scoreboard [+] 2012 US Open Cup Quarterfinal lineups [+]
2012 US Open Cup goalscoring leaders [+]
2012 US Open Cup participant map [+]
Meet the USASA: Class of 2012 [+] Things you should know about the Quarterfinals [+]
Semifinal pairings [+]

After a three week break, the US Open Cup resumes with four Quarterfinal matches full of intrigue. Can the Sounders continue their quest for an unprecedented fourth straight Open Cup title, or will San Jose return to the final four for just the second time (2004) in franchise history? Another big storyline is whether or not any of the record three clubs from the 3rd Division move on to the Semis?

Join TheCup.us right here for a live blog as we will have live updates coming in from all four games.

Broadcast links (Times Eastern)
Game 1: Harrisburg at Philadelphia (7:30) | VIDEO
Game 2: Dayton at Sporting KC (8:30) | VIDEO
Game 3: Charlotte at Chivas USA (10:30) | VIDEO
Game 4: Seattle at San Jose (10:30) | VIDEO | AUDIO

#TWITTER: To join the conversation, either enter the blog, or include #USOC in your tweets to share your thoughts or ask a question. And don’t forget to Declare Your Support, whether your club is playing or not, with #OpenCupFan. Follow TheCup.us on Twitter (@USOpenCup) for updated scores and news throughout the night (no play-by-play).

Here’s your guide to the entire Quarterfinals, including notes on key players from NASL & USL Pro players via resident Lower Division expert Gerald Barnhart, who issues weekly Lower Division Five Star honors, which also includes a US Open Cup list:

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Harrisburg City Islanders (USL PRO) at Philadelphia Union (MLS)
PPL Park; Chester, Pa.; 7:30 p.m. ET
Broadcast: VIDEO (Philadelphia)
Semifinal scenarios (July 10 or 11):
If Philadelphia wins … home vs. Sporting KC/Dayton winner

If Harrisburg wins … home vs. Dayton or at Sporting KC

Harrisburg City Islanders’ 2012 US Open Cup results (home team on right):
Rd 2: Long Island Rough Riders (PDL) 0:2 Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro) [+] Recap
Rd 3: New England Revolution (MLS) 3:3 Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro) (Harrisburg wins 3:4 PKs) [+] Recap
Rd 4: New York Red Bulls (MLS) 1:3 (AET) Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro) [+] Recap
Philadelphia Union’s 2012 US Open Cup results (home team on right):
Rd 3: Rochester Rhinos (USL Pro) 0:3 Philadelphia Union (MLS) [+] Recap
Rd 4: Philadelphia Union (MLS) 2:1 (AET) DC United (MLS) [+] Recap

Affiliates, the two clubs have too many things that tie them together. There are players that have moved up and down the between the two sides, coordinated marketing and, of course, the annual friendlies. The last came less than two weeks ago during the Union’s break in MLS play, and the lower division side managed to post a 3-2 victory. Garret Pettis scored twice, getting the opener in the 17th and what stood as the winner in the 75th. Yann Ekra scored the second go-ahead goal in the 55th after Jorge Perlaza had leveled just before halftime. Kai Herdling adding a free kick goal in the 81st. The match was the final night for coach Peter Nowak, who was released by the Union the following day.

Philadelphia, which features former City Islanders Chase Harrison and Sheanon Williams, has had a busy few weeks since their Fourth Round victory. They fell at home, 1-0, to rival DC United, who they defeated 2-1 in the previous round, in their first official game under new interim coach John Hackworth. This past Saturday, the Union stunned of the league’s top sides, spanking visiting Sporting Kansas City, 4-0, with a pair of goals from Jack McInerney in the first half.

Harrisburg, which features former Union players Morgan Langley and JT Noone, has played four league games since the Fourth Round, including two over the weekend. They fell at home to Wilmington, 2-0, four days after their 3-1 overtime win over the New York Red Bulls but rebounded the following weekend with a 2-1 comeback win against Rochester on Ekra  and Lucky Mkosana tallies. This past week they had a tough two-night road swing, losing 3-0 in Orlando and 3-1 in Charleston with Mellow scoring their lone goal. At 4-4-4 they sit seventh in the table, but have matches in hand on several teams in front of them.

Modern Pro Era Open Cup Records:
Harrisburg City Islanders
OVERALL: 12-4-3 (2-1 in PKs), 2-3-0 away, 4-3-1 (1-0 PKs) vs. MLS teams
BEST FINISH: Quarterfinals (2007, 2009, 2010)
LAST ENTRY: 2011 (Round 2, Lost 1-0 vs. Rochester Rhinos)
Philadelphia Union
OVERALL: 2-0-0, 1-0-0 at home, 1-0-0 vs. Division 3 clubs
BEST FINISH: 2012 is their first entry
LAST ENTRY: 2012 is their first entry

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Dayton Dutch Lions (USL Pro) at Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
LIVESTRONG Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.; 8:30 p.m. ET
Broadcast: TBA
Semifinal scenarios (July 10 or 11): T
If KC wins … home vs. Harrisburg OR at Philadelphia
If Dayton wins … at Philadelphia OR at Harrisburg

Dayton Dutch Lions’ 2012 US Open Cup results (home team on right):
Rd 2: Dayton Dutch Lions (USL Pro) 2:1 Chicago Fire PDL (PDL) [+] Recap
Rd 3: Dayton Dutch Lions (USL Pro) 2:1 Columbus Crew (MLS) [+] Recap
Rd 4: Dayton Dutch Lions (USL Pro) 2:1 (AET) Michigan Bucks (PDL) [+] Recap
Sporting Kansas City’s 2012 US Open Cup results (home team on right):
Rd 3: Orlando City SC (USL Pro) 2:3 Sporting Kansas City (MLS) [+] Recap
Rd 4: Colorado Rapids (MLS) 0:2 Sporting Kansas City (MLS) [+] Recap

You could not have two teams any more contrasting paired up. Sporting are one of the top clubs in the MLS Eastern Conference while Dayton has been last in the USL Pro table since the start of the campaign. Oddly, both come into the Quarterfinal match with atypical results on the weekend.

For Dayton, the Dutch Lions earned their first victory in league play for the season, making their record 1-7-5 for the year and moving off the bottom and two points ahead of Antigua Barracuda. With just one goal in Dayton’s last four outings and five through 12 games, their 4-0 romp against visiting Wilmington Saturday was an eye-opening result. Eli Garner scored twice and Gibson Bardsley notched his third of the year in the win. Four days after the 2-1 win against the PDL’s Michigan Bucks in the Fourth Round, the Dutch Lions played to a 1-1 draw at home against Pittsburgh. The following week they dropped a pair of 1-0 decisions on the West Coast against the LA Blues.

Sporting KC, meanwhile, saw a four-game unbeaten streak in league play, snapped over the weekend in a shocking 4-0 road loss to the Philadelphia Union, who had been struggling mightily in league play. It was the first time they had allowed four in a game and first loss by more than two goals this season. Also since their 2-0 Fourth Round win against Colorado Rapids, Kansas City picked up a 2-0 win in Toronto and drew 1-1 at home versus Seattle in league play. The loss to Philadelphia allowed the New York Red Bulls to join DC United one point ahead of KC at the top of the conference table.

Modern Pro Era Open Cup Records:
Dayton Dutch Lions
OVERALL: 3-2-0, 3-2-0 away, 1-0-0 vs. MLS clubs
AS USL PRO: 3-1-0, 3-1-0 away, 1-0-0 vs. MLS clubs
BEST FINISH: Round 1 (2010, 2011)
LAST ENTRY: 2011 (Round 1, lost at Richmond Kickers 4-1)
Sporting Kansas City
OVERALL: 13-10-3 (1-2 PKs), 9-5-0 at home, 1-2-0 vs. Division 3 clubs
BEST FINISH: 2004 US Open Cup champions
LAST ENTRY: 2011 (Quarterfinals, lost 2-0 vs. Richmond Kickers)

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Seattle Sounders (MLS) at San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)
Kezar Stadium; San Francisco, Calif.; 10:30 p.m. ET
Broadcast: VIDEO (SJ Earthquakes) | AUDIO (Seattle)
Semifinal scenarios (July 10): W inner hosts Chivas USA / Charlotte winner

Seattle Sounders’ 2012 US Open Cup results (home team on right):
Rd 3: Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) 1:5 Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) [+] Recap
Rd 4: Cal FC (USASA) 0:5 Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) [+] Recap
San Jose Earthquakes’ 2012 US Open Cup results (home team on right):
Rd 3: Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) 1:2 San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) [+] Recap
Rd 4: Minnesota Stars FC (NASL) 0:1 San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) [+] Recap

In the only all-MLS Quarterfinal pairing, the Heritage Cup rivals clash with something bigger at stake as San Jose Earthquakes attempt to be the team to finally dethrone the Seattle Sounders, who have lost in the Open Cup since joining Major League Soccer. The teams have had opposite runs in league play as of late. The Earthquakes have gone 3-1-1 in their last five and are sitting atop the overall league table. The Sounders, meanwhile, have gone 0-3-2 in that stretch, falling a point behind Cascadia rivals Vancouver.

Seattle’s poor form, a record seven-game winless run, includes the 2-1 loss at archrival Portland Sunday, leaving one day off between games. While history dictates that Seattle should be the clear favorite, especially after hammering Cal FC 5-1 a week after Eric Wynalda’s club downed Portland the week before, there are a number of issues with the three-time champions, who are 2-2-3 on the road in league play. The primary concern has been injuries, and in league play, suspensions. Since the Fourth Round win against Cal FC, the Sounders fell 4-1 on the road to Montreal and in their midweek home match last week, played to a 1-1 stalemate with Kansas City. Eddie Johnson has scored two of the team’s three league goals in the three matches since the last round.

San Jose, 4-1-2 at home in league play, has had an extra day off, and will likely be sporting a regular starting lineup from its league-leading 10-3-3 record. Last week’s pair of matches ended a two-week break, bouncing back from a loss to KC before going idle. They posted an impressive pair of 2-1 road wins at altitude versus Colorado, Wednesday, and Salt Lake, Saturday, with strikers Alan Gordon and Chris Wondolowski terrorizing the defenses of both.

While the hype of David vs. Goliath in the Fourth Round may have had more fanfare (including the Cal FC-Seattle game being broadcast on Fox Sports), this will be a true test of whether Seattle has enough to keep going towards history, or if San Jose will be able to advance towards their first Open Cup championship.

Modern Pro Era Open Cup Records:
Seattle Sounders
OVERALL: 28-11-3 (2-1 PKs), 6-9-2 (1-1 PKs) away, 13-7-1 vs. MLS clubs
AS MLS: 13-0-1 (1-0 PKs), 2-0-1 (1-0 PKs) away, 9-0-0 vs. MLS clubs
BEST FINISH: 2009, 2010, 2011 US Open Cup champions
LAST ENTRY: 2011 (Champion, 2-0 win vs. Chicago Fire)
San Jose Earthquakes
OVERALL: 10-6-4 (2-2 PKs), 3-3-1 (0-1 PKs) at home, 0-4-2 vs. MLS clubs
BEST FINISH: Semifinals (2004, lost 1-0 at Kansas City Wizards)
LAST ENTRY: 2005 (Quarterfinals, lost 2-1 vs. Los Angeles Galaxy)

Previous Open Cup Meetings (home team listed second):
2002 Third Round – San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 4:3 (ASDET) Seattle Sounders (A-League)
2003 Fourth Round – San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 0:1 Seattle Sounders (A-League)

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Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro) at Chivas USA (MLS)
Titan Stadium (Cal State Fullerton); Fullerton, Calif.; 10:30 p.m. ET
Broadcast: VIDEO (Chivas USA)
Semifinal scenario (July 10):
Winner plays at Seattle Sounders / San Jose Earthquakes winner

Chivas USA’s 2012 US Open Cup results (home team on right):
Rd 3: Chivas USA (MLS) 1:0 Ventura County Fusion (PDL) [+] Recap
Rd 4: Chivas USA (MLS) 2:1 Carolina RailHawks (NASL) [+] Recap
Charlotte Eagles’ 2012 US Open Cup results (home team on right):
Rd 2: Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro) 1:0 El Paso Patriots (PDL) [+] Recap
Rd 3: Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro) 1:0 FC Dallas (MLS) [+] Recap
Rd 4: Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro) 2:1 (AET) San Antonio Scorpions (NASL) [+] Recap

In a meeting of two clubs that have regularly been occupants of the middle to lower portions of their league tables, the US Open Cup this year may be their primary path to glory.

The Charlotte Eagles are making another stop of their extended tour outside of the Eastern Time Zone in the 2012 US Open Cup, this time traveling to California to meet Chivas USA. The Eagles have been true road warriors in the tournament, travelling to Texas three times, and coming away victorious in each trip. Their run has been a bright spot for Charlotte, as their USL Pro season has been, for the most part, dreary. They sit in ninth with 11 points, though within striking distance of the playoffs. They are 1-3-1 in their last five league games, though they have only played two games since the Third Round of the Cup. They split those with Richmond, losing 1-0 on the road and rolling 4-1 at home. Their schedule in USL Pro will get easier with six of their next eight games at home, though considering their road success in the tournament (as well as the home victory against Richmond being their first), they might feel better taking the show on the road.

Still developing under second-year coach Robin Fraser, Chivas USA is having a better than average season in comparison to its own history. Chivas is tied for sixth in the MLS Western Conference (5-7-4) with 19 points, but have gone 1-1-3 in their last five games. They have a 1-1-1 record since their Fourth Round victory over the Carolina RailHawks, beating expansion Montreal Impact, losing to then-conference leader Real Salt Lake, and tying underachiever FC Dallas. With what is now the most impotent offense in the league, the club’s saving grace this year has been the defense constructed by the former star defender turned coach, as they are among the best in the league with 18 goals allowed in 16 matches. Chivas USA are looking to equal their best finish in the Open Cup, having previously reached the semifinals before being beaten by Seattle Sounders FC in 2010. They may be in for a revenge game as the winner travels to the Seattle-San Jose Earthquakes winner.

Modern Pro Era Open Cup Records:
Charlotte Eagles
OVERALL: 8-9-0, 5-8-0 away, 1-1-0 vs. MLS clubs
BEST FINISH: Round 3 (2005, lost 3-2 AET vs. Chivas USA)
LAST ENTRY: 2011 (Round 2, lost 3-2 AET at Wilmington Hammerheads)
Chivas USA
OVERALL: 5-5-1 (0-1 PKs), 1-0-1 (0-1 PKs) at home, 1-0-0 vs. Division 3 clubs
BEST FINISH: Semifinals (2010, lost 3-1 at Seattle Sounders)
LAST ENTRY: 2010 (Semifinals, lost 3-1 at Seattle Sounders)

Previous Open Cup Meetings (home team listed second):
2005 Third Round – Chivas USA (MLS) 3:2 (AET) Charlotte Eagles (USL-2)

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POTENTIAL SEMIFINAL SCHEDULES

SEMIFINAL 1 – July 10 or 11

Sporting Kansas City (MLS) at Philadelphia Union (MLS)
PPL Park; Chester, Pa.; 7:30 p.m. ET, July 11
OR
Dayton Dutch Lions (USL PRO) at Philadelphia Union (MLS)
PPL Park; Chester, Pa.; 7:30 p.m. ET, July 10
OR
Harrisburg City Islanders (USL PRO) at Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
LIVESTRONG Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.; 7:30 p.m. CT, July 10
OR
Dayton Dutch Lions (USL PRO) at Harrisburg City Islanders (USL PRO)
Skyline Sports Complex; Harrisburg, Pa.; 7:30 p.m. ET, July 10

SEMIFINAL 2 – July 10

Charlotte Eagles (USL PRO) / Chivas USA (MLS) at Seattle Sounders FC (MLS)
Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.; 7 p.m. PT
OR
Charlotte Eagles (USL PRO) / Chivas USA (MLS) at San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)
Buck Shaw Stadium; Santa Clara, Calif.; 7:30 p.m. PT

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