2014 US Open Cup Quarterfinals preview: Three former champions join Philadelphia Union in Semifinals

Posted by | July 9, 2014

Lamar-Hunt-U.S.-Open-CupUPDATE: Thanks to goals from Conor Casey and Sebastien Le Toux, the Philadelphia Union defeated the New England Revolution 2-0 to reach the Semifinals for the second time in three years. Read the full recap, including Sebastien Le Toux’s record-breaking performance HERE.

UPDATE: The last remaining NASL clubs have been eliminated as the Chicago Fire defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks 3-1 and FC Dallas scored some late goals to pull away from the Carolina RailHawks 5-2. The last remaining Quarterfinal match (Seattle vs. Portland) can be seen below. In the final Quarterfinal game, the Seattle Sounders needed extra time to defeat the Portland Timbers 3-1. The Sounders will host the Fire on Aug. 13, while FC Dallas will host the Union on Aug. 12. Stay tuned for full recaps of each game.

We have now entered into the Quarterfinals of the 2014 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, with two lower division sides still in the hunt, as well as four previous Open Cup winners from Major League Soccer hoping to recapture past glories.

The NASL (Division 2) has two teams left playing the Cinderella role. The Atlanta Silverbacks have already advanced their furthest ever in the tournament, while the Carolina RailHawks are looking to reach the Semifinals for the second time in club history. The Chicago Fire, FC Dallas, New England Revolution, and Seattle Sounders FC own nine titles between them, while the Philadelphia Union and Portland Timbers are looking to capture their first. All eight teams will be looking to keep the dream alive on Tuesday and Wednesday.

All three Wednesday games will have online video broadcasts available, but Tuesday’s lone contest with the Philadelphia Union hosting the New England Revolution can only be seen by the fans in attendance at PPL Park. According to the Philadelphia Union Twitter account, the reason for the lack of a broadcast is that the US Soccer Federation denied their broadcast request due to an “incompatible graphics package” that is required for all US Open Cup video broadcasts.


We will have all of the available live video embedded in this article below.

As always, use and follow the #USOC2014 hashtag on Twitter for all the latest updates from all four games. You can also follow TheCup.us at @USOpenCup.

Here is a closer look at Wednesday’s games:

FC Dallas (MLS) at Carolina RailHawks (NASL)
WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, NC – 7:30 p.m.
BROADCAST: Live video
The winner will host Philadelphia Union (Aug. 12) or New England Revolution (Aug. 13)

FC Dallas Open Cup records
Overall: 25-15-4 (4-0 PKs) | Away: 10-8-2 (2-0 PKs) | vs. Div. 2: 15-1-2 (2-0 PKs)
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 3-2 vs. Portland Timbers of MLS in Quarterfinals)
Best finish: 1997 US Open Cup champions
How they got here:
Round 4: 2-0 home win vs. San Antonio Scorpions (NASL)
Round 5: 3-2 road win in OT vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS)
Leading goalscorers: Fabian Castillo (2), Andres Escobar (2), Tesho Akindele (1)

Carolina RailHawks Open Cup records
Overall: 15-5-2 (1-1 PKs) | Home: 15-2-2 (1-1 PKs) | vs. MLS: 5-4-1 (1-0 PKs)
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 3-0 at Real Salt Lake of MLS in Quarterfinals)
Best finish: 2007 Semifinals (Lost 2-1 in OT at New England Revolution of MLS)
How they got here:
Round 3: 2-0 home win vs. Charlotte Eagles (USL PRO)
Round 4: 1-1 home draw, 3-2 PK win vs. Chivas USA (MLS)
Round 5: 1-0 home win in OT vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
Leading goalscorers: Nazmi Albadawi (1), Jun Marques Davidson (1), Daniel Jackson (1), Zack Schilawski (1)


By Neil Morris | @ByNeilMorris

The last time the Carolina RailHawks hosted a Quarterfinal match in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup was 2007. It was the inaugural season for the RailHawks hatchlings, and despite a woeful losing regular season record, Carolina improbably advanced to the semifinals of the US Open Cup before losing in overtime to the New England Revolution. This Wednesday, July 9 the Open Cup Quarterfinals return to WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC as the RailHawks host FC Dallas. Carolina, one of two North American Soccer League (NASL) members remaining in the tournament, advanced to the quarters, just like they did in 2007, by winning three home games. They defeated the Charlotte Eagles (USL PRO) 2-0, edged Chivas USA in penalty kicks and beat a first-team LA Galaxy team in extra time. Carolina have hosted 19 of their 22 tournament matches since their debut in 2007 (advancing in 16 of those games), and currently hold a 23-match home unbeaten streak in all competitions.

On the other hand, this will be FC Dallas’ second straight road game of the tournament. Dallas opened their 2014 Open Cup journey by downing the San Antonio Scorpions at home 2-0, then traveled to Houston where they defeated the Dynamo 3-2 in overtime to reach their record 13th Quarterfinal appearance. FC Dallas has been paced by Andres Escobar and Fabian Castillo, who have each notched two goals over their team’s two Open Cup victories. Currently fourth in the MLS Western Conference standings, manager Óscar Pareja also boasts the playmaking skills of Blas Perez, the team’s co-leader in goals and assists.

“They’re a good team, very good going forward,” RailHawks manager Colin Clarke says. “Right now they’re playing more of a 4-4-2 with (Tesho) Akindele and Perez up front, two big, strong, lively center forwards who we’re going to have to deal with. They’re getting a few of their star players back from injury. They’re good in the center of the park, good in possession and passing, and love to get the fullbacks forward. So, it’ll be a good test for us.”

Meanwhile, the RailHawks sail in on the tailwind of two consecutive wins over MLS opponents and home ground confidence. They’re also riding the coattails of backup goalkeeper Scott Goodwin, who has started in all three Open Cup wins — his first three starts of his pro career — for the RailHawks after an injury to starter Akira Fitzgerald. All Goodwin has done is surrender one goal over those three matches, making 24 total saves in the process. Against Chivas USA, he made 11 saves over 120 minutes over regulation and extra time before stopping three shootout kicks from the penalty mark to secure the victory. Then, he made eight more saves and kept a clean sheet against Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and the Galaxy and earned TheCup.us Player of the Round honors. Carolina’s four goals in the tournament have come from four different players. Of note, reserve forward Daniel Jackson converted the game-winning kick from the mark against Chivas USA then scored the game-winning goal in extra time against the Galaxy.

However, two of Carolina’s key contributors were forward Mike Grella and defender Toni Stahl, who both left the RailHawks once their spring season contracts expired following the Chivas USA win. Carolina was unable to resign either player for the fall campaign, but the team still ousted the Galaxy without them. Despite their intangible advantages, Clarke knows his team has a talent disadvantage against their MLS foes. “In these games, we know that they’re going to have the ball,” Clarke admits. “We’ve got to be good when we have the ball. It was a great result against LA Galaxy, [but] we need to be better when we have the ball to relieve that pressure and put [Dallas] under pressure.”

There is also a bit of history between Clarke, Pareja and FC Dallas. Clarke managed FC Dallas (originally the Dallas Burn) from 2003-2006, leading the club to its first and only regular season Western Conference crown in 2006 before being unceremoniously sacked. Pareja finished his playing career for Clarke from 2003-2005, after which Clarke hired Pareja as one of his assistant coaches. Pareja remained a FC Dallas assistant coach until 2011, when he was hired to manage the Colorado Rapids.

The RailHawks warmed up for Wednesday’s game with a 2-1 exhibition win over Mexico’s Puebla FC.

Chicago Fire (MLS) at Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL)
Atlanta Silverbacks Park; Chamblee, GA – 7:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: Live video (embedded below)
Winner will play at Seattle Sounders or Portland Timbers on Aug. 13

Chicago Fire Open Cup records
Overall: 33-11-3 (2-1 PKs) | Away: 12-10-1 (1-0 PKs) | vs. Div. 2: 5-3-1 (1-0 PKs)
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 2-0 vs. DC United of MLS in Semifinals)
Best finish: 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006 US Open Cup champions
How they got here:
Round 4: 2-1 home win vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL PRO) — match abandoned at 49th min.
Round 5: 4-2 home win in OT vs. Columbus Crew (MLS)
Leading goalscorers: Juan Luis Anangono (2), Quincy Amarikwa (1), Patrick Ianni (1), Mike Magee (1), Grant Ward (1)

Atlanta Silverbacks Open Cup records
Overall: 10-9-2 (1-1 PKs) | Home: 5-3-0 | vs. MLS: 2-4-1 (0-1 PKs)
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 3-2 in OT at Real Salt Lake of MLS)
Best finish: 2004 Fourth Round (Lost 4-1 vs. Kansas City Wizards of MLS)
How they got here:
Round 3: 5-0 road win at Chattanooga FC (NPSL)
Round 4: 2-1 home win vs. Real Salt Lake (MLS)
Round 5: 2-1 road win at Colorado Rapids (MLS)
Leading goalscorers: Junior Burgos (3), Jaime Chavez (3), Deon McCauley (1), Kwadwo Poku (1), Junior Sandoval (1)


By Laura Taylor

The Chicago Fire head down south to Atlanta for the Quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Frank Yallop’s club defeated the Columbus Crew 4-2 in extra time to earn their place in the final eight. The Fire got goals from Patrick Ianni, Quincy Amarikwa, and a pair from Juan Luis Anangono to make its 11th Quarterfinal appearance. The four-time champions are expected to have injured forward Mike Magee back from injury and will look to bring that same balanced attack to Atlanta where the Silverbacks will be considerably shorthanded.

The Silverbacks will have their work cut out for them with three starters cut out from their lineup by virtue of a trio of red cards earned in last round’s ‘Mile High Melee’ against Colorado. Missing the match will be Borfor Carr, Kwadwo Poku, and Jaime Chavez, with Chavez and Poku playing a huge part in the Silverbacks’ attack in this Open Cup campaign. Also suspended are technical director Eric Wynalda and assistant coach Ricardo Montoya who were both sent off in the aftermath of the pushing and shoving. If the Silverbacks are to take down their third consecutive MLS side, they’ll need to rely on veterans such as Lucas Paulini, Junior Sandoval, and perhaps youngsters like the exciting Alex Harlley.

Chicago started back from the World Cup break with a pair of 1-1 draws in MLS play. They played from beind in both cases, with Harry Shipp salvaging a tie at home against Toronto FC, and Magee earning  a road point against Sporting Kansas City. While they haven’t had the worst form, they have shown a lack of finishing touch, going 0-2-4 since their last win on May 18. They have a whopping 10 draws in 16 games, yet are only four points out of the playoffs with a game in hand. They will play away from home for the first time since the opening round in 2013 when they defeated the Charlotte Eagles.

Atlanta will end their mid-year break on Saturday, traveling to Florida to play the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The Silverbacks are hoping their Open Cup run will spur their league play, as they try to improve on their eight-place finish during the Spring Season.

Portland Timbers (MLS) at Seattle Sounders FC (MLS)
Starfire Soccer Complex; Tukwila, WA – 10:30 p.m. ET
BROADCAST: Live video
Winner will host Chicago Fire or Atlanta Silverbacks on Aug. 13

Portland Timbers Open Cup records
Overall: 12-8-1 (0-1 PKs) | Away: 7-3-0 | vs. MLS: 2-4-1 (0-1 PKs)
As MLS: 5-2-0 | Away: 2-1-0 | vs. MLS: 2-1-0
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 2-1 at Real Salt Lake of MLS in Semifinals)
Best finish: 2013 Semifinals (Lost 2-1 at Real Salt Lake of MLS)
How they got here:
Round 4: 3-0 home win vs. Orlando City U23s (PDL)
Round 5: 3-1 road win at Sporting Kansas City (MLS)
Leading goalscorers: Gaston Fernandez (4), Will Johnson (1), Taylor Peay (1)

Seattle Sounders Open Cup records
Overall: 31-12-5 (3-2 PKs) | Home: 24-2-2 (2-0 PKs) | vs. MLS: 15-7-3 (2-1 PKs)
As MLS: 16-1-3 (2-1 PKs) | Home: 13-0-1 (1-0 PKs) | vs. MLS: 11-0-2 (1-1 PKs)
at Starfire (overall): 16-0-1 (1-0 PKs) | (as MLS): 11-0-1 (1-0 PKs)
Last entry: 2013 (Lost 1-0 at Tampa Bay Rowdies of NASL – Round 3)
Best finish: 2009, 2010, 2011 US Open Cup champions
How they got here:
Round 4: 5-0 home win vs. PSA Elite (USASA)
Round 5: 1-1 draw (4-1 PK win) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)
Leading goalscorers: Kenny Cooper (3), Brad Evans (1), Sean Okoli (1), Zach Scott (1)


By Kristen Gehrke 

Perhaps the most heated rivalry in Major League Soccer will be renewed Wednesday in the Quarterfinals of the US Open Cup. The Portland Timbers will travel to meet the Seattle Sounders for the first of two meetings between the two sides in less than a week. The game will be played at Starfire Soccer Complex, a place the Sounders have never lost (16-0-1, 1-0 PKs), which will guarantee a cozy, intense atmosphere for yet another Cascadia rivalry match.

It’s unclear whether the Sounders will still be without defender DeAndre Yedlin, one of two players away with the US Men’s National Team at the World Cup, as forward Clint Dempsey, the other Sounder with the team, is likely unavailable. Forward Obafemi Martins was out for this last weekend’s match against Vancouver with a strained hamstring. Look for Marcus Hahnemann in goal for the Sounders after a solid performance in their last Open Cup match, as it was announced before the tournament that the veteran, who made his Open Cup debut for Seattle back in 1995, will be the keeper of choice for this tournament run. He replaces No. 1 goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who played in Saturday’s road loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps. That game was played with the Sounders not only short Dempsey, Martins, and Yedlin, but also were missing Osvaldo Alonso and Gonzalo Pineda, who missed the match due to yellow card accumulation.

After dismissing the USASA’s PSA Elite in their opening game, the Sounders’ unbeaten record at Starfire was nearly ruined as the Earthquakes took them to a penalty kick shootout. Seattle ultimately prevailed 4-1 to reach their 5th Quarterfinal appearance in the last six years.

Portland will likely start Diego Chara at midfield (out for yellow card accumulation for the coming weekend’s MLS match) and backup keeper Andrew Weber. The Timbers will most likely look to Fanendo Adi and the tournament’s co-leader in goals Gaston Fernandez for firepower up top. Portland has struggled since the restart, losing 1-0 at home to Sporting Kansas City and notching a 2-2 road tie against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

This is the fifth time the two teams will meet in Open Cup play, but this will be the first time both will take the field as MLS teams. In those four previous meetings, the Timbers won the first game back in 2005, but the Sounders won the rematch in 2007 and then were victorious as a MLS side in 2009. Their last Open Cup meeting in 2010 went to penalty kicks with the Sounders advancing 4-3 en route to the second of their three straight tournament titles.

2014 US Open Cup Semifinals: Potential pairings/hosts

Philadelphia Union / New England Revolution winner @ 
– PHI @ FC Dallas: August 12, 8:00 CT – Toyota Stadium
– PHI @ Carolina: August 12, 7;30 ET – WakeMed Soccer Park
– NE @ FC Dallas: August 13, 8:00 CT – Toyota Stadium
– NE @ Carolina: August 13, 7:30 ET – WakeMed Soccer Park

Chicago Fire / Atlanta Silverbacks winner @ 
– Seattle: August 13, 7:30 PT – Starfire Sports Complex
– Portland: August 13, 8:00 PT – Providence Park

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