Minnesota United eliminated FC Cincinnati in penalty kicks in the Fourth Round of the 2018 US Open Cup. Photo: Brett Hansbauer/4th Floor Creative
After last year’s historic run to the quarterfinals and a roster built to compete again this year, FC Cincinnati’s run in the 2018 U.S. Open Cup came to an abrupt end in the fourth round, falling 3-1 via penalty shootout after a scoreless regulation to Minnesota United.
The first half was fairly even as the teams traded possession but lacked many quality scoring chances. The Loons backline was strong early in the match, stifling creative play in their end, particularly Brent Kallman, who locked the right side down. In the 24th minute, Emery Welshman, who scored a hat trick in FCC’s second-round win over Detroit City FC, was able to make a run down the sideline and sent a cross near the penalty spot, Jimmy McLaughlin made contact but sent a header wide to the right.
Cincinnati would then try to step the pressure up, with clever passing around Minnesota’s half. Russell Cicerone made a valiant attempt to dribble towards the goal from the right, but lost control of the ball on the turf.
The second half saw Cincinnati take hold early and it felt like momentum would carry the USL upstarts to a goal. Corben Bone’s cross in the 54th minute was put wide right of the net by Kenny Walker. Then Welshman tried to power his way past his defender but Minnesota’s Michael Boxall tied him up and Welshman sent his shot wide left of the net. Minnesota would then tighten up and tried to break through offensively.
Abu Danladi’s rocket in the 81st minute forced Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey to make the quick save. Any hope of ending this in regulation went by the wayside and time would end with the score still tied at 0-0.
Added extra time was more of the same, with both teams trading possession but not getting near the net. A few substitutions brought on fresh legs but neither side could generate much offense and the extra 30 minutes would wind down, sending this to penalty kicks to determine the winner.
PKs were where the Loons would take over. Christian Ramirez opened things with a rocket past Richey.
After Kenny Walker pinged the crossbar for Cincinnati, Collin Martin put the visitors up 2-0. Cincinnati again couldn’t answer as Sem De Wit’s shot was stopped only to be followed by Brent Kallman giving Minnesota another goal. Michael Lahoud finally connected for Cincinnati and a miss by Collen Warner gave FCC hope.
But MNUFC keeper Bobby Shuttlesworth sealed the victory, making a stop on Nazmi Albadawi.
This is the first time Minnesota United has reached the Round of 16 in their collective history. Now in their second year as an MLS club, they lost their opening fourth-round match last season to Sporting Kansas City. In their days as an NASL club, they earned their way to the fourth round twice previously in 2014 and 2016.