MORE: 2019 US Open Cup qualifying results/schedule
Colorado Rush and Harpo’s FC added another chapter to their rivalry with a matchup in the 2019 US Open Cup open division local qualifying tournament
The two teams have battled for several years in and around several local leagues, primarily the Colorado Premier League and Premier Arena Soccer League. This was the second meeting between the two clubs in a US Open Cup qualifier, and just like their first game back in 2015, Harpo’s came away with a win.
This time, Harpo’s needed extra time to edge a shorthanded Rush team, 2-1, to move one step closer to qualifying for the tournament for the first time since making a second straight appearance in 2016.
Kick-off at just moments past 5 p.m. local time, under bright sunshine and a temperature in the upper 80s. A crowd of around 100 fans would ultimately make their way in to watch the game at Shea Stadium in Highlands Ranch, Colo.
The Rush were only able to dress 12 players for the game due to various player commitments.
The first 15 minutes or so was the teams feeling each other out. Decent, but not terribly dangerous opportunities for both sides; though Chas Parry of Rush did put one off the bar with a clinical spin move after settling a ball under heavy pressure from a Harpo’s defender. Harpo’s Herzberger would have been helpless to save had the ball been just a few inches lower.
Harpo’s FC took to the front foot in the final 20 minutes of the first half, putting four shots on goal on that stretch, but Rush keeper Marscheider was equal to all of them. The first of those was a point-blank shot at the edge of the goal box at the near post from about three yards out from Shane Wheeler in the 23rd minute. Trevor Amman would have a couple of good far-post chances saved by Marschnieder’s fingertips in the final 20 of the half.
First, a ‘grass cutter’ in the 28th minute from 11 yards after picking off a lazy pass out of the back. Then 14 minutes later, from about 14 yards out after receiving a well-struck pass from Wheeler on the right wing and beating five Rush players.
The half ended the way it began, 0-0.
The game restarted with Harpo’s still on the front foot. A shot from about 35 yards, just seconds into the half, forced Marscheider to again make a save. The game took a bit of a breather around the hour mark. Harpo’s would re-ignite it in the 67th minute. Trevor Amman was once again saved by Marscheider, forcing yet another corner. Off that corner, the ball would skip off of Marscheider’s fingers and fall to a Harpo’s player. The first shot looked as though it might have struck Rush’s Peter Willams in the arm, but the whistle did not come until after the ensuing rebound, when Marschneider went across the front the same Harpo’s player, appearing to knock him to the ground. The referee’s whistle sounded instantly with a point to the spot. The resulting penalty hit the back of the net in the 69th minute from the right foot of Judson McKinney to give Harpo’s a 1-0 lead.
The Rush began the process of finding the equalizer straight away. Many runs, up both wings, seemed to stretch the Harpo’s defense out of shape more than once. The equalizer would finally come in the 77th minute from a ball won in the defensive third of the Rush. A nearly 50-yard ball was sent up field, meeting JT Grover’s head and falling back to a wide open Chas Parry. Parry then found a wide open Grover streaking up the right wing. After a
couple of touches to control the ball, he slotted home to the far post from about 10 yards out to tie the game.
The remaining 13 minutes saw some good back-and-forth play as both teams went looking for the winner. Harpo’s had a bit of edge in the chances department. After Harpo’s committed a foul in the 87th minute would give the Rush a solid scoring chance when the free kick would find the head of Stisser, but it sailed well wide of goal.
Extra time started much as regulation ended with more back-and-forth play. There was more ball movement with less speed. Again, Harpo’s with a slight edge in chances.
The final period of play began with Harpo’s forcing another save from Marscheider after only 30 seconds. Again though, there was a lot of action from both sides through most of the extra frame. In the 111th minute, a Harpos corner kick produced a laser beam of a shot from the top of the box that was saved by Marscheider.
Four minutes later, Harpo’s FC would find the winning goal. They won the ball deep in their own half and went on a counter attack up the left wing allowed Harpo’s to gain 30 yards up the field. This led to another 30-yard pass into space through the middle of the Rush midfield. The ensuing run pulled Marscheider out of goal and outside the post. Then, a quick turn and pass to the onrushing Trevor Amman, who struck a beautiful arcing shot to the upper-right corner from about 17 yards out.
Harpo’s executed excellent clock management for the final five minutes to close out the game and advance to Round 2.