The fans that remained for the 10 p.m. kickoff from John Crain Field on the campus of the University of Oklahoma were treated to an explosion of goals as Oklahoma City Energy FC dropped the Tampa Bay Rowdies, 4-3, in the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Tuesday night. A near two-hour delay due to severe weather, including lightning and tornado watches, kept the match from starting at the originally planned time.
Alexy Bosetti did the heavy lifting for OKC on the night, scoring one goal and assisting on two others, including Deshorn Brown’s match-winner in the 60th minute.
With the win, the Energy advance to the Fourth Round for the fourth time in the last five years, which will earn them a fourth date with a team from Major League Soccer. The identity of that MLS team will be determined on Thursday morning when the United States Soccer Federation conducts the draw for the Fourth Round beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern Time.
It didn’t take long for Omar Gordon to draw first blood, hammering a low shot off the right post and past Tampa Bay’s Chris Konopka in just the second minute of action. Omar Gordon did well to get on the end of a long pass from Callum Ross before firing low from distance to score his third career tournament goal. It was the fastest US Open Cup goal in OKC’s six-year history.
The lead didn’t last long, however, as the Energy gave up a penalty kick in the 20th minute which Brandon Allen did well to convert under the outstretched arm of Bryan Byars. It was just the second penalty kick goal in Tampa’s US Open Cup history.
Tampa then capitalized on a fast break just four minutes later to go up 2-1 thanks to Antoine Hoppenot. The Frenchman received a pass from Bosetti on the right side, just outside the penalty area, cut inside to his left foot and fired a shot that beat the keeper in the upper corner just inside the far post. It was Hoppenot’s first US Open Cup goal since his days with the Philadelphia Union in 2012 when Freddy Adu assisted on his extra time game-winner in a Fourth Round road win over D.C. United.
After a long weather delay, @EnergyFC & @TampaBayRowdies served up a thriller of a Third-Round opener with the Oklahomans winning the day 4-3 & moving on to a date with an @MLS side in the Fourth Round.
— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) May 29, 2019
Unfortunately for the Rowdies, the hosts continued their own offensive onslaught with a pair of goals in the 27th and 32nd minutes to claim a 3-2 advantage. First, Bosetti took advantage of a poor clearance by the usually reliable Rowdies defense, and curled a shot to the top left corner with the outside of his foot to restore parity. Bosetti followed that up by slipping a through ball into the box to Christian Eissele, who beat the keeper to put OKC on the front foot heading into halftime.
Tampa Bay didn’t need much time after the break to tie up the match at 3-3, scoring in the 47th minute. A well-worked bit of combination play down the left flank eventually led to Zach Steinberger sliding a pass to Allen who notched his second goal of the match. It was Allen’s third goal of the tournament, and the fifth of his career.
Bosetti continued to do work and set up the Energy to give the home squad the lead, yet again, in the 60th minute of action. Gordon made a streaking run down the right flank before splitting two defenders with an early cross to Bosetti on the back post. The Frenchman then slid the ball back to Brown who launched a low shot against his former team to earn OKC the victory.
For Brown it was his first US Open Cup goal, since he made history with the Colorado Rapids in 2014. In a Fourth Round 5-2 win over the USL’s Orlando City SC, Brown became the first Rapids player, and the first Jamaican player in the Modern Era to score a hat trick. He was voted TheCup.us Player of the Round.
Now, Brown will be on the other side of the David vs. Goliath matchup as his Oklahoma City team will take on a MLS team in Round 4.