Once the dust settled on the Quarterfinals of the 2023 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, the underdogs of the tournament made their exit. What was left were four Major League Soccer teams. Three of them are seeking to lift the trophy for the first time in club history.
Scroll down for a brief summary of each game, along with a link to a full recap.
TUESDAY, June 6
FC Cincinnati (MLS)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL-C)
By Rachael Kriger
The Cinderella story for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is officially over. The Riverhounds fell, 3-1, against FC Cincinnati, their old USL rival, on Tuesday night.
Pittsburgh held Cincinnati scoreless through the first half but Cincinnati scored right out of the gate in the second half. Although their first of two goals provided plenty of controversy, as video replay appeared to show that it was offside. Dominique Badji was the guilty party of being offside, and assisted US men’s national team forward Brandon Vazquez for the opener.
In the 71st minute, clear as day, Alvaro Barreal scored off a corner kick, hitting the ball on the volley and smashing it past Riverhounds goalkeeper Jahmali Waite, who couldn’t do anything to stop it. In second half stoppage time, Cincinnati put Pittsburgh to sleep with a corner kick header from Santiago Arias, with plenty of power behind it. Pittsburgh did get a consolation goal, less than a minute after Cincinnati’s third tally. Tola Showunmi got on the board after a slick back-heel pass from Kenardo Forbes, the USL’s all-time leader in assists. The play was started by Danny Griffin. Pittsburgh’s storybook run in the Open Cup is over. One consolation prize is that the Riverhounds will be awarded the $25,000 prize money as the Division 2 team that reached the farthest. They won the tiebreaker with Birmingham Legion since Pittsburgh upset two MLS teams, while Birmingham only upset one.
For FC Cincinnati, it’s their first Semifinal appearance as a MLS team, but their second since their magical run as a USL team in 2017. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
Chicago Fire FC (MLS)
Houston Dynamo (MLS)
By Tim Abbott
In this match-up of struggling MLS sides, it was arguably about one penalty awarded (to Dynamo) and one not awarded (for the Fire). Amine Bassi had the tally from the spot in the 12th minute, and then Ibrahim Aliyu made it 2-0 around the half-hour mark. Near the end of the first half, Arnaud Souquet scored for the Fire, to cut the lead in half just before the break. And then a stonewall penalty that was not awarded could have equalized the scoreline. Instead, Aliyu made it 3-1 in the 59th minute and Nelson Quinones put the game away for the Dynamo in the 74th minute.
Houston advances to the Semifinals for the fourth time. The last time they reached the final four was in 2018, the year that they lifted the trophy for the first and only time. In the end, Houston will be the only final four team remaining who has won the US Open Cup. With the loss, Chicago is unable to reach the Semifinals for the 14th time, which would have added to their all-time record. It also was just the second time in 33 home matches that the Fire have lost a home game in the US Open Cup. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
Wednesday, June 7
Birmingham Legion FC (USL-C)
Inter Miami CF (MLS)
By Tim Abbott
When Inter Miami CF came to Alabama to take on Birmingham Legion FC, the player everyone was talking about wasn’t playing in the game. The announcement that Lionel Messi plans to sign with Inter Miami overshadowed the last remaining David vs. Goliath matchup of the round.
Unfortunately, the referee played a key role as Legion fans will be left to wonder what might have been as Inter Miami held on for a 1-0 win in front of a record crowd of more than 18,000. The moment came early in the game, when the ball hit Inter central defender Serhiy Kryvtsov flush on his arm as he spun down to the ground to block a Prosper Kassim shot. No penalty kick was called.
The second half opened with Legion goalie Matt van Oekel stopping a Coco Jean shot for Inter with his face. The deadlock was finally broken in the 56th minute by Nicolas Stefanelli, tapping home from close range, bouncing past the keeper after a neat interchange between second half substitute Robert Taylor and Coco Jean. Tyler Pasher also had a couple of chances to tie the game, but remarkably the best chances the Legion had during the ten minutes of stoppage time were from potential own-goals close in – blocked by Drake Callender, and a Juan Agudelo shot, deflected out for a corner.
In the end, Miami advances to the Semifinals for the first time in club history. They are just the ninth Florida team to reach the final four. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
Real Salt Lake (MLS)
LA Galaxy (MLS)
By Sean Walker
Four days after scoring a brace in a 2-1 road win over Austin FC in MLS play, Rubio Rubin had two assists and Damir Kreilach scored twice to help RSL hold off a late push by the LA Galaxy, 3-2, and advance to the Semifinals of the US Open Cup for the first time since 2015.
Jefferson Savarino added a goal for RSL, which advanced to the final four for the third time in club history (2013, 2015, 2023) and kept alive its hopes of the club’s first CONCACAF Champions League berth since 2016.
LA’s Gaston Brugman pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute, and Douglas Costa added a golazo less than two minutes later to help the Galaxy pull within a goal.
But Gavin Beavers made four saves, including one to open seven minutes of stoppage time and help Salt Lake hold on to advance to keep its hopes of lifting the trophy for the first time. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT