June 29, 2011

2011 USOC Recap: Third Round

Last night, the third round proper, or round of 16, commenced in the 2011 edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The round featured eight MLS teams who earned byes to this round. These MLS clubs either qualified for the third round proper by finishing in the top six overall in 2010 or qualifying for the final two entry spots through a chain of play-in propers.

Of the eight MLS sides to play last night, seven of them won their match, advancing to the quarterfinals. The odd one out was Columbus Crew, who fell 2-1 thanks to a late, 85th minute goal from the Richmond Kickers' Matthew Delicate. The Kickers will take on Sporting Kansas City on July 12.

The Chicago Fire organization had two of its clubs compete in the third round of the tournament. Their MLS franchise, and their PDL counterparts. While the MLS Fire earned a gritty 1-0 victory at Rochester Rhinos, the PDL Fire were routed 3-0 by rivals Sporting Kansas City. The match saw Sporting's Teal Bunbury score his first goal for the club since coming back from injury.

While talking about New York state, F.C. New York may seem like an obscure team, a cliche name, all complimented by a crest that looks to have been drawn in MSPaint, but New York Red Bulls players, coaches and supporters got a glimpse of their unknown threat as FCNY's Gary Baughton drilled a screamer from 30 yards out giving FCNY a stunning 1-0 lead. However, thanks to first round draft pick, Corey Hertzog and Rooney...John Rooney, the Red Bulls bagged two quick goals in the span of six minutes, winning the match 2-1.

Heading down southwest to Frisco, Texas; FC Dallas took on upstart USL expansion side, Orlando City in the third round. Orlando City, colloquially known as the Lions, got off to a roaring start (no pun intended), as City's Max Griffin gave the visitors a 1-0 lead inside 25 minutes. Their stunning lead was short-lived as Dallas' Jackson leveled things in the 34th minute. Dallas nabbed the lead in the 50th minute, thanks to a Ricardo Villar goal. Subsequently, the match, for awhile, looked destined for Dallas to earn a quarterfinal berth. However, as injury time begun, City tied things at 2-2 thanks to a strike from Yordany Alvarez. City's hopes and ambitions quickly vaporized as almost immediately thereafter, Dallas' Milton Rodriguez netted for the fifth time on the evening, giving the hosts the 3-2 victory and date against RSL in the quarterfinals.

Lastly, well head over to the West Coast where the Los Angeles Galaxy, the defending MLS Supporters' Shield winners, had a similar setup to the Red Bulls: a rather unknown opponent playing under the regional monicker. Otherwise known as the Los Angeles Blues. The Blues, a mid-table team playing in the third division, seemed to make a name for themselves when Blues' Cesar Rivera scored in the 62nd minute. It was shortly thereafter we discovered that the Galaxy's Mike Magee was not only good in the net, but fantastic in the penalty box, as Magee sealed a 2-1 victory for the Galaxy in the 81st minute. The goal, only came moments following Omar Gonzalez's 77th-minute equalizer.

An impressive crowd a hair shy of 8,000 ventured to Rio Tinto Stadium to see Real Salt Lake defeat Wilmington Hammerheads, 2-0. The Hammerheads, only traveling with 15 players were outmatched the duration of the match. Meanwhile, RSL made it to the quarterfinals for the first time in franchise history. Last year, they lost to D.C. United in the qualification finals.

Wrapping things up, we take things up to the Pacific Northwest, where the two-time defending champions, Seattle Sounders FC, looked to earn the Open Cup's first trifecta since 1967. In their way stood fourth division PDL side, Kitsap Pumas. The Pumas, coached by a member of the Sounders MLS organization share with local media the joking going on about coaching against his own employer and the surreal setting it cause. In the end, Sounders' Michael Fucito came up big score two goals in the 39th and 62nd minute giving the Sounders a 2-1 lead. Kitsap's Nick Besango would score a consolation goal in the 71st minute of play, but it would be too little, too late.

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Tyler Walter

Author & Editor

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