The third round of the US Open Cup tournament kicked off last night with 14 out of the 16 matches of the round being played. The other two games (Cal FC @ Portland; Atlanta @ Seattle) will be played tonight. Anyone following American soccer, especially MLS, will already know that out of the 14 MLS sides that played last night, exactly half of them were eliminated by 2nd, 3rd, or 4th division teams.
- LA Galaxy — Blew their third lead in three consecutive matches to be downed by the Carolina Railhawks (NASL, 2nd division). LA fielded a B-team in front of the sold out crowd in Cary, NC. What’s to note about this game is that Carolina is winless in 9 league games this year; a long plummet from the lofty heights of regular season champs in 2011.
- New England Revolution — Playing my hometown team in my hometown, New England went a man down near the end of the first half. Harrisburg City (USL, 3rd division) managed to turn up the heat in the second 45, but neither were able to scored in regulation. The real excitement came after the Revs took a 3-0 lead in extra time, then managed to piss it away by giving up three unanswered tallies to the Islanders. The ensuing PK shootout saw JT Noone (a local product of Harrisburg) have his shot saved by Rev GK Shuttleworth. After a Revs attempt by Kelyn Rowe hit the crossbar, the Islanders closed it out when their keeper Noble managed a save on former USMNT midfielder Benny Feilhaber.
- Chicago Fire — After their PDL team crashed out in the last round, Chicago came into the game against Michigan Bucks (USL-PDL, 4th division) with a fairly A-team lineup. Most of their starters saw minutes, and the teams forced extra time after being tied at two a piece. Michigan scored in the first half of extra time to make it 3-2, effectively eliminating the 2011 USOC runner’s up.
- Columbus Crew — Warzycha’s boys seemed to crank up the attack over the course of the game, with former Galaxy man Chris Birchall getting plenty of chances. Gaining the lead in the second half, the Crew’s defense collapse and coughed up two goals to Dayton (USL, 3rd division), who has not won a league game in their first eight chances (0-4-4).
- FC Dallas — Dallas is making a case for the worst team at home so far in 2012. They were rather handily dispatched by the Charlotte Eagles (USL, 3rd division) 2-0 in Frisco. Schelles Hyndman can’t be happy about the result, and what’s more worrisome is the status of top central defender George John after an injury caused him to be subbed off half way through the first 45.
- Houston Dynamo — The upstart San Antonio Scorpions (NASL, 2nd division) were fielding many former MLSers (Ryan Cochrane, Pablo Campos, etc) and managed to route a rather lethargic Dynamo squad in Houston. They needed a PK to bring it home, but San Antonio seems to have their act together for being a first year team.
- Real Salt Lake — My boys along the Wasatch Front bought out the rights to host the game from Minnesota (NASL, 2nd division), whom have gone undefeated since last October. That included an NASL championship, too. But home field advantage was a non-factor as Minnesota tallied their first in the 3rd minute. Luis Gil pulled one back for RSL late in the first half, but an 45′ Jamison Olave handball in the box cost them a successful spot kick. Insult to injury was added later in the second, and Real was downed 3-1.
In an article later today, I’ll analyze the impact of so many MLS upsets in the tournament and give a bit of opinion on why this is bad for America’s top league.
You can check out full coverage of the 2012 US Open Cup at TheCup.us.