USOC Fourth Round Wrap-Up

Eight games were on the docket last night in the fourth round of the US Open Cup. Despite not nearly as many upsets as the third round, it proved to be an exciting night of soccer in America.

Here are the results…

Chivas USA 2:1 Carolina Railhawks (AET) –Juan Agudelo and Juan Pablo Angel had the two goals for Chivas. The former scored off a Laurent Courtois cross in the 31st minute, while a second half stoppage time PK by JPA ended the hopes of a Carolina victory. The Railhawk’s lone goal came from a 79th minutes short-range blast from substitute Mike Palacio. My Prediction:  Chivas 0:1 Carolina ; Of course, My original prediction of a 2-1 Chivas win would’ve been correct, I suppose my eagerness to see more upsets went against my gut instinct on this onem

New York Red Bulls 1:3 Harrisburg City Islanders (AET) –My hometown boys stunned a largely Starting XI squad from NY, and it was another dramatic one with two goals in added extra time for Harrisburg. Sainey Touray’s brace (a 13th minute header and a 94th minute chip past Ryan Meara) proved to be the death knell of the Red Bulls. Rookie Connor Lade managed a 59th minute goal to level the game, but set piece execution ultimately doomed New York. Lackluster defense and a stellar performance from HCI goalkeeper Nick Noble preserved the win. Lucky Mkosana’s blast in the 118th added insurance to the lead. NY’s appeal for an apparently blatant handball in the box after the third goal was denied by the official. What’s more is that Touray was dropped by NYRB a couple years ago when Backe took over the team. Sweet Karma for HCI. My Prediction:  NYRB 2:3 Harrisburg ; I revised this one, too, but this time for the better. Apparently I gave too much credit to New York’s offensive efforts, though.

Philadelphia Union 2:1 DC United (AET) — A goal a piece in first half stoppage time saw the close of the first 45 end in a furious blitz. Brian Carroll and Josh Wolff were the scorers. Second half sub Antoine Hoppenot proved to be the deciding factor, as it only took him a few minutes into added extra time to put home the game winner. Emiliano Dudar has failed to acclimate himself to life in MLS so far this season, and his poor clearance allowed Hoppenot the chance at goal. Last minute red cards to DC’s Brandon McDonald and Philly’s Carlos Valdes will make Philly’s next round match-up with affiliate Harrisburg a bit more interesting, too. My Prediction:  Philly 0:2 DC ; If a mediocre offensive effort from DC hands Philly the USOC win, how will this fuel the fire of this budding rivalry in MLS play?

Dayton Dutch Lions 2:1 Michigan Bucks (AET) — Michigan forced extra time against Dayton last night with a 55th minute goal by Anthony Grant, trading Dayton’s Eli Garner’s early goal in minute 12. But the soccer warehouse wasn’t enough to stymie the opponents, as a foul in the box in added time led to a Joel DeLass PK which put Dayton ahead. A final flurry by Michigan saw chances come and go, but nothing connected to tie the game. My Prediction:  Dayton 1:3 Michigan ; My factoring in the enclosed venue for Michigan was over-zealous. After all, the Bucks are still a PDL side, and Dayton is probably taking the opportunity to prove themselves in USOC play as their league play is abysmal.

Colorado Rapids 0:2 Sporting KC –Livestrong Sporting Park was again a fortress for SKC. Teal Bunbury added the insurance goal in the 79th minute from a CJ Sapong cross, continuing his streak against the Rapids. But an own goal from GK Matt Pickens (the first by a GK in USOC’s Modern Era since 1995) in the 28th minute was all Kansas City needed. Colorado couldn’t muster much of an offensive effort, and were frustrated by the midfield and defensive play of KC. My Prediction:  Colorado 1:2 KC ; Not far off, and if Colorado could’ve organize their attack a bit better, they may have gotten a consolation tally.

Charlotte Eagles 2:1 San Antonio Scorpions (AET) — Another game forced to added extra time saw another PK become the game winning goal, this time for the lower division side. Nate Thornton opened the scoring for Charlotte in the 28th minute. A 75th minute goal by former RSL man Pablo Campos tied the game. Unfortunately for the upstart Scorpions, a handball in the box cost them the game, as a 116th minute PK attempt by Mauricio Salles was successful. San Antonio really cranked on the pressure, but a goal that late in a match is almost always dooming. My Prediction:  Charlotte 0:1 San Antonio

Cal FC 0:5 Seattle Sounders –Cal FC’s glory run ends at the hands of the Sounders. After withstanding the onslaught in the first half, Cal managed a scoreless draw at the end of 45 minutes. But an early handball in the box in the second half gave Osvaldo Alonso a PK, which he barely slotted past the Cal GK. Eight minutes later, Fredy Montero made it 2-0. Two more goals were added in the 66th (Andy Rose) and the 68th (Montero), but the second of these was argued as Sammy Ochoa was in an offside position on Montero’s shot, attempting to head it past keeper Carillo but missed the ball. The official decided there was no interference on the play, and chose to let the goal stand. The fifth blast was a beauty, as Alonso got his second of the night from a 30 yard stunner; a twisting arcing shot that confused the wrong-footed Carillo in goal, and looped into the net. Cal’s dream run ends in a demolition. My Prediction:  Cal FC 2:1 Seattle ; Over-zealous again. Wynalda’s talk of being more of a match-up than Portland, Seattle was just too “technical” to offer much advantage to the amateur side. The best thing about this is that Cal FC got national television air time from Fox Soccer, and many of their players now have the exposure to be potentially picked up by higher level teams.

Minnesota Stars 0:1 San Jose Earthquakes — The Quakes needed a last minute header by Steven Lenhart to pull past NASL’s Minnesota Stars. Both sides traded attacks throughout the game, but great saves and organized defenses at both sides provided opportunities for either team to win this one. With the “Twin Towers” of Lenhart and Alan Gordon up top for SJ, the aerial presence in the box was bound to be the demise of the Stars. Marvin Chavez’s run allowed Steven Beitashour to get into space along the flank, receiving Chavez’s ball and then looping a cross into the box. Lenhart’s towering frame dominated the air and his header was put past keeper Matt VanOekel. The 85th minute tally proved all that was necessary to move San Jose forward. My Prediction:  Minnesota 3:2 San Jose (AET) ; Originally, I had a 3-2 win for San Jose. Both of the teams’ offenses are powerful, which caused me to think a scoring frenzy would’ve been realistic. But I was wrong again, as the defensive play on both sides kept the score level until late.

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