Orlando City eliminate champion Sporting KC in wild USOC 4th Round

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By JUSTIN FERGUSON

No matter what happens during the final three rounds of what has been a wild U.S. Open Cup, one thing was sealed on Wednesday night.

There will be a new champion this year.

The 2012 champions Sporting Kansas City were dumped out of this year’s edition in the Round of 16 after USL Pro affiliate Orlando City pulled off a shock 1-0 road win.

Forward Long Tan scored the match’s only goal in the second minute, and the USL Pro side held strong to eliminate their second straight MLS opponent in the competition.

Orlando City were joined by the Carolina Railhawks as lower division teams to reach the Open Cup quarterfinals after the Railhawks defeated Chivas USA, 3-1, in extra time. D.C. United knocked off the Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers beat Tampa Bay, Real Salt Lake downed the Charleston Battery (in extra time), New England eliminated the New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas bested the Houston Dynamo in Wednesday night’s other fourth-round action. The Chicago Fire-Columbus Crew fourth-round match was postponed due to inclement weather and will be played on Thursday afternoon.

Back at Sporting Park, both Sporting KC and Orlando City were undermanned for Wednesday night’s match. While the hosts had Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, Kei Kamara and other starters out on international duty, Orlando City were missing leading scorer Dom Dwyer and three more SKC loanees from their squad.

Orlando City, who are on a dominant tear through their league schedule, were boosted by the great play of goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo after their lightning-fast opener. Gallardo made two outstanding saves at the hour mark, denying a point-blank effort from C.J. Sapong and a Paulo Nagamura shot.

The 76th-minute return of Teal Bunbury, who suffered an ACL tear in August 2012, was not enough to boost the home offense. SKC had two more close chances in second-half stoppage time, but Gallardo’s net stayed empty for the stunning upset.

Orlando City now advance to the quarterfinals of the competition, where they will face the winner of Thursday’s rescheduled match between Chicago and Columbus.

Here is a closer look at the rest of the results from Wednesday’s fourth round action in the U.S. Open Cup:

D.C. UNITED 3, PHILADELPHIA UNION 1

After three long months, D.C. United grabbed their first non-shootout win since March, a 3-1 victory over Eastern Conference rivals Philadelphia. Dwayne De Rosario led the way in his return to Ben Olsen’s starting lineup, netting all three goals for the hosts at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Philadelphia striker and league scoring machine Jack McInerney pulled one back for the Union seconds after De Rosario’s second, but the 2011 MLS MVP completed his hat trick nine minutes later with a 40-yard finish into an open net.

CAROLINA RAILHAWKS 3, CHIVAS USA 1 (AET)

NASL leaders Carolina continued their deep run into the U.S. Open Cup with a 3-1 home win over Chivas USA, who knocked the RailHawks out last season. It took extra time for the RailHawks to finish of the struggling Goats—César Elizondo and Brian Ackley delivered back-to-back goals shortly into the added period for the win at WakeMed Soccer Park. Chivas had come close to a stoppage time winner, but Walter Vilchez’s header went straight off the crossbar. With the loss, all four semifinalists in last year’s U.S. Open Cup have now been eliminated.

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION 4, NEW YORK RED BULLS 2

After a scoreless draw against D.C. United last weekend, the New England Revolution reignited their red-hot offense with four-goals against the New York Red Bulls. After a back and forth beginning, New England grabbed a second goal from Kelyn Rowe and a Dimitry Imbongo strike for a 3-1 lead. Jonny Steele tried to inspire a comeback for the visiting Red Bulls with a 61st-minute header, but Chris Tierney sealed the Revs’ spot in the final eight with just a few minutes left in the match.

FC DALLAS 3, HOUSTON DYNAMO 0

FC Dallas kept control of Texas bragging rights on Wednesday night with a dominating 3-0 home win over the Houston Dynamo. Kenny Cooper scored the first two goals for FC Dallas, and midfielder Michel played a huge part in both. The Brazilian’s cross found Andrew Jacobson, who knocked it down for Cooper’s finish in the 37th minute. Michel’s corner at the hour mark met the head of the veteran forward, and Zach Loyd finished off the rivalry win 17 minutes later with a chipped goal.

REAL SALT LAKE 5, CHARLESTON BATTERY 2 (AET)

For the opening 45 minutes on Wednesday night, the Real Salt Lake offense was all out of shape. USL Pro side Charleston had grabbed an early 2-0 lead, and the hosts looked like they were in trouble. Then RSL rattled off five unanswered goals, including three in extra time, to end the Battery’s Open Cup run. Rookie Devon Sandoval started RSL’s comeback in the 66th minute and the eventual match-winner seven minutes into the added period. Khari Stephenson and Javier Morales added goals of their own before the extra time break to seal a wild win for RSL.

PORTLAND TIMBERS 2, TAMPA BAY ROWDIES 0

For the first time in franchise history, the Portland Timbers are into the quarterfinals of the Open Cup after a 2-0 victory over the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies. Midfielder Michael Nanchoff netted the goal of the night just nine minutes into the match, a left-footed volley that brought the crowd at JELD-WEN Field to life. Jack Jewsbury came off the bench and scored his first goal of the season in the 55th minute, firing into the roof of the net off a Frederic Piquionne flick-on. Tampa Bay missed a chance to spark a comeback in the 79th minute when a Luke Mulholland free kick hit the post, and the visitors Cup dreams died with a red card 10 minutes later.

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What did you make of these results? Shocked at the defending champions’ Fourth Round exit? Surprised at D.C. United’s multi-goal win over Philadelphia? See Orlando City and Carolina pulling off any more upsets? Who is your favorite to win the Open Cup now?

Share your thoughts below.

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39 Responses to Orlando City eliminate champion Sporting KC in wild USOC 4th Round

  1. ed - houston says:

    Surprisingly, SKC fielded a strong squad despite their missing players and still lost? Don’t worry , iguess, you still havbe the CCL coming up. It’s not surprising we got eliminated, Dallas fielded a strong team vs our weak line up. Good job DC, NE, Carolina, and Orlando. Porland adn RSL beat their teams as they should.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      We’ve always had trouble with Kenny Cooper, and I think we have a basic problem in terms of forward quality that needs to be addressed this summer. In theory it looks like an interesting bunch of veterans but two injured forwards have not played, Ching and Weaver rarely score, Barnes is out of position, and we’re already playing the last F on the roster, Johnson.

      Kind of like CB, there are just not enough quality people signed to play the spot — Clark is playing CB every week now — and meanwhile we have too many surplus middies like Camargo who do squat. I think we need some summer fine tuning if we have aspirations.

      • Kingly Alexander - Sankt Pauli! says:

        Yet Camargo was a relatively big signing for Dom kinnear two seasons ago.

        Clark playing at cb is no problem. But something got to give and I think the problem might be Dom kinnear. These American coaches who went through the american system play such atrocious soccer.

        I’m glad frank yallop was fired and even though he’s figured how to win in mls, I hope doms fired. Who what’s to see bully ball soccer. It’s like having tony pulis as a coach

        • Rowsdower says:

          Seriously?

        • Hogatroge says:

          Camargo hasn’t been the same since that car accident messed up his knee, cost him a preseason, and lost him his starting spot.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Dom’s coaching and subs last night were atrocious, but the guys on the pitch (despite some poor play from Chabala, sloppy mistakes from Driver, and rookie rust from Johnson) looked pretty coordinated and in control for most of the first hour, FCD’s 1st goal excepted.

      • Rowsdower says:

        Right on. we lack depth on D and up top. As for the game as soon as I saw the lineup I knew we wouldn’t pull out a result.

      • Hogatroge says:

        Was at the game. Honestly, despite only fielding 4 starters (w/ Clark as a CB), Houston had the lion’s share of possession and control until really the 2nd Dallas goal.

        The Dynamo didn’t generate a single real chance before half, though, and Chewie was especially poor from the LB position. After FCD went up, Houston started pouring it on but couldn’t finish for the life of them. After FCD went up 2-0, Houston crumpled and FCD started to shine.

        It’s really a shame. The reserve guys were taking the game pretty seriously, even if Dom wasn’t. Set piece defending aside, Boswell was dominant, and Creavalle…at least for the first hour…looked like the next incarnation of Rico Clark (pre-Ghana).

        It didn’t help that Dom made 3 very poor substitutions. Even chasing a goal late, taking out a midfielder for Weaver was nonsensical when Houston had basically had their way through the center of the pitch all game.

        Credit to Cooper… He always seems to be in the right place at the right time, even if he contributes almost 0 to the play on the pitch.

        Interesting note: the FCD fans heckled Hassli at pretty much every touch. It’s been a while since I’ve seen fans boo their own players.

    • Josh says:

      I wouldn’t say SKC fielded a strong team. They fielded a solid team, but mostly because they don’t have a lot of pure backups now. When you take away six players for national duty and four more loaned players, you lose nearly a full roster of players. The loan system helps guys like Dwyer who get to play regularly. But it comes at the cost of losing a reserve team meaning these backup guys like Ellis and Olum get few to zero minutes of gametime. Just part of the tradeoff.

      That being said, SKC deserved to lose last night. Nobody looked like they cared and it showed. Orlando killed them with onside runs most of the night and SKC looked helpless against 10 men packing the box. Hope Orlando continues the run with Dwyer scoring infinite goals

  2. NC Jeff says:

    At this point in the competition, the MLS teams start to take it seriously as they realize they’re actually pretty close to a CCL berth. So, I’d expect Orlando and Carolina to have to now knock off nearly full-strength MLS squads … plus, at least for Carolina, that would be on the road their next time out. But, that’s for another day … for now, Congrats to Orlando and Carolina – enjoy this, you’ve earned it. Now, go see if you can keep it going!

    For Charleston – that’s agonizing … a 2-goal lead and just 24 minutes left to go … with an appetizing home game vs. Carolina looming for the next round.

    Oh, for SKC, this is the 2nd game in this competition that an MLS squad has faced a lower-division squad they loaned players to … and “just happend” to need to recall them. Sounds like clear gamesmanship to me.

    • Jerrod says:

      It’s not gamesmanship, it’s common sense. In England, loaned players aren’t allowed to play against the team that loaned them.

      • SanFran415 says:

        The difference being that England doesn’t have an MLS-USL affiliate program designed for player movement back and forth.

        When a team can have half their squad from their top level affiliate out that’s ridiculous.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Orlando won.

          They get to use their players against anyone but the loan club, which is a pretty good deal. It improves squad quality and the quality of the sales product as well. To me the idea that the loan club cannot then be clubbed over the head with its own body parts is a fair tradeoff.

    • Lost in Space says:

      It is actually common in most leagues that if you play a club at which you have loaned players that those players are contractually barred from participating in the match. This is not something unique to the MLS. It happens all the time in Open Cup matches across europe.

    • shark says:

      A loaned player can’t play against his parent club, nothing to do with recalling

    • Josh says:

      In addition to the “get over it” vibe about loaned players, SKC has no players loaned to Des Moines (who they beat in the last round). That is all

  3. Puffer says:

    I love how NY loses 4-2 and then the coach calls the Revs a mediocre team. What does that make the Red Bulls?

    • slowleftarm says:

      Wow, did he say that? He’s right but RBNY put in an absolutely awful performance. Can’t think of a single player who didn’t stink it up last night. Especially Holgersson.

    • Brain Guy says:

      It doesn’t help when your best attacker (Henry) and your best defender (Olave) don’t play because they don’t like the FieldTurf. It’s a concession to reality (and old legs), I suppose, but it’s annoying, especially when it’s the only game in the middle of a three-week break from MLS play.

    • Charles says:

      He is sort of right, although I like New England’s team…..but NYs defense is not mediocre.

      • Puffer says:

        Oh I agree, I mean they are middle of the standings in the East. Just thought it was strange comment.

  4. Josh D says:

    As a DC fan, it’s good to finally win again. Glad DeRo could show Benny that it’s foolish to leave him off. However, one win doesn’t erase the abysmal squad and tactics we have. Let’s hopefully use this tiny momentum to push forward one step at a time. Also glad to see Long Tan do well.

    A lot of critics dismissed Sandoval. Glad to see him prove them wrong.

  5. Brain Guy says:

    I know the rules about loans permit it, but there is something terrific about Orlando beating SKC after SKC took back three loanees from Orlando’s squad.

    • Josh says:

      Again, just so everybody is still clear, they didn’t take back three loanees. They’re still at Orlando City. They just didn’t allow their own players to play against them. It’s commonplace in any league that allows loaned players. Get over it people

  6. Eurosnob says:

    USSF should require the leagues to have promotion relegation. The teams in lower tier league deserve a fair shot at getting to the top league. The open cup is the only chance for them to square against the “big boys” and quite a few MLS teams were sent home by the lower tier opposition.

    • Brian says:

      The quality of the leagues would die with pro/rel in the U.S. It works in other countries because the major media markets are represented by several teams. If NYRB, DC United, Chicago Fire, or any team in a major market drops the television contract would be worth a lot less than it is right now. All teams would lose money and the talent level would drop. When a team drops from MLS to NASL the club will get gutted for a lack of revenue and have a strong possibility of dying.

      MLS is still expanding and some of these “giant killers” have a chance to be in the top league. I would prefer an old MLB structure with two 16/18-team tables with no inter-league games splitting the country between East and West.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Most MLS sides don’t take the US Open Cup seriously. They prioritize MLS matches the following weekend and preventing injuries to key players. Especially when key players (Zusi, etc.) are away on national team duty.

      Coaches know that they won’t lose their jobs over a USOC loss (at least, only over that). Players know that a poor performance in the USOC probably won’t cost them their spot in league matches. Plus, in a single-elimination tournament with multiple rounds, the odds of winning it all are relatively slim. Not saying it’s a good philosophy…just saying there are reasons why MLS squads mostly don’t care. Usually, you won’t see the A team until the semifinals. Also, it’s hard to get motivated when you’re playing in front of 15-20% of the fans you normally see.

      That said, lower division teams have a chip on their shoulders. They see this opportunity to take the big boys down a peg or two. They don’t have the chance to win an MLS Cup and go to the CCL. Honestly… you think Orlando City (props to them) would rather have the USOC or the MLS Supporter’s Shield/MLS Cup? Easy choice.

      That said, the USOC is a much more alluring prize for lower division teams.

      • 407 says:

        It’s only an easy choice because it isn’t presently possible, to state the obvious. Understood you mean hypothetically, but given OC isn’t in MLS, then we can’t presently win MLS Cup. As an OC supporter, I for one would rather have MLS Cup and Supporter’s Shield if/when we’re in MLS, over the USOC, and it isn’t because we wouldn’t also love to have the USOC, too, or all 3 held at the same time. But presently MLS Cup would be the grand prize comparatively. Until then (hopefully), we want the USLPro Cup every year, and the Supporter’s Shield, and we sure as heck want to take as big of a bit out of USOC as we can.

  7. Neruda says:

    If the MLS teams were playing to stay in MLS you’d see far less upsets. MLS teams would start all their regular starters except internationals. Then again I’m not sure why I’m even commenting on another useless statement about pro/ rel.

  8. Gnarls says:

    Happy to see a few upsets last night. My pick for USOC is Portland. They’re good and getting better.