Wednesday, June 25, 2008

US Open Cup Second Round

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would be quite skeptical of this year's Second Round.

One match was decided by a penalty shootout, two by last minute penalties, and one in extra time. And each victor, excluding the shootout, was a USL-1 side over their USL-2 little brothers. Oh, and lets not forget eight players and one coach were sent off. Yikes.

Below are the results, and a some brief highlights (home team in CAPS):

Richmond Kickers 2-1 WESTERN MASS PIONEERS
USL-2 foes played a scoreless first half that would give way two goals in just under the first twenty minutes of the second. Kicker Kevin Jones scored in the 59th minute, which was quickly answered by Pioneer Jeff Deren in the 63rd. Richmond's Stanley Nyazamba put the Kickers ahead for good in the 84th, but the real drama was the unraveling of sportsmanship immediately thereafter -- or the Referee going nuts. In just the 90th minute alone, Western Mass' Matt Glaeser and Frederico Molinari were booked for the second time, and Anthony Augustine given a straight red. Conversely, Kicker Evan Harding was booked, and Pat Viran was also shown a red card.

Crystal Palace USA 2-2(3-1pk) HARRISBURG CITY ISLANDERS
Another all-USL-2 tie, the highlight of this match was Palace coach Pete Medd being given a red card -- presumably for arguing. Harrisburg was given a penalty in the 120th mintue, and Yu Hoshide scored for the home side. Yet Crystal Palace would go on to trounce in penalties, winning 3-1.

ROCHESTER RAGING RHINOS 3-0 Pittsburgh Riverhounds
The USL-2 Riverhounds were no match for USL-1 Rochester. Menyongar, Salles, and Kreamalmeyer scored for Rochester.

MIAMI FC 1-0 Atlanta Silverbacks
Alex Alfonso's goal in the 40th was the only highlight of this tepid, rainy USL-1 affair. Although congrats to Miami for making it past the Second Round for the first time ever.

Cleveland City Stars 2-0 MINNESOTA THUNDER
The only upset in the Second Round, the USL-2 side Cleveland handily defeated Minnesota in Minnesota. Floyd Franks scored twice for the City Stars in extra time, who now face another Midwest foe, MLS' Chicago Fire.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS 6-0 Hollywood United F.C.
Cinderella's carriage definitely became a pumpkin last night when four goals from S├ębastien Le Toux (two in the first half), saw Hollywood United's cup dreams end emphatically. Just five minutes into the match Zach Scott scored for Seattle. Josh Gardiner added another ten minutes later, and then Le Toux went on his scoring run, as at halftime it was 4-0 and curtains.

CAROLINA RAILHAWKS 1-0 Real Maryland Monarchs
A close knit affair saw Real Maryland succumb to the higher level RailHawks via a 90th minute penalty kick. An identical situation occurred just 287 miles south when...

CHARLESTON BATTERY 2-1 Charlotte Eagles
Another 90th minute pk saw a the lower tier club lose out to the home, upper tier side. Hmm...am I seeing a pattern here or what?

Nonetheless, only one USL-2 team upset a USL-1 side. Only three away teams won, and just three matches were won by two or more goals.

The Third Round is next week on July 1, as the MLS now get involved. Luckily Crystal Palace USA won, so I'll (hopefully) be in attendance as they take on NYRB.