Wednesday, June 11, 2008

US Open Cup First Round

The first round surely wasn’t for the Cinderellas, as all but one lower tier club went out – and that includes all PDL clubs too. Additionally, eight of the fifteen matches were won by two goals or more.

There was a diamond in the rough though, as Hollywood United’s upset USL-1 side Portland Timbers 2-1 in Portland. And although not an upset, the PDL’s Austin Aztex U23 took USL-1 Atlanta Silverbacks all the way to penalties in a barnburner.

There is some video, and the Cup’s website had some great liveblogging, but wikipedia is still the best source. Nonetheless here are the highlights of the two aforementioned matches:

Portland’s PGE Park saw drama only cup competitions could provide. The scoring in the constantly swerving match began in the 32nd minute, when Timber Chris Brown slotted in a goal from a breakthrough. When Tim Karalexis committed a foul in the box, former Timber Matt Taylor nailed it just before halftime, equalizing the affair at one-all.

Just seven minutes into the second half, Arsene Oka received a cross from Neil Dombrowski and put the Timbers up 2-1. United Defender LJ Reinhaldt committed a foul in the box just moments later, yet Takayuki Suzuki’s effort was saved by United keeper Javier Bbarragan. Adding insult to injury, Oka’s follow up rebound was hit wide right. Ouch.

What little momentum remained in the Timbers camp evaporated when Matt Taylor was, again, called upon to score from the penalty spot. Which he did, again.

Then, at the death of the already remarkable match, former Derby County youth player Earl Alexander scored for Hollywood United. 3-2 to the boys from SoCal, and onto the second round they go.

Meanwhile, at Dragon Park in Round Rock, TX (where Dell is located) Atlanta and Austin Aztex U23 played that match that saw four goals scored, eight bookings, one red card, and a perfect 5-for-5 penalty shootout.

The scoring didn’t begin until stoppage time of the first half when Real Salt Lake draft bust Jamie Watson scored for Austin. Being given a PK, Atlanta’s David Hayes missed his opportunity. Yet fortunately, Mac Kandji equalized in the 81st minute thereby sending the game to extra time.

And from there it got crazy. In the 99th, Atlanta’s Chris Mahaffery was issued a straight red for “stepping on the keeper.” In the 101st Austin’s Willy Guadarrama scored to put the Aztex' up 2-1. In the 105th Austin’s Jorge Vega was booked. In the 113th David Hayes then sliced through Austin’s defense to be one-on-one with the goalie. Yet Hayes was taken down by keeper Miguel Gallardo (who was subsequently booked) and given another penalty – which he scored. Finishing the booking fiesta was Carlos Vicens, who was given a yellow in the 116th.

Atlanta then went five for five the penalty shootout. Beto Papendrea was the goat for the Aztex’, as his miss was the difference in the match.

Below are the results of the first round. The Real Maryland/New York game was postponed to Friday evening because it was thunder-storming like crazy here.

Carolina RailHawks (USL-1) 1-0 Brooklyn Knights (PDL)
Richmond Kickers (USL-2) 3-0 Fredericksburg Gunners (PDL)

Western Mass Pioneers (USL-2) 2-0 Boston Olympiakos (USASA)

AAC Eagles (USASA) 0-4 Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL-2)
Michigan Bucks (PDL) 1-2 Cleveland City Stars (USL-1)
Minnesota Thunder (USL-1) 4-1 St. Louis Lions (USL-1)
Rochester Rhinos (USL-1) 2-1 RWB Adria (USASA)
Austin Aztex U23 (PDL) 2-2 (4-5) Atlanta Silverbacks (USL-1)

Charleston Battery (USL-1) 3-0 ASC New Stars (USASA)

Charlotte Eagles (USL-2) 5-2 Clearwater Galactics (USASA)

Miami FC (USL-1) 4-2 Brandenton Academics (PDL)

Arizona Sahuaros (USASA) 0-1 Seattle Sounders (USL-1)

Harrisburg City Islanders (USL-2) 5-1 Yakima Reds (PDL)
Los Angeles Legends (PDL) 1-2 Crystal Palace USA (USL-2)

Portland Timbers (USL-1) 1-2 Hollywood United (USASA)

Oh yeah, there was also an MLS game too. Chicago Fire beat the Crew 3-2. So congrats to the Fire.