Wednesday, July 9, 2008

On to the Round of Four

In what probably the most exciting round yet, two USL-1 sides upset their big MLS brothers, and Crystal Palace Baltimore came within a fraction of defeating the defending champions. The best part about the entire round though was the free live radio and streaming video from the Revolution, MLS and USL. Thanks guys -- Europe could learn a lot from that.

Gearing up for their inaugural SuperLiga appearance this weekend, the Revolution put out their JV squad against cinderella's Crystal Palace Baltimore/USA. Yet it almost went pear-shaped, as the USL-2 side took New England to the very brink, losing 5-3 on penalties. Charleston told FC Dallas that the third time ain't ever the charm, as they cruised to a 3-1 upset in Frisco. It took the Seattle Sounders seven attempts in the penalty shootout to dispatch the Wizards 6-5. I watched most of this match via streaming USL video, and was quite impressed with the Sounders play. Their stadium was empty, as predicted, but they should do quite fine next year in the MLS.

In typical DC United and Chicago Fire fashion, there were more bookings than goals. Yet this battle royale – which included 9 bookings – went into extra time, where a Bryan Namoff goal in the 99th put Barra Barra's boys ahead 2-1 for good. The biggest intrigue of the match was (another) brawl between Blanco, who just entered, and Marc Burch. The Washington Post has the best examination of the fracas:

In addition to his on-field conduct, which according to D.C. United defender Marc Burch included both punching and eye-gouging D.C. midfielder Clyde Simms, Blanco also allegedly head-butted a D.C. United operations employee as he was being escorted off the field, according to sources.

Here is D.C. United’s comment on the situation: “As a result of incidents last night, Major League Soccer has requested video footage, which we are preparing and will be sending to the league,” United spokesman Doug Hicks said. Hicks said MLS will have the video today.

I too am attempting to find that video, and video highlights of all the other matches. I did however find some photos which are here and here, and some vids here. So if you have any of either, do pass them along. Below are the results, home team listed first:

New England Revolution 1-1(5-3PK) Crystal Palace USA/Baltimore
DC United 2-1(AET) Chicago Fire
FC Dallas 1-3 Charleston Battery
Seattle Sounders 0-0 (6-5pk) Kansas City Wizards

The Cup goes on hiatus until August 12, four days before the Premiership starts. Here's the semifinal pairings, which, thankfully, allow a USL-1 side to make the final and, hopefully, win it:

New England at DC United
Seattle Sounders at Charleston Battery