Wednesday, July 2, 2008

US Open Cup Third Round recap

Finally, some giant killings!

The biggest of 'em all though was my adopted club Crystal Palace USA, the USL-2 minnows, defeating the corporate giants Red Bull New York/New York Red Bulls/the New York Red Bulls 2-0 with just 10 men. Charleston and Seattle were the other underdogs to prevail, defeating Houston and Chivas USA respectively. But, with all do respect, is defeating reserve and fringe squads really an upset? I say not really, but thats up to you.

When most bigger clubs participate in their opening rounds, several stars are rested. NYRB left out Jon Conway, Dane Richards, Seth Stammler, Oscar Echeverry, and Dave van den Bergh; while Juan Pablo Angel and Claudio Reyna were out with injuries. Their absence greatly affected the side, as Crystal Palace's Ibrahm Kante was given a straight red in just the 34th minute, yet it availed to nothing. Yet Palace, who were without striker Kevin King and coach Pete Medd, didn't seem to mind all the absences and cruised to the victory thanks to goals by Andrew Marshall and Gary Brooks.

With Pat Onstad and Craig Waibel on the bench, and no Dwayne De Rosario, Brian Ching, or Ricardo Clarke, it was déjà vu for the Houston Dynamo. For the second year in a row they bow out to the Charleston Battery in extra-time. Or after extra time, as this year's match went to penalties. Whats empathic about the Dynamo's loss is that two Battery players were sent off. In fact, 10 players were booked between both sides. Although Houston tied up the match at 1-1 in the 89th, Charleston hung on until penalties whereupon they squeaked by 4-3.

Chivas USA have a brief history in the MLS, which has a brief history in of itself, but they're already on the fast track to being the biggest bottlers of the league (if only New England would win a damn title). Again with the déjà vu stuff, Chivas exits the competition early by the hands of the Seattle Sounders. Yet unlike NY and Houston, Chivas fielded a halfway decent side as USMNT future hopefuls Brad Guzan and Sacha Kljestan featured. Yet Taylor Graham and Sebastian Le Toux's goals were enough to see Seattle through.

Other highlights of the third round were Kansas City's comeback victory against Carolina, and FC Dallas' last second victory against Miami. Already down 2-0 in the 57th minute, KC kept plugging away at the lead -- or Carolina choking it away. Wizard Claudio Lopez's goal from the penalty spot in the 81st minute sent the match to extra time, wherein Ivan Trujillo scored his second of the match, and Ryan Pore added another goal from the spot to advance KC 4-2. And FC Dallas were en route to embarrassment as visiting Miami jumped out to a 1-0 lead in just the 7th minute thanks to Alex Alfonso. Yet Abe Thompson's goals in both stoppage times, including a fanciful header in the 92nd, was enough to redeem the home side, and save off any upset.

Below are the results, home team listed first (who went 7 for 8):

Seattle Sounders 2-0 Chivas USA
DC United 2-0 Rochester Rhinos
Carolina RailHawks 2-4(AET) Kansas City Wizards
Charleston Battery 1-1(4-3) Houston Dynamo
FC Dallas 2-1 Miami FC
Crystal Palace USA 2-0 New York Red Bulls
New England 3-0 Richmond
Chicago Fire 4-1 Cleveland City Stars