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US Open Cup Wednesday Night Results: DC United, Seattle Sounders Advance

DC United defeated the USL-2 Richmond Kickers 2-0, and the Seattle Sounders ousted the Portland Timbers on penalty kicks Wednesday night to advance to the next round of US Open Cup play. The Houston Dynamo, Chivas USA, LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew of MLS, and the Charleston Battery and Harrisburg City Islanders of USL-2, qualified with wins Tuesday night. No USSF D2 team advanced.

DC United faced the Kickers in Fairfax, Va before a crowd of over 2,900. After a scoreless first half, DC United got it in gear as longtime DC hero Jamie Morena buried a shot past Kicker’s keeper Ronnie Pascale right after intermission, assisted from the right wing by DC’s Thabiso Khalamo. The Kickers had a chance to equalize two minutes later but a Sascha Gorres shot was knocked away by a DC United defender for a corner. Santino Quaranta doubled the score for DC United in the 57th minute, as his chip shot was deflected into the Kickers’ net. DC United held on for the win despite a good effort from Richmond. DC United outshot the Kickers 11-5, and had the advantage in corner kicks, 7-5.

Up in the Pacific Northwest, a crowd of over 15,000 jammed PGE Park to witness the USSF D2 Portland Timbers’ match against their Pacific Northwest rivals, the Seattle Sounders of MLS.   The game was also televised on Fox Sports Northwest.  The Sounders opened the scoring in the 13th minute, as lanky, long-time MLS veteran Nate Jacqua headed past Timbers’ keeper Steve Cronin.  Jacqua, just back from injury, benefitted from a lovely volley off the Timbers’ goalline by Sanna Nyassi, who’s placement of the ball was perfect.  Portland, however, picked up the pace and knotted the score in the 38th minute.  USSF D2 leading scorer Ryan Pore took possession of a poor Seattle clearance, and slid the ball to the top of the box where Bright Dike side-footed a soft shot that rolled under former US World Cup keeper Kasey Keller into the back of Seattle’s net.  Dike’s goal was his fourth in Open Cup play, and the former Columbus Crew’ first round draft choice is developing into a big threat for Portland. 

The game remained tied through 90 minutes. A scoreless 30 minutes of extra time brought the game to penalty kicks, despite Portland having a man advantage after the 101st minute as Seattle’s Taylor Graham being sent off for a second yellow card.  Seattle defender Zach Scott kicked the clinching PK to give Seattle a 4-3 advantage in penalty kicks, and a 2-1 win.  Keller saved penalty kick attempts by the Timbers’ Pore and Nate Sturgis.  Seattle will host the LA Galaxy, who were held scoreless for almost 70 minutes by a brave AC St. Louis team before winning 2-0 Tuesday night, in the next round of US Open Cup action on July 7th.   Former St. Louis DeSmet High School star Pat Noonan did not feature for the Sounders Wednesday night after scoring a goal Saturday, as Coach Sigi Schmid rested many of his regulars in this contest.

The Seattle-Portland contest was everything a US Open Cup match should be……a great rivalry forged from years of head to head competition in the old NASL and USL (that will continue next year in MLS); a big, loud enthusiastic Portland crowd;  intense play with many talented players on the field and the game being televised.  This contest is everything that the US Open Cup should and could be.   I hope that the powers that be continue to work to find a way to raise the awareness of this tournament.  We in St. Louis were very excited when our AC St. Louis team had the opportunity to play against the LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center.

A tip of the cap to those eight teams going forward into the next US Open Cup round, and although none of our rival USSF D2 teams advanced, all gave a good showing and lost in close contests.  Rochester lost 2-1 to the Columbus Crew, Miami FC lost 1-0 to the Houston Dynamo, the Austin Aztex dropped a disappointing 1-0 game to Chivas USA, AC St. Louis lost to the LA Galaxy 2-0 and of course last night’s Portland loss on penalty kicks.  A special bow to the division three Charleston Battery and Harrisburg City Islanders, who dumped the Chicago Fire and NYRB, respectively, out of the Cup.

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