Wednesday, July 02, 2008

2008 US Open Cup - Third Round sees three MLS teams go down

Last night is the perfect example of why I enjoy the US Open Cup so much. Seeing all these underweight teams try to out punch MLS sides really is enjoyable. Sure, the MLS teams see this as little more then a reserves match, but it is still good fun.

As bad as it is that MLS teams dropped three of the eight games last night, it is actually much better then last season when five top teams fell. The biggest surprise of the night took place in Maryland where Crystal Palace Baltimore (USL-2) bounced the Red Bulls out of the Open, even though they played down a man for an hour.

Ranking just below on the shock level was the Dynamo losing on kicks to the Charleston Battery (USL-1), even though Houston played up a man for 50 minutes and up 2 men for 15. Really, the defending MLS Champions were up two men for 15-minutes and could not find a way to get a goal. Not only that but the Battery's Osvaldo Alonso was still giving the Dynamo fits in the second period of overtime (Alonso must be on Kinnear's radar after last night). I think Dynamo forward Franco Caraccio summed up the whole night for his club when he collapsed to the pitch in shame after having his penalty kick stopped, thus giving the Battery the win.

The only other lose came in Seattle where the Sounders showed Chivas USA the exit. The goats have not won a USOC match since beating the Charlotte Eagles (USL-2) on 13 July 2005. This streak includes a defeat by Roma FC of the USASA.

There was almost something big in Dallas, however FCD was able to get a late stoppage time goal to take Miami 2-1.

Kansas City also needed a little rally as they were down 2-0 in the 67' minute before coming back to tie and send it to extra time where they piled on two more goals for the win.

DC United needed two goals via free kicks from Marc Burch to take down the Rhinos of Rochester. Both New England (last year's USOC champ) and the Fire (perennial USOC powerhouse) easily saw off their foes for the evening.

Here is the full list of results:
FC Dallas (MLS) 2-1 Miami FC (USL-1)
Charleston (USL-1) 1(4-3)1 Houston (MLS)
DC United (MLS) 2-0 Rochester (USL-1)
Carolina (USL-1) 2-4 Kansas City (MLS)

CP Baltimore (USL-2) 2-0 New York (MLS)
New England (MLS) 3-0 Richmond (USL-2)
Chicago (MLS) 4-1 Cleveland (USL-2)
Seattle (USL-1) 2-0 Chivas USA (MLS)

These results move the numbers a bit when it comes to higher versus lower ranked teams. Before last night, it stood at 19-2 (90.5%) for those higher ranked, but now is at 24-5 (82.75%).

It does look like home field advantage was reinstated. During the second round, home sides only went 3-5, but yesterday saw only one visitor walk away with a win.

Here is the schedule for next Tuesday night's round of eight:
Chicago Fire at DC United (Boyds, Md)
Crystal Palace (USL2) at New England (New Britain, Conn)
Charleston (USL1) at FC Dallas
Kansas City at Seattle Sounders (USL1)

Can Crystal Palace bring down two giants? Will the Battery take out both teams from the Lone Star state? Will Seattle give another MLS team an introduction to soccer in the Northwest? Can DC finally beat Chicago in a playoff situation? It will be fun to find out.

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