U.S. Soccer

The Great Eight Quarterfinal Edition (So Far): Captains, Collisions & Cloudbursts

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is known for its magic moments. And the Quarterfinal round of the competition, now in its 104th year, tossed up a good few of those between July 10 and 13. Take a look back at eight moments of note from three games (and one biblical rain-out) where San Jose Earthquakes and New York Red Bulls took a step closer to their first Open Cup crown and Sporting Kansas City, and their perfect defense, cemented their status as title favorites. 

Aye, Aye Captains
There was an awkward exchange at the pre-game coin toss of the San Jose Earthquakes - LA Galaxy Quarterfinal. LA’s captain Jelle Van Damme leaned in for a bro-hug that San Jose’s skipper Chris Wondolowski wasn’t prepared for, and only half-committed to. Just a few minutes later, with four gone on the clock, Van Damme nodded home from a Gio Dos Santos corner-kick. The Belgian big man, who loves nothing more than to play the heel, taunted the home fans at Avaya Stadium and channeled his best Gorgeous George. But soon after, the other captain had his say. Quakes legend Wondolowski – straight-laced foil to Van Damme’s cartoon villainy – was unerring with his finish. He slammed home low from outside the box, a rare long-ranger from this penalty box stalker, which led the way to a 3-2 win for San Jose in yet another Cali-Clasico where there was no love lost.   

 
San Jose's Chris Wondolowski (left) and LA's Jelle Van Damme (center) speak with the referee during a break in play.
Photo credit: Aaron Morgan/Quakes Talk

The Way in San Jose
Sometimes a team just clicks in a Cup. That’s the way it’s been with San Jose who, far from flailing following the firing of coach Dominic Kinnear, are playing with pizzazz in the 2017 edition. Wondo’s got two goals – no surprise there. But the young guns are contributing beyond their years. Twenty-year-old Jackson Yueill scored four minutes into his first professional game back in the Fourth Round against SF Deltas, and Tommy Thompson, just 21, has been a vision of dynamism and acceleration through midfield, assisting on two goals in the win over the Galaxy. As if that’s not enough, Jahmir Hyka, known as the Albanian Messi, and Dutch import Danny Hoesen are pitching in that little bit of technical nous that make the Quakes so tricky. “Maybe you can tell we’re having a lot of fun out here,” Hyka told ussoccer.com. “Football’s easy when you keep the ball and enjoy yourself.”  

SKC Play the Sub Game
Sporting Kansas City played most of regulation – 75 minutes in all – a man down after Seth Sinovic saw red for a professional foul in the marquee Quarterfinal against reigning title holders FC Dallas. But a clever chess move by coach Peter Vermes changed everything at the start of extra-time. Brazil-born creator Benny Feilhaber, just back from an ankle injury, jogged on the pitch and turned the game on its head. He assisted on two of the three goals Kansas City scored in the next 30 minutes and his cleverness led to a red card for Dallas’ Javier Morales that effectively ended the game by forcing the holders to play with nine. The final goal in the rout was scored by young Daniel Salloi, just 20, a recent arrival from Hungary. Salloi’s father watches all his son’s games – whether he plays or not – streamed live in Budapest. But Papa Salloi only wakes Mama Salloi when her boy enters the field. It was approximately 2:30 a.m. Hungary Time when Papa woke Mama, who we hope hadn’t dozed back off before seeing her boy score the third.

Opara: Up & Down
There was a terrifying moment in Kansas City’s Quarterfinal against Dallas when Maxi Urruti went up blindly for a bicycle-kick. He wasn’t to know that Sporting’s all-action center-back Ike Opara planned to throw his face in the way. When Urruti’s foot made contact with Opara’s skull, the defender was knocked out cold before he hit the ground. Urruti received a second yellow for the reckless play, but his first thought was for his fallen opponent, and fellow professional, Opara, who’s had his share of injuries in recent years including an Achilles tendon rupture that nearly ended his career. Urruti’s tears were heartfelt and his concern palpable. Opara’s thumbs-up when he was wheeled off on a gurney drew one of the biggest roars on a night marked by incident and excitement. We hope to see Opara out on the pitch as soon as he’s well – the Open Cup’s not the same without him.

 

Melia, Sporting’s Rock
Speaking of SKC’s impenetrable defense, let’s not forget to tip our cap to goalkeeper Tim Melia. A former MLS pool loanee who took his time locking down a starting spot in the top tier, he’s now among the cream of the league’s ‘keepers. His cat-like reflex save on Urruti in the dying moments of regular time rescued the game for the home team. Though he’s quick to deflect attention away from himself and toward the team in front of him, Melia’s hands-down the lynchpin of MLS’s best defense. He’s recorded eight shutouts in all competitions and has yet to concede a goal in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup. Not bad for a guy who’s paid more dues than most.

Weather, or Not…
One of the glorious things about the Open Cup is that you know you’ll have a winner on the day. All the players talk about it – win and move on or lose and go home. There’s one problem: It’s not always true! Sometimes, the weather alone wins out. That’s what happened in Miami when a biblical storm system, complete with thunder, lighting and torrential rains, swooped in off the seas and parked over Riccardo Silva Stadium on the evening of July 12, the same night FC Cincinnati (USL) were in town to play Miami FC (NASL) in one of the most anticipated Open Cup Quarterfinals of recent years. The winner would be the first team from outside Major League Soccer (MLS) to reach a Semifinal since 2011. But instead of a game, the home fans – and a couple hundred who traveled from Ohio – drank beer and palled around under the stands until the game was officially called. Good news, it’s been rescheduled. We’ll do it all over again in Miami on August 2. Fingers crossed for sunshine! 

 

Diego No-Go
New England Revolution’s homegrown midfielder Diego Fagundez, with the club since he was 11, stood over the ball for a free-kick. Against New York Red Bulls at Harvard University, the ball was exactly where it was a few weeks earlier on that same Jordan Field when Fagundez curled it elegantly into the top corner against D.C. United. Before that game, the 22-year-old told teammate Chris Tierney that he was “going to score a free-kick today.” It was a prophecy, and it came true. This time, however, Fagundez stepped over as a decoy and let Tierney have a go. The ball hit the wall and deflected lazily away from danger. Maybe Tierney had a prophecy too, but it didn’t come true. It seemed to encapsulate the day for New England, who went down to ten men and gave up a late goal to lose – for the second time in eight days – to their big rivals from down the I-95 corridor. 

BWP and the Killer Instinct
Bradley Wright-Phillips
. The uttering of his name must sound like the worst part of a bad dream for opposition defenders. The 32-year-old English striker made a career out of prowling the penalty area like a predator, playing just off the shoulder of the last defender and hunting goals. The Red Bulls’ Quarterfinal was tangled at 0-0 and headed for extra-time against the Revolution. It was one of those nights when neither attacking line had much to do. It’s precisely that time when Wright-Phillips is most dangerous – when forgotten. With three minutes left in a feisty contest, he pointed his finger out in front of him after gaining an inch, maybe, on his marker. Felipe saw the slight gesture and sent the ball where it was requested. BWP held off his man and spun, all in one motion, toe-poking past the onrushing ‘keeper. It happened so fast and, like that, the game was over.

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U.S. Open Cup Jul 17, 2017

Sporting KC, Miami FC vs. FC Cincinnati Winner to Host 2017 U.S. Open Cup Semifinals

CHICAGO (July 14, 2017) – The Draw to determine the Semifinal hosts and hosting priority for the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final took place Friday morning at Soccer House in Chicago. Sporting Kansas City will host the San Jose Earthquakes in the West Semifinal on Aug. 9, while the winner of the Aug. 2 Quarterfinal between Miami FC and FC Cincinnati will host the New York Red Bulls in the East Semifinal.

Should Miami FC advance, they would welcome the Red Bulls on Aug. 9. If FC Cincinnati prevails, however, they take on New York in the Queen City on Aug. 15.

2017 U.S. Open Cup Semifinal Bracket

Immediately following the Draw to determine the Semifinal hosts, the Draw to determine the hosting priority for the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Final was held. The names of all five potential Finalists were placed in separate envelopes (except for Miami FC and FC Cincinnati sharing the same envelope and representing the winner of the Quarterfinal game still to be played between the two clubs) and drawn at random to set the priority ranking. The resulting order was drawn as follows: Sporting Kansas City, New York Red Bulls, Miami FC/FC Cincinnati and San Jose Earthquakes.

Sporting Kansas City has first priority to host the Sept. 20 Final should they win their Semifinal against the San Jose Earthquakes. Second Priority went to the New York Red Bulls with Miami FC (NASL) and FC Cincinnati (USL) still in the running to host should either Division II side beat New York Red Bulls in the East Semifinal and Kansas City lose the West Semifinal to San Jose. The only team of not eligible to host the Final by dint of its draw positioning is San Jose.

Of the five teams still in contention in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup, only Sporting Kansas City has previously won the competition. They lifted the Dewar Cup most recently in 2015 and were also crowned champions of the now 104-year-old cup competition (oldest in the U.S. and third-oldest in the world) in 2012 and 2004. The San Jose Earthquakes have never reached an Open Cup Final while New York Red Bulls reached one in 2003, finishing runners-up to the Chicago Fire. Miami FC and FC Cincinnati have never reached this far in an Open Cup competition. Both teams come from Division II of the U.S. Soccer pyramid and are only in their second season as clubs.

2017 U.S. Open Cup Semifinals

Date

Game

Time

Venue

Aug. 9 Miami FC (NASL) vs. New York Red Bulls (MLS) 7:30 p.m. ET Riccardo Silva Stadium (Fla. International Univ.); Miami, Fla.
     -or-    
Aug. 15 FC Cincinnati (USL) vs. New York Red Bulls (MLS) 8 p.m. ET Nippert Stadium (Univ. of Cincinnati); Cincinnati, Ohio
Aug. 9 Sporting Kansas City (MLS) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 7:30 p.m. CT Children's Mercy Park; Kansas City, Kan.

2017 U.S. Open Cup Final

Date

Game

Time

Venue

Sept. 20 Sporting Kansas City (MLS) vs. Miami FC (NASL)/FC Cincinnati (USL)/New York Red Bulls (MLS) winner TBD Children's Mercy Park; Kansas City, Kan.
     -or-    
  New York Red Bulls (MLS) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) TBD Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.
     -or-    
  Miami FC (NASL) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) TBD Riccardo Silva Stadium (Fla. International Univ.); Miami, Fla.
     -or-    
  FC Cincinnati (USL) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) TBD Nippert Stadium (Univ. of Cincinnati); Cincinnati, Ohio
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U.S. Open Cup Jul 14, 2017

Open Cup Quarterfinal Between Miami FC and FC Cincinnati Rescheduled for Aug. 2

CHICAGO (July 14, 2017) – The postponed 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal game between Miami FC and FC Cincinnati has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 2. Miami FC will host the match, which is set to kick-off at 7:30 p.m. ET, at Riccardo Silva Stadium on the campus of Florida International University in Miami.

The game was originally scheduled to be played at the same stadium on July 12 but was postponed due to dangerous weather in South Florida.

The winner of the Miami FC-FC Cincinnati Quarterfinal will host the New York Red Bulls on Aug. 9 in the Open Cup East Semifinal. Miami FC from the North American Soccer League (NASL) and FC Cincinnati of the United Soccer League (USL) are the last two remaining Division II sides in the competition. No side from below Major League Soccer (MLS) has reached an Open Cup Semifinal since Richmond Kickers in 2011.

2017 U.S. Open Cup Semifinal Bracket
Click to download your bracket!

The three other 2017 U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals have been played with the San Jose Earthquakes beating the LA Galaxy 3-2 on July 10 and Sporting Kansas City knocking out defending champions FC Dallas 3-0 (AET) on July 11. The New York Red Bulls defeated the New England Revolution 1-0 at Jordan Field on the campus of Harvard University on July 13.

The West Semifinal between Kansas City and San Jose is scheduled for Aug. 9 at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be played at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.

The 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the 104th installment of the competition, the third-longest consecutively running cup competition in the world and the oldest cup competition in the United States. The winner qualifies directly for the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League, where a chance to reach the FIFA Club World Cup is on offer.


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U.S. Open Cup Jul 14, 2017

Heartbreak Déjà Vu for Revs as Red Bulls Score Late Dagger, Reach Open Cup Semis

BOSTON (July 13, 2017) – New England Revolution suffered a second heartbreak at the hands of hated rivals New York Red Bulls in the space of just eight days when Bradley Wright-Phillips popped up in the 87th minute to seal a 1-0 win for the visitors on a cold night in Boston. The 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal, played at Jordan Field on the campus of Harvard University, was testy from the opening whistle, with the Revs going down a man and suffering a second straight late loss to the Red Bulls, who now move on to the last four. 

The Revolution were the livelier team in the early stages of the first-half. A couple of tough tackles by giant defender Andy Farrell clearly signaled the home side were eager to avenge their heart-breaking league loss last week at Foxboro that midfielder Diego Fagundez said: “hurt more than most.” After just nine minutes, a fine piece of interplay between Fagundez, Kei Kamara and Lee Nguyen – starting his first 2017 Open Cup game – led to a dangerous shot from Chris Tierney that was blocked by a sliding scrum of Red Bulls defenders. The shouts from the Revolution attackers seemed to indicate they thought the effort was blocked illegally, perhaps with a hand. But the referee had other ideas. 

The Red Bulls began to grow into the game around the 23rd minute, with chief creator Sacha Kljestan at the heart of all their dangerous moves. The New York captain was sending in devious service from corner-kicks and piercing long balls from the run of play, aiming for the channels and livewire striker – opportunist extraordinaire, Wright-Phillips.

By the time the half-hour mark arrived, it was the Red Bulls who were asking all the questions. Kljestan got on the end of a beautiful six-pass build-up along the right side, but his shot let him down and was well smothered by Brad Knighton in the Revolution goal. The visitors’ best chance of the period came shortly after, in the 41st minute, when a snap-shot from inside the area by Wright-Phillips forced another dazzling reflex save from Knighton, who was the only change in either Starting XI from the two teams’ meeting last week. 

 

The Revolution came out from the Harvard University locker room (a five-minute walk away from the pitch and inside an ice rink) pressing high and hard on the Red Bulls. Although they managed to disrupt the New Jersey-based side’s rhythm coming out of the back, they were unable to create much in the way of concrete scoring chances. The one opportunity of note they did carve out fell to Teal Bunbury, who used his big frame to hold off a defender and charge in on goal. But instead of testing the keeper, he hit his effort wide of the post. Instead of the goal it looked to be, the Revs were hoofing back the other way and readying for a goal-kick. 

The Revolution had another chance in the 74th minute – and it would turn out to be their last before everything fell apart. An inch-perfect, looping ball over the defense by Lee Nguyen was misjudged by Kamara. With the net at his mercy, the striker couldn’t quite decide whether to head for goal or control. In the end, he did neither and the play disintegrated.

In the very next minute, the Revs night went from bad night to game-over when Benjamin Angoua was shown a straight red for what the ref considered a stamp on Wright-Phillips. The home bench was furious with the decision, slightly less so than the fans who breathed a sigh of relief when Kljestan’s arcing shot hit the woodwork from the resulting restart. 

 

The reprieve was short-lived. In the 87th minute, Wright Phillips popped up in the right place at the right time to poke home with his toe and kill off the game. It was a bread-and-butter finish for the English predator, who raced in behind the Revolution defense and held off a challenge before poking home a slide-rule piece of service from Felipe. 

The 1-0 win sends the New York Red Bulls to the Semifinal round of the Open Cup for the first time since 2003. They will play the winner of the all-Division II Quarterfinal between Miami FC (NASL) and FC Cincinnati (USL) that was postponed for heavy weather last night and has yet to be rescheduled. The Red Bulls, who have never won an MLS Cup or an Open Cup, may just be sensing silverware in their future.

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U.S. Open Cup Jul 13, 2017

Wondo Spurs Quakes Past LA, into Open Cup Semis

SAN JOSE, CA. (July 10, 2017) LA Galaxy defender Jelle Van Damme scored early, but the San Jose Earthquakes roared back with two goals from talisman Chris Wondolowski and one from Danny Hoesen to win 3-2 at Avaya Stadium in the South Bay, ending the Galaxy’s 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run while booking themselves a place in the Semifinal round. 

On July 1, during a Major League Soccer match at Stanford Stadium, Van Damme scored spectacularly on a set-piece to give his team an early lead, only to watch the San Jose Earthquakes come from behind to secure a 2-1 victory with a game-winner in second-half stoppage time.

 

Tonight it was a different stadium, a different competition, different goal-scorers for the Quakes and not as much late drama - but the sense of déjà vu certainly hung in the air on the warm northern California night as San Jose earned a deserved victory. 

Despite both teams being impacted by injuries and CONCACAF Gold Cup call-ups, both coaches sent out strong sides.

Galaxy Strike Early
Van Damme had not scored in his MLS career before his powerful volley on July 1, but he did it again to the Quakes tonight, tallying off a set-piece in just the third minute, this time hitting home with his head while the ‘Quakes defense dozed.

Forward Giovani dos Santos, making his first appearance since returning from international duty with Mexico at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, bent in a corner-kick from the left side. Van Damme skied over German defender Florian Jungwirth to power home his header from six yards out and past stunned Earthquakes keeper Andrew Tarbell, who got the nod in place of usual starter David Bingham.

It took San Jose only 13 minutes to level the score and it was no surprise to see Wondolowski’s name up on the scoreboard. Wondolowski wore #38 instead of his usual #8 in tribute to Matheus Silva, his young Brazilian teammate who is recovering from a serious swimming accident he sustained on the Fourth of July in Lake Tahoe.

Wondolowski received a square ball from Tommy Thompson at the top of the penalty area and when Galaxy midfielder Rafael Garcia did not close quickly enough, he smacked a seeing-eye left-footed shot through traffic from 22 yards out that skidded into the lower left corner.

Dos Santos had two good chances in the first half, one coming on a silky chip in the 11th minute that almost floated over Tarbell before he dove backward to push the ball over the bar, and the other after nice solo run in the 40th minute that resulted in a shot blocked by a scrambling defender. But it was the Quakes who looked more likely to get another before the half.

 

In the 31st minute, Albanian Jahmir Hyka redirected a hard service into the box to send a nifty back heel off the underside of the crossbar at the upper right corner. A few minutes later, Nick Lima hit a screamer from distance that sailed just outside the upper right corner. The lively Hoesen also had a good look at goal in the 43rd minute when he latched onto a ball inside the penalty area on the right side, but he cut his shot weakly outside the left post.

Hyka really should have sent San Jose into the interval with a lead. In the first minute of stoppage time, Lima got around defender Bradley Diallo on the left side and slid a pass on the ground through the six-yard box, finding Hyka at the far post. His first-time shot somehow avoided the sliding Ashley Cole, scrambling goalkeeper Brian Rowe, and the goal - rolling just the wrong side of the left post.

Rowe returned to the net for the Galaxy for the first time since recovering from a groin injury that kept him out of the lineup for about six weeks. In the 50th minute he denied Thompson by standing his ground at the near post to bat away a hard strike after the crafty midfielder danced his way through the defense and fired from a stiff angle on the right side.

Rowe could do nothing about a Wondolowski header just a minute later as Thompson darted into the right side of the penalty area and sent a perfect chip into the middle. Wondolowski found little resistance and was able to snap his header home from seven yards into the center of the goal past the diving Rowe.

Hoesen Adds Finishing Touch
San Jose added a third the 62nd minute after the ball bounced fortuitously out of a tackle in midfield and into the path of the streaking Hoesen, sending him off on a breakaway. The speedy Dutch striker glided into the right side of the penalty area before smashing his uncontested shot past Rowe for what would be the eventual game-winner.

Galaxy head coach Curt Onalfo, playing without two of his top attacking players in Gyasi Zardes (with the U.S. team at the Gold Cup) and Romain Alessandrini (still getting back to full fitness after a leg injury), sent on Raul Mendiola (67th), Jack McInerney (68th) and Ariel Lassiter (82nd) in an attempt to climb back into the game.

 

It almost worked as the Galaxy added some drama to the end of the match by pulling a goal back in the 83rd minute on a wacky play. The ball bounced to Lassiter on the right side of the penalty area after a goal-mouth scramble and he struck a hard left-footed shot on goal that would have gone in had it not hit Jackson Yueill in the face. The ball came off Yueill, bounced off the back of Tarbell’s right leg and settled into the net to make it 3-2.

The Galaxy could not manufacture another good chance through the rest of regulation and four minutes of stoppage time, and now the Quakes await their semifinal opponent – Sporting Kansas City or FC Dallas, who play their Quarterfinal tomorrow.

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U.S. Open Cup Jul 13, 2017
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