U.S. Soccer

FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids

REPLAY | 3-1 | Toyota Stadium; Frisco, Texas
Defending champions FC Dallas strolled past Colorado Rapids 3-1 to book passage to the Quarterfinals of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The visitors never really got going at Toyota Stadium in the first of eight Round of 16 games and they were hit hard by injury, a red card and a far superior opponent on the day.

Oscar Pareja’s FC Dallas piled the pressure on Colorado early, with Ryan Hollingshead and Maynor Figueroa both hitting the woodwork inside the first 20 minutes. And things only got worse for the Rapids when they were forced into a pair of first-half substitutions. Swedish defender Axel Sjoberg injured his hamstring and limped out, and he was followed shortly after to the training room by Dillon Powers.

Even with all the adversity, it looked like the away side might sneak into the half with the scores level, but more bad luck hit when a late challenge in the area gave the referee no choice but to point to the spot in the fading minutes of the opening period. Mauro Diaz stroked home with a calm penalty in the 45th minute to send FC Dallas into the locker-room with a fully merited 1-0 advantage.

The Rapids drew level 1-1 in the opening exchanges of the second half when Ugandan defender Michael Azira scored a rare goal from 20 yards. The leveler was a false dawn, however, as hopes of a second straight Open Cup comeback for the Rapids were dashed in short order. Diaz was again the creator in the 57th minute when his entry pass picked out Reggie Cannon who crossed low through the box for Hollingshead to clean up with a tidy finish at the back post. Outstanding goalkeeper Zac MacMath kept the Rapids alive with some stellar saves and a little luck as Tesho Akindele and Michael Barrios both hit the frame with the score stuck at 2-1. But an injury to Shkëlzen Gashi and a red card for Kortne Ford forced the visitors to finish the game with nine men.

Javi Morales rounded off the scoring in the dying moments with a pin-point free-kick that nestled in the bottom corner to settle the affair at 3-1. FC Dallas are now in fine fettle heading into the Quarterfinals and aiming for a second-straight Open Cup crown. Up next, they’ll face the winner of Wednesday’s contest between Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City.

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