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Cleveland City Stars Upset Against Minnesota Thunder Highlights U.S. Open Cup Second Round

CHICAGO (June 25, 2008) – On a wild night that saw numerous tight contests, it was the Cleveland City Stars that earned the lone upset in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night when they tallied two goals in overtime after a scoreless regulation to send home USL First Division club Minnesota Thunder.

Along with the Stars, seven other second-round winners will now advance to face eight MLS teams, who join the tournament on July 1 in the third round.

The evening’s matches kicked off on the East Coast with Real Maryland (USL2) visiting Carolina Railhawks (USL1), and with many of the night’s matches, penalty kicks were a deciding factor in the outcome. After a tight affair all night, the Railhawks were awarded a penalty kick in the 90th minute, which Kupono Low drilled home for the 1-0 victory. In other action out East, the Richmond Kickers (USL2) defeated the Western Mass. Pioneers (USL2) by a 2-1 scoreline.

Action continued with the Rochester Rhinos (USL1) posting a 3-0 victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL2). In Florida, Miami FC (USL1) edged out the Atlanta Silverbacks (USL1), 1-0. Meanwhile, in South Carolina, the Charleston Battery (USL1) won, 2-1, against the Charlotte Eagles (USL2), also with a last-minute penalty kick marking the game-winning goal.

Crystal Palace Baltimore (USL2) and the Harrisburg City Islanders (USL2) provided more than their share of excitement on the night, with the match ending in regulation tied at one. Baltimore took the lead in extra time, with the game looking like it would end, 2-1, in their favor. But in the final minute of extra time, Harrisburg earned a penalty kick that the team took advantage of, sending the match into a penalty kick shootout. Crystal Palace goalkeeper Matt Nelson saved three penalty kicks to spur his team on to the third round, to which Baltimore advanced, 3-1, in penalties.

The final match of the night featured the Seattle Sounders (USL1) hosting USASA club Hollywood United in Tuwkwila, Wash. Hollywood earned their place in the second round after surprising the Portland Timbers (USL1) with a 3-2 win in the first round, but their dreams of defeating another USL First Division squad ended Tuesday night with a 6-0 loss to the Sounders. French striker Sebastien Le Toux played a large part in the landslide win, tallying two goals on either side of halftime for the Seattle club.

At stake in the tournament is $180,000 in prize money broken down as follows: $100,000 to the champion, $50,000 to the runner up and $10,000 to the team that advances deepest into the tournament from each of the Division II, Division III and amateur levels.

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the U.S. Soccer Federation’s National Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. It is the oldest annual team tournament in U.S. sports history and among the oldest soccer tournaments of its type in the world. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor long-time soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.

Matchup                                                                                             Venue                                                     Result
Real Maryland (USL2) at Carolina Railhawks (USL1)                          WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.            0-1
Richmond Kickers (USL2) at Western Mass. Pioneers (USL2)              Lusitano Stadium; Ludlow, Mass.             2-1
Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL2) at Rochester Rhinos (USL1)               PAETEC Park; Rochester, N.Y.                 0-3
Cleveland City Stars (USL2) at Minnesota Thunder (USL1)                National Sports Center;Blaine, Minn.      2-0 OT
Atlanta Silverbacks (USL1) at Miami FC (USL1)                                 Tropical Park; Miami, Fla.                        0-1
Charlotte Eagles (USL2) at Charleston Battery (USL1)                        Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.      1-2
Hollywood United (USASA) at Seattle Sounders (USL1)                     Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.  0-6
Crystal Palace Baltimore (USL2) at Harrisburg City Islanders (USL2)  Skyline Sports Complex; Harrisburg, Pa.   2-2 (3-1pk)

Date    Matchup                                                   Venue                                                                      Time (local)
July 1    Richmond Kickers (USL2) at NE Revolution (MLS)    Veterans Stadium, W. B. Park; New Britain, Conn.    7 p.m.
July 1    Kansas City Wizards (MLS) at Carolina Railhawks (USL1)    WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.        7:30 p.m.
July 1    Cleveland City Stars (USL2) at Chicago Fire (MLS)    Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.        7:30 p.m.
July 1    Rochester Rhinos (USL1) at DC United (MLS)    Maryland SoccerPlex; Gaithersburg, Md.        7:30 p.m.
July 1    Miami FC (USL1) at FC Dallas (MLS)    Pizza Hut Park; Frisco, Texas        7:30 p.m.
July 1    Houston Dynamo (MLS) at Charleston Battery (USL1)    Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.        7:30 p.m.
July 1    New York Red Bulls (MLS) at Crystal Palace Baltimore (USL2)    Broadneck Senior High School; Annapolis, Md. 7:30 p.m.
July 1    Chivas USA (MLS) at Seattle Sounders (USL1)    Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.        7 p.m.

2008 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule
July 1    Third Round    Round 2 winners face eight MLS teams
July 8    Quarterfinals    Round 3 winners
Aug. 12    Semifinals    Quarterfinal winners
Aug. 26    Final    Semifinal winners