CHICAGO (June 7, 2023) – The Semifinals of the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer’s national championship, are now set. Inter Miami CF (Division-I, MLS) avoided a Cupset at the hands of a spirited Birmingham Legion FC (Div.-II, USL Championship), winning 1-0 on the road in Alabama and Real Salt Lake squeaked past MLS Western Conference foe LA Galaxy 3-2 on home turf.
After the night’s results, the 2023 U.S. Open Cup Semifinals will feature Inter Miami, searching for a first trophy in club history, taking on FC Cincinnati and RSL tackling 2018 champions Houston Dynamo. The Last Four, scheduled for August 23, will air exclusively on CBS Sports. Full details will be announced soon.
The Final Draw to determine which teams will host the Semifinal matches as well as the priority hosting order for the Final will be held Thursday, June 8. Fans can watch as the fate of each team is unveiled live at 1 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Golazo Network’s soccer news program Box 2 Box.
The night’s action began in Birmingham where a crowd of around 15,000 turned out to cheer on the last lower-division team remaining in the competition. Their valiant Cupset bid wasn’t to be however as Nico Stefanelli’s 56th-minute strike for Miami allowed the visitors to escape Protective Stadium with a 1-0 win.
In the final match of the Quarterfinal round, RSL also narrowly avoided a shock defeat after they entered the final ten minutes of regulation sporting a 3-0 lead thanks to a Damir Kreilach brace and Jefferson Savarino’s 51st-minute goal. A late penalty kick in the 82nd minute by Galaxy captain Gastón Brugman sparked the visitor’s comeback attempt. Douglas Costa’s sumptuous strike two minutes later really put wind in the LA side’s sails but it was too little too late for the two-time Open Cup champs.
U.S. OPEN CUP QUARTERFINAL RECAPS
Birmingham Legion FC (USLC) 0, Inter Miami CF (MLS) 1
Nico Stefanelli scored in the 56th minute and goalkeeper Drake Callender produced several vital saves, early and late, to pace the visitors to victory at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Ala.
Inter Miami CF’s Javier Morales earned his first win as interim head coach after replacing the departed Phil Neville last week.
After an underachieving first half, Miami came alive in second stanza. On the scoring sequence, halftime substitute Robert Taylor brought the ball down the right flank. He passed it to Corentin Jean, who crossed it into the middle of the penalty area. While Josef Martinez missed a scorpion kick attempt, Stefanelli was on hand to slam the ball home from eight yards out past Legion goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel (six saves).
Callender made every one of his four saves count for Inter Miami.
Only 90 seconds into the match, Enzo Martinez's shot from the top of the box forced Callender to make a diving save. Martinez also set up teammate Prosper Kasim on what turned into a controversial play in the 24th minute. Kasim ripped a shot toward the Miami net that Sergii Kryvstov touched with his right hand, deflecting it out of bounds. Referee Sergii Demianchuk ruled for a corner-kick while Birmingham players claimed there should have been a penalty kick. However, there was no Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for Demianchuk to get a second look at the play. Martinez tested Callender again in the 33rd minute, but the keeper held onto his attempt to send the sides into the break even at 0-0.
Miami came out on the front foot in the second half and almost found the net, but Van Oekel saved Jean's attempt with his face in the 47th minute.
Nine minutes later, the visitors broke through for what proved to be the winning goal from Stefanelli.
That left it up to Callender to keep the hosts off the scoresheet. He parried away Tyler Pasher's 35-yard blast in the 84th minute and stopped a potential own-goal by teammate Christopher McVey two minutes into stoppage time as Miami escaped a serious Cupset attempt from the home side.
Real Salt Lake (MLS) 3, LA Galaxy (MLS) 2
Damir “The King” Kreilach is doubling his fun in this year’s Open Cup. Kreilach scored twice in the first half as Real Salt Lake held on to gain a measure of revenge at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
It’s Kreilach’s second two-goal performance of the tournament for Real Salt Lake, which advances to the Open Cup Semifinals for just the second time in its history and the first time since 2015. RSL will play Houston Dynamo on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
“We’re going to keep going, game-by-game, and we’re going to get through,” said Kreilach, who scored twice to beat Las Vegas Lights in extra time in a Third Round match on April 26. Tonight’s win also turns the page from a 3-2 loss to LA Galaxy last week in an MLS league match.
Krielach scored first in the 19th minute, tapping in an inch-perfect cross from Pablo Ruiz to give RSL an early lead.
LA Galaxy striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez sustained what appeared to be a significant non-contact right knee injury in the 24th minute and was stretchered off the field. He was replaced by Dejan Jovelic.
In the sixth minute of first-half stoppage time, Ruiz earned a penalty and Kreilach put the home side up 2-0 going into the locker rooms at the break.
Jefferson Savarino added a third for RSL in the 51st minute as the home side took advantage of a turnover in midfield to push forward, find a seam in the Galaxy’s defense and beat goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann.
Gaston Brugman got one back from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute for LA, and Douglas Costa came off the bench to score a rare left-footed curler two minutes later to apply a dose of late pressure.
An impressive header off the line by LA Galaxy defender Julian Aude in the 89th minute kept it a one-goal game as LA searched for an equalizer. Then RSL’s 17-year-old goalkeeper, Wade Beavers, turned away a shot from Brugman in second-half stoppage time to help the home side hold on for the final whistle.