Four MLS clubs -- all former champions -- reached the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with wins on Wednesday. The Chicago Fire, last in MLS, easily disposed of the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers,
the only remaining NASL team, but the LA Galaxy, FC Dallas and New England Revolution all won in dramatic fashion.
U.S. Open Cup
Schedule: Semifinals Aug. 9 in Foxboro, Mass. New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire Aug. 10 in Carson, Calif. LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas Final: Sept. 21
CHICAGO FIRE-FT. LAUDERDALE STRIKERS. The Strikers came into the game having knocked off a pair of MLS clubs,
but that was before their current slump -- three losses and one tie to start the NASL fall season.
The Fire took the lead in the 4th minute when David Accam when he converted a
penalty kick after he was taken down in the box by goalkeeper Diego Restrepo and never looked back to advance to the final four for the fifth time in the last six years and the 12th time since
winning the tournament in its first MLS season in 1998.
Accam, the Ghanaian speedster, set up Michael de Leeuw for the second goal after a 50-yard run through the Strikers'
defense, andKhaly Thiam completed the scoring with his first goal in a Fire shirt in the 51st minute.
"There's no small or big rival," said Fire coach Veljko
Paunovic. "We play every single game to win and we do our best. For us, this was a must win game, as we said, and I think we managed very well."
June 20 in
Bridgeview, Ill. Chicago Fire 3 Fort Lauderdale Strikers 0. CHI:David Accam 5 CHI: Michael de Leeuw (David
Accam) 35 CHI:Khaly Thiam 51 Chicago --Lampson, Rodrigo, Kappelhof, Campbell, Vincent, Thiam, Polster, Alvarez, Cocis (LaBrocca 45+3), Accam (Stephens 72), de
Leeuw (Igboananike 53). Ft. Lauderdale --Restrepo, Attakora (Moura 28), Agbossoumonde, James, Corrales, Alexandre, Luis Felipe, Gabriel (Pineda 72), Nunez (Paulo Junior 59), PC,
Angulo. Red Card: Ft. Lauderdale -- Agbossoumonde 69. Att.:3,666.
HOUSTON DYNAMO-FC DALLAS. The heat
and humidity in Houston made for few chances for either team until Fabian Castillo’s 90th-minute goal propelled FC Dallas into the semifinals for the ninth time (tied with D.C. United
behind Chicago's 12 appearances).
The Colombian picked up the ball just outside the top of the area and beat two defenders before firing a low shot from six yards out between the near
post and Houston keeper Joe Willis.
The Dynamo is last in the Western Conference, but FC Dallas, which has MLS's best record, did not take the game lightly, starting nine of the 11
players who started in their MLS game on Saturday.
“Every game is different," said Castillo. "We played a really tough opponent today. I really respect Houston and we approached
them with that in mind."
GALAXY-SEATTLE SOUNDERS. The Galaxy came back from 1-0 and 2-1 down to win on three goals within 11 minutes at StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium and advance to the semifinals for the
first time in a decade.
Substitute Giovanni dos Santos canceled out Herculez Gomez’s 58th-minute goal by capitalizing on Zach Scott’s turnover for his first Open
Cup goal in the 77th minute. Sebastian Lletget then added two unanswered goals on assists by Gyasi Zardes in the 85th and 88th minutes to ice the match.
Bruce Arena brought on dos Santos and Zardes after Gomez's goal, and they both came through.
“You roll the dice sometimes," Arena said. "The other part you have to think of
there is that you might be playing 120 minutes and you have to be careful. But obviously we injected those players in the game to get a goal. Obviously, Dos Santos did a hell of a job and Gyasi, as
well. We’re fortunate.” July 20 in Carson, Calif. LA Galaxy 4 Seattle Sounders 2. SEA: Michael Farfan 4 LA:
Alan Gordon (Baggio Husidic, Sebastian Lletget) 17 SEA: Herculez Gomez (Dylan Remick, Michael Farfan) 58 LA: Giovani dos Santos 77 LA: Sebastian Lletget (Baggio
Husidic, Gyasi Zardes) 85 LA: Sebastian Lletget (Gyasi Zardes) 88 LA Galaxy -- Diop; Garcia, Leonardo, Steres, Romney; de Jong (Larentowicz 90+1), Husidic; Lletget, Magee
(dos Santos 74), Boateng; Gordon (Zardes 74). Seattle -- Miller; Remick, Alfaro, Scott, Fisher; Mathers, Sturgis (Evans 76), Farfan; Anderson (Morris 82), Kovar (Roldan 66), Gomez. Att.: 3,409.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION-PHILADELPHIA. The Revs needed a shootout to ruin another comeback bid by the Union, which got a goal by German rookie Fabian Herbers in the 90th minute
to tie the game at Harvard University’s Jordan Field.
Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton saved penalties from Sebastien Le Toux and C.J. Sapong before
Je-Vaughn Watson hit the decisive spot kick to send the Revolution to the semifinals for the first time since 2008.
“There’s no pressure on me,” Knighton told MLSSoccer.com. “All the pressure is on them. If I can save one or
two, then I’ve done my job.”
July 20 in Cambridge, Mass. New England Revolution 1 Philadelphia Union 1. NE:Je-Vaughn Watson (Diego Fagundez) 44 PHI:Fabian Herbers (Sebastien Le Toux) 90 (New England Revolution wins 4-2 on penalties.) Philadelphia --Blake; Fabinho, Marquez, Tribbett, Gaddis; Creavalle, Barnetta (Fernandes 76); Pontius (Le Toux 66), Alberg (Herbers 66), Ilsinho; Sapong. New England
--Knighton; Watson, Samba, Goncalves, Farrell; Caldwell, (Kobayashi 70); Fagundez, Rowe, Neumann (Tierney 76); Kamara (Herivaux 83).
----------------------------------------------------- U.S. Open Cup Results: First Round:May 11 Second Round:May 18 Third Round:June 1 Fourth Round:June 14-15 Fifth Round:June 30