Open Cup: Upsets send New Mexico United and Saint Louis FC into quarterfinals

It's been quite a first season for New Mexico United.

The expansion USL Championship team is in contention for the Western Conference lead and reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday when it beat an MLS team on the road for the second week in a row. It's the first expansion team to reach the final eight since the current USL launched in 2011.

Last week New Mexico United downed the Colorado Rapids in a shootout after their match ended in a 2-2 tie when Jamaican Kevaughn Frater evened the score four minutes into stoppage time. On Wednesday, New Mexico United rallied to beat FC Dallas, 2-1 on goals by Frater just before halftime and Sam Hamilton in the 64th minute.

Cody Mizell made seven saves to preserve the victory over FC Dallas, which again started U.S. U-17 star Ricardo Pepi, on loan from North Texas SC, and brought on Paxton Pomykal for his first appearance since the U-20 World Cup, there he started for the USA. Two other U-20s, Brandon Servania and Edwin Cerrillo, started for FC Dallas.

Wednesday's victory in a game played at SMU was the first in four games by New Mexico United that had not gone to overtime. It beat the 2018 USL Championship runner-up Phoenix Rising in shootout in the second round and the Colorado Springs Switchbacks in the third round after overtime.

New Mexico United leads the USL Championship in attendance with an average of 12,836 fans through seven games at Isotopes Park, a baseball stadium that is primarily used by the Pacific Coast League's Albuquerque Isotopes, but it has been on the road for all four Open Cup games and will be away to Minnesota United on July 10 in the quarterfinals.

A scheduling conflict with the Isotopes prevented New Mexico United from hosting in the round of 16.

Saint Louis FC-FC Cincinnati. Saint Louis FC reached the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when it upset FC Cincinnati, 1-0, on captain Sam Fink's goal on a header off a corner kick in the third minute of stoppage time.

The victory followed a 2-1 win over the Chicago in the round of 32, STLFC's first ever over an MLS team in its five seasons.

“I think it was a deserved win, honestly,” said STLFC coach Anthony Pulis. “Overall, the guys were outstanding tonight and they deserve it. They are a fantastic group to work with, so to see the joy on their faces and delight for the fans and everyone for the club, it was another memorable night and I hope everyone enjoys it because they deserve it.”

New Mexico United and Saint Louis FC give the USL its most representatives in the quarterfinals since 2012 when Charlotte, Dayton and Harrisburg made the final eight, where they all lost to MLS clubs.

-- New York City FC and Orlando City, which both entered MLS in 2015, reached the quarterfinals for the first time when they beat D.C. United and the New England Revolution, respectively, by 2-1 scores.

-- The Portland Timbers will make their second consecutive quarterfinal appearance after crushing the LA Galaxy, 4-0, before more than 16,000 fans at Providence Park. They will face the winner of Thursday's match between Los Angeles FC and the San Jose Earthquakes.
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