U.S. Open Cup: Riverhounds and Legion knock off MLS teams

For the third edition in a row, two USL teams knocked off MLS teams to reach the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.

In 2019, USL Championship expansion team New Mexico United and Saint Louis FC advanced to the final eight with wins over the Colorado Rapids and Chicago Fire, respectively.
 
In 2022, Sac Republic FC beat the San Jose Earthquakes, the second of three MLS teams it defeated en route to a trip to the final, while Union Omaha, the reigning USL League One champion, beat Minnesota United to move into the quarterfinals.

On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Birmingham Legion both pulled upsets before record crowds, improving the record of USL teams against MLS teams in the round of 16 to 7-3 over the last five editions.

After the New England Revolution, the Columbus Crew fell to the 'Hounds.

Pittsburgh won, 1-0, before a record 6,107 fans at Highmark Stadium thanks to Albert Dikwa's 22nd-minute goal. The Cameroonian has scored 10 goals in 13 matches across all competitions in 2023.

The Riverhounds got three saves from Jamaican goalkeeper Jahmali Waite to make it three shutout victories in three games in addition to a forfeit win in the second round.

Pittsburgh will travel to FC Cincinnati for its first appearance in the quarterfinals since 2001, the last year it beat an MLS team.



Legion FC's 1-0 win over Charlotte FC came in its first ever meeting against an MLS team after wins over teams from USL League One, NISA and the USL Championship in the previous rounds of the 2023 edition. Previous appearances in the Open Cup ended with losses to teams from the USL Championship and USL League One.

Birmingham drew a club-record crowd of 12,722 at Protective Stadium, where it played the last 40 minutes with a man advantage after a red card to Charlotte's Adilson Malanda for his second yellow card of the game.

Ghanaian Prosper Kasim, who has been with Legion FC since its launch in 2019, won the game with a long-range goal in the 60th minute.

Birmingham will be at home for the quarterfinals when it hosts MLS's Inter Miami, another team in the final eight for the first time.



Four-time Open Cup champion Chicago Fire will host the Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake will welcome the LA Galaxy in the other quarterfinal matches, both matchups of MLS teams.

Wednesday, May 24
Pittsburgh Riverhounds
1 Columbus Crew 0. (Goal: Dikwa 22. Att.: 6,107.)
Birmingham Legion 1 Charlotte FC 0. (Goal: Kasim 60. Att.: 12,722.)
Austin FC 0 Chicago Fire 2. (Goals: Czichos 27, Przybylko 88.)
Colorado Rapids 0 Real Salt Lake 1. (Goal: Savarino 30.)
Tuesday, May 23
Inter Miami 2 Nashville SC 1. (Goals: Negri 57, Stefanelli 73; Muyl 66. Att.: 2,244.)
NY Red Bulls 1 FC Cincinnati 1. (Goals: Vanzeir 90+2; Kubo 42. Att.: 4,131.)
(FC Cincinnati wins 5-3 on penalty kicks.)
Houston Dynamo 4 Minn. United 0. (Goals: Baird 33 pen., 68, 89, Ibrahim 79. Att.: 2,947.)
LAFC 0 LA Galaxy 2. (Goals: Boyd 49, Riqui Puig 52. Att.: 16,362.)

2 comments about "U.S. Open Cup: Riverhounds and Legion knock off MLS teams".
  1. Wallace Wade, May 25, 2023 at 8:34 a.m.

    Amazing what can happen on the pitch in "open" competition! Garber will try his best to pull all MLS franchises out of our oldest National Tournament if these "upsets" continue 

  2. Kent James, May 25, 2023 at 10:56 a.m.

    I'm not sure how they determine which team is home, but it's definitely better for the fans (and the game) if the lower division team gets to host (as the sellout crowds in Pgh and Birmingham will attest). I was at the game last night cheering for the Riverhounds, and the atmosphere was fantastic (and the Riverhounds were smart; unless you were a season-ticket holder, to buy a ticket for the Columbus game you had to also buy a ticket for the game last weekend, so that crowd was a sell-out as well).  The Riverhounds certainly deserved to win (they should have scored a 2nd goal in the 2nd half when Kizza missed a sitter).  For most of the game Columbus looked lackadaisical and they seemed to have a lot of bad touches. The Crew pressed in the last 15 or 20 minutes, so it was an exciting finish.

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