The US Open Cup, for better or worse, is mostly treated with some vague indifference from most MLS coaches. Bruce Arena did not even travel with his squad for the game, opting to send Curt Onalfo over to manage his side.
That sort of indifference, both in personnel selection and in attitude, usually leads to smaller teams upsetting the big boys.
There was very little of that last night however.
FC Dallas could easily have been mauled in the first half, if the Strikers were as half as good as an MLS team. Multiple reports say that is the best half of Strikers soccer seen this season, and that makes me a little bit sad. While they played decently, their finishing was absolutely horrendous, and if they could have just taken aim before they let loose their shots, Dallas could have been down 3-0 at the half.
The Colorado Rapids were kicked out of the USOC, courtesy of the Orlando City Lions beating them 3-1. The Lions clearly had a bit of pent up frustration over their MLS and stadium situation, and they took to their pitch with the fury of an angry mob. Steve Ceus went full-on Ceus and earned himself a red card in the 56th minute for a tackle on a Lions player who had broken away from the pack and had a one-on-one with the Rapids keeper.
Orlando is an excellent team and being at home must have fueled their passion, because by all accounts Colorado didn't seem to close to pulling out a win. It's unfair to call Orlando a small team though, because the quality of their play at home is nothing to scoff at.
The San Jose Earthquakes continued their tough week by losing to the Charleston Battery 1-0, though it's hard to say it's surprising. The Quakes fielded quite a few reserves, and failed to get a goal as a result. Being shut out two times in a row is something Quakes fans are not used to seeing, and it should be a bit concerning for them, even if they did have reserves on the field.
Chivas USA fell behind early but ultimately beat the LA Blues 2-1, courtesy of Dan Kennedy. You could argue his saves kept the Goats in the Open Cup, but it was actually his goal that earned them the win.
Yes, Dan Kennedy scored a goal (a real goal!) in a competitive match. If this doesn't get you excited, find yourself a fairy and shower yourself with pixie dust. It's the only thing that can save you from your cold, dead heart; a heart devoid of any joy or happiness.
From a post on The Goat Parade:
Dan Kennedy PK Goal (via Andrew Watson)
This is so great I lack the vocabulary to describe it. Dan Kennedy eats live sharks for breakfast, and this might actually top that. I know it's a penalty kick, but I've only ever seen Manuel Neuer and Jose Luis Chilavert score penalty kick goals, and MLS has proven that even the best miss them.
That was a heck of a PK too. Lampard-esque.
The New England Revolution steamrolled the Rochester Rhinos, 5-1. Now that is the shellacking that we all wish Dallas could have poured on Fort Lauderdale. Jay Heaps will be happy with the result, which is a reflection of the true gap in quality between MLS teams and almost every other minor league team out there.
New England have been carrying a bit of momentum as of late, and this sort of victory can instill a team with the confidence needed to succeed in MLS matches. Perhaps New England can start winning again? Everyone and their mother scored for the Revs, so at least they can hand their hats on the hope that this will carry over into league play.
In case you haven't heard, D.C. United still can't score. They did win last night to advance to the next round, but they were held scoreless in a 0-0 game by the Richmond Kickers, and had to go all the way to penalty kicks to win. Even extra time wasn't quite enough for the Black and Red to find the back of the net.
Mind you, Richmond is doing quite well in the USL Pro, so perhaps it isn't the biggest slight in the world to have been shut out by them. Still, that's a pretty concerning thing to see from your team.