Life is good for USL Pro club Orlando City.
After purchasing a new plot of land for a future stadium and weeks of being rumored as one of the possible destinations for Major League Soccer’s next club, the Florida-based outfit eliminated Sporting Kansas City from the U.S. Open Cup last night by a score of 1-0.
Last year’s Champions were dumped out at home after Orlando City striker Tan Long netted in the second minute of play. It was the second MLS scalp the Lions have taken this season, having beaten the Colorado Rapids 3-0 on May 28th in the third round of play.
The hosts came into the match looking to make amends for their previous match, a 2-1 home loss to Montreal on June 1st. But with Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, Kei Kamara all out on international duty, Sporting lacked the punch to get the job done despite registering 18 shots in defeat.
Peter Vermes’ side came close through C.J. Sapong and Paulo Nagamura but goalkeeper Orlando City Miguel Gallardo was up to the task. The 28 year old netminder was simply fantastic on the night.
With the victory, Orlando City extend their unbeaten streak to 14 matches and have sealed their place in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals where they will face the winner of Chicago and Columbus. The last time a lower league side won the U.S. Open Cup was in 1999 when the Raging Rhinos of Rochester beat the Colorado Rapids 2-0.
Here’s how the rest of U.S. Open Cup action panned out:
- Carolina Railhawks upped their unbeaten streak to five matches by knocking off Chivas USA, 3-1 in extra time
- A cracking volley by Michael Nanchoff handed Portland a 2-0 win over Tampa Bay
- New England continued its offensive onslaught beating the Red Bulls 4-2
- Kenny Cooper’s brace helped FC Dallas to a 3-0 victory over rival Houston
- Real Salt Lake came from two goals down to crush Charleston Battery 5-2 in extra time
- D.C. United beat Philadelphia 3-1 behind a Dwayne De Rosario hat-trick
Here’s the U.S. Open Cup fixture list for the Round of 16:
- Real Salt Lake v. Carolina
- D.C. United v. New England
- Chicago/Columbus v. Orlando City
- FC Dallas v. Portland
Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.
[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]
Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.
Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:
“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.
“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”
Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.
Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.
Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?
Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.
[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]
The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.
The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.
Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.
He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.
Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.
[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]
The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.
Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:
“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”
The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.
France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.
[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]
Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.
That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.
Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.
Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.
2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE