Devon Sandoval

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U.S. Open Cup draw for Round of 16 after New Mexico surprises Colorado

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A minimum of one lower league side will feature in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s Round of 16.

New Mexico United got a helping hand from a red card, defeating Colorado Rapids in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule announced ]

Devon Sandoval gave the USL visitors a stunning lead, but Diego Rubio and Nicolas Mezquida scored on either side of halftime to restore order to the MLS hosts.

Then Axel Sjoberg was shown a 72nd minute red card, and Kevaughn Frater pushed an equalizer over the line deep into stoppage time to set up penalty kicks.

A second team could join New Mexico, but that would require a surprising win by Charleston Battery on Thursday versus Atlanta United.

A non-MLS club has won the USOC since the Rochester Rhinos in 1999.

Round of 16 schedule

Columbus Crew v. Atlanta United/Charleston Battery (USL)
Saint Louis FC v. FC Cincinnati
Orlando City v. New England Revolution
DC United v. NYCFC
LAFC v. San Jose Earthquakes
Portland Timbers v. LA Galaxy
Houston Dynamo v. Minnesota United
FC Dallas v. New Mexico United (USL)

MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 29

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Week 29 of the 2015 Major League Soccer season is in the books, and — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — it was the most MLS weekend of MLS results.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

Five of the weekend’s 10 games were won by road teams (24.3 percent win percentage by road teams in 2015), and six of the league’s top 10 teams lost, including each of the top three teams in the Western Conference, by a combined score of 9-1. That’s MLS.

[ WEEK 29: VAN 0-3 SEA | POR 0-2 RBNYMTL 3-0 NE | DCU 1-2 CLB ]

Sebastian Giovinco bagged two more goals (18 and 19 for the season) and an assist (14), putting him four ahead of Kei Kamara, who picked up one of each (21 and 8) for the league lead of goals and assists combined. Benny Feilhaber found the form that saw him a serious MVP candidate two-thirds of the way through the season (two goals, for 10 on the season), while Luis Robles was busy locking up his second straight Save of the Year award.

Thoughts? Questions? Agreements? Disagreements? (Of course not.) Leave them in the comments section, as always. I’m not afraid to defend my picks.

[ MORE: 2015 MLS Team of the Week archive ]

MLS Team of the Week — Week 29

Goalkeeper: Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)

MLS Goalkeeper

Defenders: Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders), Aurelien Collin (Orlando City SC), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact)

MLS Defenders

Midfielders: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Tranquillo Barnetta (Philadelphia Union), Ned Grabavoy (New York City FC)

MLS Midfielders

Forwards: Kei Kamara (Columbus Crew SC), Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact), Devon Sandoval (Real Salt Lake)

MLS Forwards

Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup final: How the teams got here

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We previewed the final here. But how did the teams arrive into Rio Tinto Stadium for the final of this centennial, 100th  edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup:

(Remember that MLS teams join the competition later than clubs from lower tier leagues; both of Tuesday’s finalists joined in the third round of tournament play.)

REAL SALT LAKE

Third Round: The run was almost over before it started as the visiting Atlanta Silverbacks from NASL took the MLS club into overtime at Rio Tinto Stadium. Kyle Beckerman scored early, but the men from Utah needed late goals from Devon Sandoval and Khari Stephenson for a 3-2 overtime win over the Silverbacks.

Fourth round: Sandoval, a rookie having a sensational season, mostly off the bench in league play, kept producing the Open Cup goods. He had two goals in this one as Real Salt Lake scored a 5-2 win over the Charleston Battery from the USL PRO league. This one, also at Rio Tinto, was closer that it looks, also extended into overtime.

Quarterfinal round: RSL’s outside backs roared in this one as Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert came forward to score on either side of halftime. Costa Rican international Alvaro Saborio scored late in the 3-0 win over the Carolina RailHawks of NASL in Sandy, Utah.

Semifinal round: Real Salt Lake prevailed in the tightly contested and highly anticipated clash with the Portland Timbers. Saborio and Joao Plata hit goals for the home team, while Diego Valeri’s late goal for Portland provided the final margin in the 2-1 win. It put  Jason Kreis’ club into a final for the first time since the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League title game. (RSL fell to Monterrey from Mexico on aggregate in that one.)

D.C. UNITED

Third round: Following a scoreless regulation in Richmond, Va., against the Richmond Kickers from USL PRO, United advanced through a PK tiebreaker, 4-2. Dwayne De Rosario, Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon and James Riley converted their penalty kick attempts for United.

Fourth round: In a meeting of MLS sides, United claimed a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union in a match in Boyds, Md.  Dwayne De Rosario, in his best moment for the club in 2013, scored all three United goals. De Rosario thus established himself as the third Black and Red man to record an Open Cup hat trick; Raul Diaz Arce (2000) and Abdul Thompson Conteh (2001) were the others.

Quarterfinal round: It was De Rosario rising once again in a 3-1 win over the New England Revolution in another all-MLS meeting. Chris Pontius and Lionard Pajoy also scored for Ben Olsen’s team in the match in Maryland.

Semifinal round: Real Salt Lake never had to travel during its Open Cup pursuits. D.C. United, meanwhile, won twice on the road. This was one, as Olsen’s team took a 2-0 win from the Chicago Fire in Bridgeview, Ill.  De Rosario’s goal just before intermission was the winner, while Nick DeLeon’s 48th-minute strike helped provide the visitors some safe distance.

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(MORE: Match preview, Real Salt Lake vs. D.C. United)

(MORE: A domestic soccer “Treble” could loom, but this is the first box to check)

(MORE: Where would a United win rank among Open Cup upsets?)

US Open Cup fourth round wrapup – five more MLS teams tumble out

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The fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is now complete, and there are still some Cinderella stories left as it moves to the quarterfinals.

The most recent round wasn’t fully complete until this afternoon when the Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew played after kickoff Wednesday was postponed 16-1/2 hours due to inclement weather.

Now, the quarterfinals are set without last year’s defending champions, and with two lower division teams still in the mix, it’s sure to give us an intriguing finish.

Sporting KC 0-1 Orlando FC

With their second straight MLS upset, the Lions have officially burst onto the scene in the U.S. Open Cup. They shocked their MLS affiliate and defending Cup champions Sporting KC with a quick-fire 2nd minute goal by Chinese striker Long Tan.

The goal, conceded after a turnover in their own half by Kansas City, was dubbed by KC manager Peter Vermes as “a terrible mistake.”

After going 1 up, Orlando dropped back and played solely on the counter-attack.  Despite just two shots in the first half, Orlando was actually unlucky not to be up 2-0 at halftime.  Tan had a close-range effort agonizingly saved by Eric Kronberg.

Orlando, currently sitting in first place in the USL Pro, will look to be just the second non-MLS team to win the Cup since MLS teams entered in 1996.  They were also the only away side to win in this round of play.

D.C. United 3-1 Philadelphia Union

Dwayne de Rosario decided he’d seen enough of the MLS standings.  Despite sitting in last place, a hat-trick from de Rosario sent the Black-and-Red on to the quarterfinals.

A goal from red-hot youngster Jack McInerney wasn’t nearly enough for Philadelphia as they get a taste of their own medicine.  The Union defeated D.C. United in the same round and venue during the competition last season.  Unfortunately for United, they did lose Chris Pontius in the process, after he took two blows to the head in the span of a few minutes and was subbed off at halftime.

You can watch de Rosario’s hat trick, plus a horribly awkward postgame interview, here.

Chicago Fire 2-1 Columbus Crew

It was a horror night for Columbus, as not only were they knocked out of the Cup despite leading 1-0 early, but they also may have lost Brazilian central defender Glauber for an extended period of time.

The 29-year-old, who was only recently acquired in January, left in just the 9th minute with a knee injury.  The extent of the injury is not known, but with Eddie Gaven already having blown out his ACL in the previous Cup match, it’s fingers crossed for Crew fans.

The one positive for Columbus is Konrad Warzycha’s header goal in the 22nd minute marks the first time father and son have scored in the U.S. Open Cup, following in the footsteps of Crew head coach Robert Warzycha.  Unfortunately, the red-hot Mike Magee responded just six minutes later to equalize, and then Patrick Nyarko provided the winner for Chicago in the 78th minute.

Real Salt Lake 5-2 Charleston Battery

You wouldn’t know it by the scoreline, but this match actually went to extra time.  Having already defeated San Jose in the previous round, Charleston found themselves 2-0 up on Real Salt Lake just 18 minutes in and could taste another upset.  Unfortunately, the #2 team in the West realized what was happening and turned on the afterburners.

Devon Sandoval opened the scoring for the MLS side in the 66th minute, and Joao Plata converted a penalty 12 minutes later to equalize. Extra time saw Sandoval’s second 7 minutes in for the winner, and Salt Lake added two more for insurance against the exhausted Battery.

Carolina Railhawks 3-1 Chivas USA

Things are going from bad to worse for Chivas USA, as extra time proved deadly to the MLS side and gave Carolina their second straight upset win, having already slid past L.A. Galaxy in the competition.

Cesar Elizondo and Brian Ackley both netted in the extra period to give the NASL club the quarterfinals berth.  It was hot in North Carolina, but the sides were hot-headed as well, as seven yellow cards were handed out in the match.

In an odd bit of news, new Chivas manager Jose Luis Real was in attendance for the match, but did not coach.  Instead, Sascha van der Most continued his interim coaching duties.

New England Revolution 4-2 New York Red Bulls

The Revs continued their season revival by thrashing the Red Bulls in their first home match in the Cup in four years.  New England went ahead after just four minutes as Kelyn Rowe scored the first of his brace, and they kept scoring all the way until their fourth in the 87th minute.

New England are on a vicious run, unbeaten in their last seven matches in all competitions, and they’ve outscored their opponents 19-4 during that span.

Dallas FC 3-0 Houston Dynamo

The “Texas Derby” found its way into the U.S. Open Cup, and MLS leaders in points didn’t disappoint.  Kenny Cooper’s brace gives him five goals on the year for Dallas in all competitions, and they both came off set pieces taken by Brazilian midfielder Michel.

That sounds really familiar….oh right, that’s exactly what happened when the two clubs met in the league back in March.  Dallas have an MLS match on Saturday, but played a pretty full-strength lineup anyways, only missing international call-ups Raul Fernandez and Blas Perez, plus David Ferreira sat.

Portland Timbers 2-0 Tampa Bay Rowdies

Portland proved the only MLS team to easily put away their lower division opponents in the fourth round.  Tampa Bay had already defeated Seattle in the previous round, but Portland went ahead early in the ninth minute via Michael Nanchoff and never looked back.

It’s Portland’s first ever visit to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.

Quarterfinal matchups:

New England Revolution at D.C. United
Orlando City at Chicago Fire
Carolina Railhawks at Real Salt Lake
Portland Timbers at FC Dallas

Youngsters lead the way for Real Salt Lake past Seattle

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Management around Rio Tinto knew this year would be a work in progress, a time of learning and lessons for young men who replaced the wily veterans around Real Salt Lake.

It’s not that the club deciders didn’t like Jamison Olave, Fabian Espindola and Will Johnson, all of whom are doing wonderfully at their new MLS addresses. But the reality of a tight salary cap, plus a bit of competitive sticking point onto with the team had arrived, meant that RSL needed some roster adjustment.

It’s still quite early in all this, but the results of the roster rebuild are already coming to fruition for RSL.

Last night’s 2-1 result in Utah over Seattle got a little tight at the end, as the visitors offered a far, far better second-half account.

Jason Kreis’ team took a 2-0 lead into the break, but that lead could have easily been three or four goals. Only the outstanding work of Seattle goaltender Michael Gspurning, a very, very busy Austrian boy in the opening 45 minutes, kept it from being so.

So much of the threat came from a pair of RSL youngsters. Young midfielder Luis Gil, still just 19 years old, was an absolute show-stopper. His skill and industry, while operating high in Real’s midfield diamond, was evident all night (or, until he gave way for veteran Javier Morales after 62 minutes. And his goal (the eventual game-winner, which he is celebrating in the picture) was a work of training ground art, a corner kick sequence the side has surely rehearsed time and again.

Meanwhile, rookie forward Devon Sandoval, a 21-year-old bundle of skill, hair and energy. The rookie troubled Seattle’s back line with his hold-up work, intelligent runs and by helping arrange chances for others. He won’t get an assist on Robbie Findley’s early goal Saturday, but Sandoval certainly occupied a defender (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado), helping free up some space for Findley’s athletic put-away.

Highlights of Saturday’s win for Real Salt Lake:

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