US Open Cup

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U.S. Open Cup semifinal field set

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A wild night of U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals took place on Wednesday, as the semifinals are set.

[ MORE: PST’s MLS coverage ]¬†

Portland Timbers upset LAFC away from home as they will face Minnesota United who hammered second-tier New Mexico United.

While Orlando City beat New York City in a dramatic penalty kick shootout to set up a semifinal clash with Atlanta United who dispatched a spirited St. Louis side.

Jeremy Ebobisse’s 84th minute goal handed Portland victory, as LAFC head coach Bob Bradley bemoaned his team struggling as the former USMNT coach was also struck in the face by a ball near the sideline in a rough night overall for the California club in front of their own fans.

As for Minnesota, they coasted into the final four by smashing six past New Mexico United. Angelo Rodriguez scored a first half hat trick to send them on their way to their first-ever USOC semifinal, as the Loons proved too much for a first-year New Mexico side who took the lead briefly in this game and had already beaten the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas from MLS to reach the last eight.

Orlando City thought they’d won in regulation thanks to Chris Mueller’s goal, but Maxi Moralez scored in the 96th minute to keep NYCFC’s hopes alive but Orlando prevailed in penalty kicks at home to set up a clash against regional rivals Atlanta United.

Adam Grinwis was the hero for Orlando.

As for the reigning MLS Cup champs, ATL made hard work of it against STL as the second-tier side sat back and defended well but a second half goal from Gonzalo ‘Pity’ Martinez was followed up by a 95th minute penalty kick from Josef Martinez. Atlanta are now into their first ever USOC semifinal, while STL can take plenty of positives from their run after knocking out the Chicago Fire and FC Cincinnati.

There will be a draw later on July 11 to determine which teams will host the respective semifinals. The USOC final will take place on either Aug. 27 or 28.

Schedule for U.S. Open Cup semifinals

Portland Timbers v. Minnesota United – Aug. 7 (venue to be confirmed)
Orlando City v. Atlanta United – Aug. 7/8 (venue to be confirmed)

VIDEO: FC Dallas win US Open Cup, down New England in goal-fest

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FC Dallas are your 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champions.

The leaders of Major League Soccer’s Western Conference beat New England Revolution 4-2 in Frisco, Texas on Tuesday to seal just their second Open Cup trophy in club history.

[ VIDEO: Liverpool-Chelsea preview ]

Oscar Pareja’s side fell behind early as Juan Agudelo stunned the home crowd but Dallas came roaring back with first half goals from Max Urruti, Matt Hedges and Mauro Diaz giving the Texas outfit a 3-1 lead. Urruti added another in the second half and although Agudelo’s 73rd minute made it interesting, Dallas held on for the 4-2 win to lift their first Open Cup title since 1997.

Below you¬†can watch highlights of all the goals from an entertaining final from¬†U.S. Soccer’s domestic knockout competition.

Agudelo makes it 1-0

Urruti equalizes

Hedges puts Dallas ahead

Diaz scores a PK right on half time

Urruti makes it 4-1

Agudelo pulls one back for Revs

PST’s top 10 terrible (and spot-on) MLS preseason predictions

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The 2015 Major League Soccer (regular) season is in the books, and it played out exactly like everyone here at PST predicted it would. Yes, we were all exactly right.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

OK, that’s a big, fat lie, because we were smart silly enough to make predictions way back in March (read in full HERE), put our real, legal names to them and post them on the internet, where nothing is ever forgotten. In truth, some of us didn’t do so badly, while others (not naming names, you’ll have to read on) went for the upper-90¬†and skied our shots horribly.

Without further ado the best (and worst) of PST’s preseason MLS predictions‚Ķ

10. Sporting KC win the Open Cup, to everyone’s surprise

Q: U.S. Open Cup winners?
Joe Prince-Wright and Kyle Lynch: Seattle Sounders
Andy Edwards: FC Dallas
Nicholas Mendola: New England Revolution
Kyle Bonn: LA Galaxy

Of the four unique picks found above, the PST braintrust selected two teams who were knocked out in the fourth round (Sounders and Revs Рzero rounds advanced), one side that went out in the fifth round (FCD) and a single quarterfinalist (Galaxy Рtwo rounds advanced). Congrats to Bonn, who came up only 270 minutes short of correctly picking the 2015 USOC winner.

9. Red Bulls win¬†the Shield, to everyone’s surprise

Q:¬†Supporters’ Shield winners?
JPW and Lynch: LA Galaxy
Edwards and Bonn: Seattle Sounders
Mendola: New England Revolution

We’re off to a pretty poor start here, but in our defense, let’s take a quick trip¬†back in time, to early March. If anyone was predicting the New York Red Bulls to win the Shield in 2015, that’s because they are¬†a Red Bulls supporter. The offseason they had just had ‚ÄĒ losing Thierry Henry, firing Mike Petke, the town-hall meeting ‚ÄĒ pointed toward a rebuilding year for RBNY, not a regular-season championship. *shrug* That’s MLS for ya.

8. MLS Cup winners still alive and kicking

Q: MLS Cup matchup?
JPW and Mendola: LA Galaxy vs. Toronto FC
Edwards: Seattle Sounders vs. Columbus Crew SC
Lynch: LA Galaxy vs. New England Revolution
Bonn: Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounders

Hey, we all have a chance¬†to be right about something. No one picked the top seed¬†from either conference, though that’s OK because home-field advantage rarely translates to an MLS Cup appearance. I’m the only person to have picked a team with a knockout round bye (Crew SC). Any of the four unique matchups found above would be highly interesting finals.

7. TFC into the postseason

Q: Will Toronto FC (finally) make the playoffs?
All: Yes.

So, this one turned out to be fairly straightforward ‚ÄĒ TFC snuck in as the sixth seed (a full five points clear of the cut-off line, for what it’s worth). To have everyone on the same page, and no one thinking they’ll out-clever the rest of the group, was fairly impressive, though.

6. Gerrard and Lampard out-awful one another

Q:¬†Better first six months in MLS ‚ÄĒ Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard?
JPW and Bonn: Gerrard.
Edwards, Mendola and Lynch: Lampard.

Nobody really¬†wins¬†here ‚ÄĒ most so fans of the Galaxy and NYCFC ‚ÄĒ because three months after their arrivals in MLS, neither Gerrard or Lampard have done anything to justify their 6.2 and $6 million annual salaries respectively (on the field, at least). Gerrard’s Galaxy are still alive in the playoffs, so he still has a chance to time warp and land in a much simpler time, say, 2010 or earlier, when he was still a mobile human being.

5. All aboard the NYCFC hype train

Q:¬†Greater points tally ‚ÄĒ New York City FC or Orlando City SC?
All: New York City FC.

There were plenty of reasons to be skeptical of Manchester City’s experimental MLS spawn ‚ÄĒ and nearly every one of them came to pass ‚ÄĒ but how could you pick against Jason Kreis? The summer signing of Andrea Pirlo was an especially bitter pill to swallow¬†for Kreis, who may or may not be around for a second season.

4. Picking Kaka over Giovinco, on an island all alone

Q:¬†More goals/assists combined ‚ÄĒ¬†Kaka or Sebastian Giovinco?
Edwards:¬†Kaka. Caveat: If healthy, Kaka is the 2015 MVP. Let’s not forget this is the 2007 World Player of the Year, arguably¬†the best player in the world for a time.

This wasn’t my worst pick of the preseason (don’t worry, that’s still to come), not by a long shot. Kaka wasn’t bad in his first MLS season (9 goals, 7 assists in 28 games played), but Giovinco was unreal in a way that MLS has never seen before (22 goals, 16 assists).

3. Faith in the Atomic Ant

Q: 2015 MLS MVP?
JPW:¬†Sebastian Giovinco. How they managed to get the ‚ÄúAtomic Ant‚ÄĚ I don‚Äôt know, but I‚Äôm glad they did. Wonderful talent.
Bonn: Giovinco. What a signing.

Any other player (read: human being) would have required some sort of an adjustment period upon coming to MLS. Giovinco? Nope. His first five MLS games: 3 goals, 2 assists. His next five games: 2 goals, 2 assists. His next 23 games: 17 goals, 12 assists. There is no debate about the 2015 MVP, so props to JPW and Bonn for nailing that one.

2. Nailed the West

Q: Who misses the playoffs in the West?
Edwards: Colorado, San Jose, Houston and Real Salt Lake

Obviously I get to toot my own horn here a bit, because 1) I’m writing this post, and 2) I was the only one to correctly predict the six playoffs teams in the Western Conference. It felt wrong to leave out RSL,¬†but the proof is in the pudding. 34 weeks of soccer don’t lie. I’m pretty sure I would have gone 6-for-6 in the East if we had done it, too. /end sarcasm

1. Bernardo who?

Q: Who’s the Lee Nguyen-esque (veteran) Breakout Player of the year?
Edwards:¬†Bernardo Anor. Quick ‚ÄĒ tell me what team Anor plays for. If you don’t know now, you will be April or May. Can’t believe Berhalter let him go.

There’s really no defense of this one. On paper, it seemed like a great signing ‚ÄĒ skilled wing player on a team lacking natural width, brings a load of MLS experience and in need of a change of scenery. Little did I know back then that Krisztian Nemeth would basically have the season I thought Anor would.

US Open Cup final: Union 1-1 (6-7 PKs) Sporting KC

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Sporting Kansas City are Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup winners for the third time (2004, 2012) in their 20-year history and major trophy winners for the third time (2013 MLS Cup) in four years after knocking off the Philadelphia Union, 1-1 (7-6 on penalty kicks) at PPL Park in the final of the 102nd edition of the competition.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Paulo Nagamura went inches from giving the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute. Benny Feilhaber won the ball in the corner, raced along toward the penalty area and crossed to the back post. Graham Zusi corralled the wayward cross and quickly cut the ball back to Nagamura, whose shot hit the far post and bounced back into play, right into the hands of goalkeeper Andre Blake.

It wasn’t long after that Sebastien Le Toux got onto the end of Vincent Nogueira’s brilliant cross-field, diagonal ball and finished inside the far post to put the Union ahead in the 23rd minute.

Tim Melia pulled off a stunning double-save to thwart attempts by Le Toux and Tranquillo Barnetta in the 37th minute. Le Toux got in behind Seth Sinovic once again, received another one of Nogueira’s splitting passes, but his first touch took him away from goal and made the ensuing shot more difficult. Melia was out quick to make the high save. Le Toux then fed the ball to Barnetta, who cut inside onto his left foot and unleashed an effort that looked bound for the back of the net. At full stretch, Melia tipped the ball around his far post.

[ MORE MLS: Week 30 Team of the Week | Player of the Week ]

The second half began much like its predecessor, with the Union picking apart the Sporting KC midfield and defense with dangerous passes and runs through all attacking channels. Melia kept his side in the game with another pair of strong saves, which proved game-changers when Krisztian Nemeth popped up with a stunning finish in the 65th minute.

With just 25 minute left in his side’s¬†run through the 2015 Open Cup, Nemeth found himself the recipient of a clever ball out to the left corner of the 18-yard box, courtesy of Zusi. Nemeth’s first touch? A picture-perfect, right-footed effort that bent the ball around Blake and just inside the far post.

Conor Casey subbed into the game in the 77th minute. Less than a minute later, the veteran striker found himself one on one with Melia down the left side of the six-yard box. Melia was, again, quick off his line and closed the angle down impossibly quickly and made the save.

[ MORE: Bradley speaks on “hate, passion” in U.S. vs. Mexico rivalry ]

After a largely uneventful extra time period, the score remained 1-1 and the game headed to penalty kicks. Jim Curtin did opt to sub out Blake for John McCarthy, the Union’s penalty shootout hero twice already in the 2015 Open Cup.

Le Toux and Feilhaber each converted their attempt from the spot ‚ÄĒ 1-1 after round no. 1. Nogueira and Dom Dwyer each converted in round no. 2 ‚ÄĒ 2-2.

Maurice Edu and Nemeth each saw their attempt saved in round no. 3 ‚ÄĒ 2-2. Barnetta and Matt Besler each converted their attempt in round no. 4 ‚ÄĒ 3-3.

Casey and Nagamura each converted their attempt in round no. 5 ‚ÄĒ 4-4, and onto sudden death. Michael Lahoud and Zusi each converted their attempt in round no. 6 ‚ÄĒ 5-5.

Raymon Gaddis and Kevin Ellis each converted their attempt in round no. 6 ‚ÄĒ 5-5. Andrew Wenger’s attempt in round no. 7 was saved by the leg of Melia. Jordi Quintilla stepped up next, sent McCarthy one way and coolly rolled the ball over the line to win the shootout, 6-5.

US Open Cup Final Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting KC

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Who: Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting KC
What: Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final
When: Wednesday, September 30, 7 p.m. ET
Where: PPL Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

The 102nd edition of the United States’ oldest soccer competition comes to a close on Wednesday night, as the Philadelphia Union take on Sporting KC in the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

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

The Union may have struggled in MLS play this season, but are making their second straight appearance in the U.S. Open Cup final. Philadelphia fell to the Seattle Sounders 3-1 after extra-time in last season’s final.

For Sporting KC, Peter Vermes is looking to guide his side to a second USOC title after winning the cup in 2012. They also won a title in 2004 as the Kansas City Wizards.

Both sides fielded mostly reserves in their midweek MLS matches, so everyone should be well rested for Wednesday’s final.

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While Kansas City has achieved some success over the past few seasons, winning the USOC in 2012 and the MLS Cup in 2013, Philadelphia has struggled as of late. The Union have failed to make the MLS playoffs four of the past five seasons, and the club has never won a trophy.

Sebastien Le Toux scored the only goal in Philadelphia’s 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire in the semifinals, setting a competition record with 15 goals all-time. The veteran striker will be eager to get on the scoresheet again and lead his team to a title, which would be a bright spot in a relatively disappointing season for the Union.