The Fourth Round in the US Open Cup was held this week. This was the round where MLS sides enter the fray, and thus the first real set of opportunities for upsets.
And boy were they plentiful.
There’s a lot to be unpacked this round, and we couldn’t get to everything. You can check out the full list of results here, but these are the stories that really made us sit up and take notice.
DC United 4-1 Christos FC
In a round that was full of upsets, this fixture was the one so many neutrals were pulling for— and the one that disappointed the most. Christos, the amateur side from Maryland that became the undisputed Cinderella team heading into the Fourth Round, looked set to pull of the biggest heist in USOC history when they took a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute and, following a DCU equalizer, held the score level until very late in the second half. But it wasn’t meant to be— DC scored three goals in the last 10 minutes and demolished Christos’ (and our) fragile dreams of cup glory.
FC Cincinnati 1-0 Columbus Crew
We’re all professionals here at Hot Time. (Stop laughing.) As such, we try to maintain a spirit of professional comity when it comes to other teams. Even rivals. Even hated rivals. Yet we must confess— watching Cincinnati take down Columbus provided a generous bounty of schadenfreude here at HTIOT HQ. Enough to fill a jacuzzi. Enough warm, nourishing schadenfreude to luxuriate in for hours. But let’s not bury the lede too much here— FCC’s history-making win took place in front of over 30,000 fans at Nippert Stadium, setting a USOC attendance record. Something special’s happening in the Queen City. The Fire’s clash with them in the Fifth Round isn’t going to be a walk in the park.
Orlando City 1-3 Miami FC
This has been a bad, bad week for Orlando City. The Lions had been looking forward to their USOC tie with Miami FC as a sort of confidence builder, a way to wash the bad taste of their goalless draw with the Fire out of their mouths. What they got instead was one of their biggest embarrassments in their history as an MLS club— a 3-1 drubbing against weaker opposition and a one-and-done exit from the Open Cup. And because the best thing for an open wound is salt, Orlando fans woke up the next morning to yet another upheaval with the news that striker Cyle Larin was arrested on DUI charges in the wee hours following the game. The past 24 hours may go down as the low point in Orlando’s season.
FC Dallas 2-1 Tulsa Roughnecks
Last night wasn’t all good news for the Fire. The club’s USL affiliate, the Tulsa Roughnecks, had their USOC campaign brought to an unceremonious end. While Fire loanees Joey Callistri and Collin Fernandez availed themselves well, it wasn’t enough to overcome a demonstrably-stronger Dallas side. The Roughnecks still have a lengthy USL campaign ahead of them, and with their league position putting them right on the line for playoff qualification in the Western Conference, Callistri and C-Fer have plenty of work ahead of them.
Sacramento Republic 4-1 Real Salt Lake
As Fire fans are all too aware, the USOC can serve as a way to redeem a season that’s fallen far short of expectations. With the team languishing near the bottom of the Western Conference, Real Salt Lake were no doubt looking at the Cup as a way to make good on an ostensibly promising squad and give the fans something to cheer for in the weeks and months ahead. Maybe they could even pull a DC United and win some silverware to make up for what will likely be a poor league finish. Instead, USL side Sacramento Republic wiped the floor with their visitors, sending them back to SLC with a 4-1 defeat and some very difficult questions to grapple with.