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USOC Round 5 Rewind: Absolute Freakin’ Mayhem

A good week to be the home team— and a bad week for MLS sides

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Atlanta United FC at Miami FC Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 is in the books, and the third oldest domestic cup competition in the world did not disappoint. (Unless you’re a Fire fan, obviously.) You can check out the full list of results here. Now that the Quarterfinals are set, let’s take a look at how we got there.

Dreamers Keep Dreaming

FC Cincinnati weren’t the only second division team to knock off MLS opposition. In the other big Cupset of the round, Miami FC (NASL) defeated Atlanta United 3-2 in the closing seconds of the match, after former NYCFC midfielder Kwadwo Poku netted in the 93rd minute to ensure the victory. This game was a seesaw, though, as both teams led at different points in the match. In the end, Italy legend Alessandro Nesta managed to get his disciplined second division team across the line for a match up against fellow Cinderella FC Cincinnati. The game will take place on July 12 in Florida.

Homefield Disadvantage

The home side won in seven of the eight USOC clashes scheduled this week. Imagine how it feels to be the odd men out. If you know any Dynamo fans— give them a call, offer them a hug, buy them a drink. They had a rough week after seeing their team fall 2-0 at home to Sporting Kansas City. The visitors looked set to have a bad night, given that they were missing several key international players (plus Benny Feilhaber, who’s recovering from injury). But they managed to find a way to win a tough match on the road and book a spot in the last eight, bucking a trend toward homefield advantage along the way.

Shootouts are fun, right?

The Philadelphia Union— who are not having the best of MLS campaigns— traveled to New Jersey for their game against the New York Red Bulls. The Union had knocked off their neighbors in each of the last two Open Cups, and the domestic competition looked to be their best chance at securing some sort of silverware this season. But the Red Bulls had other plans, as Sacha Kljestan slotted home a square ball from Bradley Wright-Phillips into an empty net late in the first half. The Union got into the game after the break, though, and eventually got an equalizer in the 86th minute. After a back-and-forth extra time the game went into a shootout, where 8/9 kick takers were successful from the spot. Who missed? That would be Philadelphia’s Fafa Piicault, and NYRB are on to the final eight.

Galaxy write end to third Cinderella story

The third second division team left in the final sixteen, Sacramento Republic FC, did not fair as well as their fellow non-MLS sides. After the halftime whistle went and the scoreboard still showed 0-0, the crowd at the Stub Hub Center Track & Field Stadium were rewarded with an electric second half. Stunning goals from Ariel Lassiter and Bradford Jamieson IV within a span of 180 seconds of one another put the Galaxy on top 2-0, leaving the MLS hopefuls scratching their heads and out of the tournament. The Galaxy’s victory sets up a California Clasico against the Earthquakes in the next round.

San Jose actually won?

The Earthquakes— who had not advanced to the Open Cup quarter finals since 2012— impressed Wednesday night with a hard-earned victory at Avaya Stadium. They played an in-form, reigning MLS Cup champion side right off the pitch, as Earthquakes midfielder Shea Salinas—and a little help from a deflection—put his team up 1-0 within the first six minutes of the game. Things didn’t get better right away for Seattle either, as Francisco Narbon got sent off in the 35th minute. However, Seattle would get level when Aaron Kovar netted a free kick in the 48th minute, beating the keeper at the near post. Late on, though, San Jose’s Dany Hoesen finished off a neat bit of passing to give the Earthquakes a lead in the 84th minute. They held on for a 2-1 win and a ticket to the Quarterfinals. This was a good way to turn the page on an otherwise difficult week for the Quakes, who bid adieu to longtime manager Dom Kinnear last weekend.