The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup got underway for the MLS clubs in midweek. Here is the Southeast region recap from the five games that were played.
There were five matches involving teams from the Southeast in round four of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. All five matches featured MLS versus USL/NPSL opponents, with the lower division sides looking for the magical ‘Cupset’ to propel them into the next round.
Miami and Nashville were awarded home matches while Charleston, Richmond, and North Carolina FC made the trip to their MLS foes.
There were four games that played out as scripted and one match that could have gone either way.
The North Carolina FC match provided the most drama as they battled DC United all the way to penalties, falling at the final kick, while Nashville showed they are getting MLS-ready as they defeated a struggling Colorado Rapids team 2-0. Atlanta United, Orlando City, and the Philadelphia Union won by multiple goals and cruised into the fifth round.
Here is a recap of all of the fourth-round, Southeast region Lamar Hunt US Open Cup matches.
Philadelphia Union (MLS) 5-0 Richmond Kickers (USL)
Talen Energy Stadium; Chester, Pa.
Richmond looked to spring the ‘Cupset’ in this first-ever meeting between these sides but it was all one-way traffic as the Union scored early and often in a dominant 5-0 victory. Four first-half goals, including one just three minutes into the game, spelt doom for the Kickers as they never really gained any momentum on the evening.
DC United (MLS) 1-1 (DC 4-3 in PKs) North Carolina FC (USL)
Maryland SportsPlex; Boyds, Md.
North Carolina FC has a long record of success in the Cup previously playing under the Railhawks name. Several times, sorry LA Galaxy, the side from North Carolina has advanced in the Cup at the expense of an MLS opponent. Again this year NCFC had a “Cupset” on their minds and took DC United the distance before falling just short in penalties. DC might have enjoyed more of the possession but the game was otherwise even across the board. After Ian Harkes put the hosts up 1-0 in the first half it was a late 83rd-minute goal from Marios Lomis that sent the game to extra-time.
Miami United FC (NPSL) 0-3 Orlando City SC (MLS)
Ted Hendricks Stadium; Hialeah, Fla.
Orlando crashed out of the Cup last year to a side from Miami and looked to avoid the same fate this year in Round Four. It didn’t happen in 2018. A mixed line up of regulars and reserves from Orlando cruised to the 3-0 win behind 70% of the possession and a pair of goals around the hour mark to ice the result. Stefano Pinho opened the scoring in the 37th minute while Dillon Powers and PC slammed the door on United in the second half.
Atlanta United FC (MLS) 3-0 Charleston Battery (USL)
Fifth Third Bank Stadium (Kennesaw State Univ.); Kennesaw, Ga.
In a replay of a 2017 Cup clash, Charleston again made the trip to Kennesaw State to play the Five Stripes in the same round they met last season. Atlanta endured the lengthy weather delay a year ago and bailed out a result in a scrappy match. This year, it clear skies with Andrew Carleton opening the scoring in the 14th minute and Atlanta finishing off the win with goals from Ezequiel Barco and Romario Williams to advance.
Nashville SC (USL) 2-0 Colorado Rapids (MLS)
Vanderbilt Stadium; Nashville, Tenn.
Future MLS expansion franchise Nashville SC got to fast forward the clock a couple of seasons as they welcomed MLS opposition to the Volunteer state in the club’s first competitive match versus and MLS franchise. The better side won this as the hosts were up for the challenge and won the game 2-0. The Rapids rested several regulars but the stat of the night was how Nashville held Colorado to zero shots on goal for the 90 minutes. It was an own goal in the 39th minute that put Nashville ahead and then Ropapa Mensah finished the match off in the 78th minute. For three former Rapids who were part of their 2010 MLS Championship team, the game was extra sweet with Coach Gary Smith, ‘keeper Matt Pickens, and midfielder Kosuke Kimura all featuring for Nashville’s win.
US Open Cup Round Five Draw
The round-of-16 draw then re-grouped the round four winners into more regional pools, with Atlanta and Nashville being placed with Chicago and Louisville in the Mideast Region, while Orlando moved into the East Region alongside DC United, Philadelphia, and the New York Red Bulls.
Orlando will travel to DC United in the Round of 16, while the Fire will travel to Atlanta. In an all-USL match, it will be Nashville making the journey to play Louisville. Round-of-16 games will be played June 15-20.