Tampa Bay Sports Day

Seven NASL Clubs Advance to Fourth Round of U.S. Open Cup

Seven North American Soccer League (NASL) clubs including Tampa Bay advanced in the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, advancing to the tournament’s fourth round where they will meet MLS competition in exactly two weeks.

The seven winners were the most for the NASL in the Open Cup since six teams moved on from their opening round in 2012. Carolina, Fort Lauderdale, Indy, Jacksonville, New York, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay all took care of business in the third round, while league newcomers Rayo OKC and Miami FC fell in close affairs.

Tampa Bay Rowdies 1, FC Cincinnati (USL) 0

Georgi Hristov gave the Rowdies the early lead when he scored in the 11th minute, taking down a long pass from Neill Collins before cutting inside a defender to fire his shot home.

The goal stood up the rest of the way as Tampa Bay advances to the fourth round for a road game against the Columbus Crew.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1 (2-0 PKs), Richmond Kickers (USL) 1

Goalkeeper Diego Restrepo stopped three of four penalty-kick attempts (the fourth hit a goalpost) as the Fort Lauderdale Strikers ousted the Richmond Kickers. PC and Geison Moura scored the spot kicks for the home side.

Manny Gonzalez gave the Strikers an early lead when he scored only two minutes into the game. Richmond’s Yudai Imura knotted the score in the 28th minute – and that is the way it stayed, through the rest of the first half, through a 40-minute lightning delay, the remainder of the second half, and into 30 minutes of extra time.

The Strikers will play at D.C. United in the fourth round.

Jacksonville Armada FC 2, Charleston Battery (USL) 1 (AET)

Jacksonville took a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute on Patrick Otte’s neat finish past visiting goalkeeper Shawn Ferguson. Shortly thereafter, though, the Battery drew level through Chris Tsonis. The game went to added time and Jacksonville’s Alhassane Keita found pay dirt in 108th minute, scoring the game-winning goal after a nice backheel flick from Alex Dixon.

The Armada FC advances to host Orlando City SC.

New York Cosmos 2, Jersey Express (PDL) 0

New York’s early dominance in possession and scoring chances (12 shots in the first half) finally paid off when Ayoze used his deadly left foot to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute. He curled a free kick into the upper 90 from the top of the arc to break the deadlock. Second-half substitute Yohandry Orozco effectively iced the match when he headed home a cross from Hunter Freeman in the 72nd minute.

New York defeated Jersey Express, 3-0, in a third-round game last year, and after their latest win against the PDL side, the Cosmos advance to the fourth round where they will face local rival NYCFC.

Carolina RailHawks 5, Charlotte Independence (USL) 0 (AET)

The RailHawks and the 10-man Independence played through 90 scoreless minutes before Carolina erupted for three goals seven minutes apart in the first half of extra time. Billy Schuler scored in the 92nd minute, Nazmi Albadawi in the 96th, and Brian Shriver in the 99th. A fourth came in the 109th minute by Jonathon Orlando and then a fifth, Schuler’s second of the match, in the 115th minute.

The RailHawks will host their fourth-round game against the New England Revolution.

Indy Eleven 2, Louisville City (USL) 1

Louisville City jumped on top when Chandler Hoffman beat Indy goalkeeper Keith Cardona for the opener in the 21st minute. Jamaican striker Omar Gordon knotted the score for the host with a left-footed shot in the 59th minute. The Eleven then grabbed the lead in the 68th minute as Eamon Zayed converted a tap-in from a Dylan Mares cross.

Indy Eleven avenged last year’s third-round loss to Louisville City and advances to play at the Chicago Fire in the fourth round.

Wilmington Hammerheads (USL) 2, Miami FC 1

Wilmington raced to a 2-0 lead before 10 minutes had even elapsed. Goals by Jeff Michaud in the second minute and Justin Moose in the fifth staked the Hammerheads to the lead.

Miami FC cut the deficit in half on a goal by Jaime Chávez off an assist from Adaíltonin the 52nd minute. Miami’s bid to tie the match went by the wayside in the 81st minute when Dario Cvitanich’s penalty kick was saved by former NASL goalkeeper Eric Ati.

Wilmington advances to the fourth round for a tough challenge at Real Salt Lake.

Minnesota United 2, St. Louis FC (USL) 0

Kevin Venegas, making his 100th appearance for Minnesota in all competitions, gave the Loons a 1-0 lead in the 69th minute, converting a pass over the top from Christian Ramirez. Venegas, an offensive-minded defender, slotted a low shot past St. Louis goalkeeper Mark Pais. Danny Cruz then set up Jack Blake for an insurance goal deep into second-half stoppage time.

Minnesota’s victory erases the bad taste from last year’s loss at St. Louis in a penalty-kick shootout. The Loons advance to the fourth round to host Sporting Kansas City.

OKC Energy FC (USL) 2, Rayo OKC 1 (AET)

Rayo OKC broke in front two minutes before halftime when Billy Forbes blasted a loose ball into the roof of the net. OKC Energy FC, though, quickly bounced back, as Sebastian Dalgaard scored the equalizer at the end of a nice three-pass sequence. A scoreless second half forced extra time. Energy FC dominated the first 15 minutes, then broke through in the 107th when Kyle Hyland headed in a cross from Michael Harris.

OKC Energy FC advances to play at FC Dallas in the fourth round.