DC United built its roster for success in multiple competitions and wanted to prove it in a fourth round U.S. Open Cup match on the road against the USL Pro Pittsburgh Riverhounds. United will have a chance to continue its Cup journey, but only after surviving for a 3-1 victory in extra time.
After an even second half that included several quality chances for the Riverhounds, United was able to break through just 1:54 into the extra time on a Kofi Opare goal. From the right flank Jared Jeffrey delivered a perfect cross to Opare who skied in the middle of the penalty area and scored on a powerful header.
As the first extra time came to a close Leroy DeLeon gave United some breathing room when he also scored on a header. With his back to the goal Jairo Arrieta masterfully secured possession and then played a ball across the face of the goal for DeLeon.
DC United wanted to avoid déjà-vu all over again. A season ago United was pushed out of the U.S. Open Cup in the fourth round with a loss on the road to the USL Pro’s Rochester Rhinos.
From the opening kick it was clear DC United was committed to try and make quick work of the third division Riverhounds. In the 8th minute Facundo Coria scored on a well taken corner by Jairo Arrieta that was flicked-on at the near post by Luis Silva.
The dream start for United faded in the 23rd minute when Opare, was whistled for a foul in the penalty area on Kevin Kerr. Riverhounds leading scorer Rob Vincent converted the penalty kick. With the score tied the Riverhounds confidence grew and the match could have gone either way in regulation.
- Mission accomplished. The game was in doubt until extra time, but United secured passage to the round of 16 with a lineup that only featured one starter, Jairo Arrieta, from Sunday’s match in Orlando. United started Andrew Dykstra in goal with Jalen Robinson, Kofi Opare, Markus Halsti, and Luke Mishu on defense. Miguel Aguilar, Conor Doyle, Luis Silva and Jared Jeffrey formed the midfield with Luis Silva and Arrieta at forwards. In short United was able to win and manage its roster for Sunday’s match against New England.
2. Growing soccer nation. Major League Soccer understandably grabs most of the American soccer spotlight, but the growth of the professional game in this country has not been limited to the top of the pyramid. The second division North American Soccer League has 11 clubs and is averaging close to 7,000 fans per game. The third division USL Pro has 24 teams that thrive on delivering upsets in the Open Cup. The Riverhounds offered United stiff competition before a sellout crowd in a soccer-specific stadium. A fan club called the Steel Army added to the atmosphere with its drums and constant chants.