There's a healthy buzz around the Internet today following Tuesday night's U.S. Open Cup action. And why not? The Red Bulls' 3-0 shutout win over the Charleston Battery wasn't the only exciting match of the night. In fact, the full night's worth of matches resulted in a number of upsets, as seven MLS sides were eliminated from contention.
MLSsoccer.com has an individual breakdown of each match, complete with a short summary of some of the most intense matches of the night.
Obviously the level of excitement of each match is up to a fan's own interpretation, but I doubt you'll find anyone who will deny the fact that the Harrisburg City Islanders vs. New England Revolution match was anything short of dramatic.
Once the Red Bulls defeated the Battery, it would come down to the winner of that match to determine the who, when and where of New York's fourth round Open Cup meeting.
New England played a majority of the match down a man, yet still closed out the first 90 minutes in a scoreless draw against Harrisburg. But, seeing as how each match up must produce a winner, a draw was not an option. During extra time, New England jumped out to an explosive 3-0 lead. At that point it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Red Bulls would be hosting the Revolution at Red Bull Arena. After all, a 3-0 lead is pretty much a lock in extra time, right?
Well, not exactly.
The City Islanders caught fire and scored three goals of their own to draw level in the additional 30 minutes of time. From there, Harrisburg closed out its rally with a picture-perfect finish in penalty kicks to not only advance to the next round, but also host the Red Bulls at Skyline Sports Complex in PA on June 5 (7:30 p.m. kickoff).
One of the reasons I love the U.S. Open Cup is the opportunity to discover American soccer in full depth. We can all find the top of the totem pole, the men’s and women’s national teams and MLS. But there’s a lot of soccer out there that’s not fully professional, that’s lesser adorned and not necessarily attached to network TV contracts.
One-by-one the results kept coming in Tuesday night, with each one seeming more unlikely than the last. On perhaps the wildest, most unpredictable night in U.S. Open Cup history, seven MLS teams were eliminated from the competition the third round, and the manner in which some of them were sent packing was downright shocking.
If the fourth round of U.S. Open Cup action turns out to be just as intense as the third, then fans will undoubtedly be treated to some more exciting soccer.
Mark your calendars: Red Bulls vs. City Islanders on Tuesday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET