December 16, 2019

D.C. United Open Cup Game Recap: United survive Richmond’s upset bid in penalties

For 120 minutes in Richmond Tuesday night, D.C. United did what D.C. United mostly does – fail to score. But this time, United found a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of penalty kicks. United outscored the Richmond Kickers, 4-2, in the penalty shootout to defeat the Kickers after a 0-0 draw through regulation and extra time in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup at City Stadium.

United advances to host Major League Soccer rival Philadelphia Union in the fourth round on June 12, according to thecup.us. The Union defeated the Ocean City Nor’easters (PDL), 2-1, on a stoppage time goal by former United midfielder Brian Carroll.

United limped into the shootout with just nine men, thanks to a pair of yellow cards to defender Chris Korb that resulted in his sending off, followed by a rough tackle from forward Carlos Ruiz that led to his immediate dismissal in the 117th minute.

But in the shootout, United were a perfect 4-for-4, putting on a clinic of shooting unlike any seen this year through 12 league matches and the first 2 hours of play tonight. Dwayne De Rosario, Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon, and James Riley all netted as United needed just four of the standard five rounds to dispatch the Kickers in the tiebreaker. Richmond’s first two penalties were lackluster efforts by Sascha Goerres and Joseph Ngwenya to United goalkeeper Joe Willis’ left, both of which he dived toward the post to save rather easily.

Richmond’s Luke Vercollone and Nate Robinson scored in the third and fourth rounds, respectively, but by then it was too little, too late, and Riley’s successful penalty low and to goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra’s right ended the match.

Because of the red cards, both Korb and Ruiz will be suspended for United’s match in the fourth round against Philadelphia. Korb received his first yellow for a tackle in second-half stoppage time, then earned the second for spinning down Ngwenya in the 114th minute. Ruiz exited just 3 minutes later, but it wasn’t enough time for a tired Kickers club to threaten.

Richmond had used its final substitution after 70 minutes, so there were no fresh legs to concern United by that point. Ngwenya, a former United player with six league goals for Richmond in league play this season, found himself alone on the ball in the penalty area just before full time, but instead of shooting or passing, he decided to try and dribble through two United defenders and was dispossessed, somewhat summing up the night.

Despite playing a club two levels down from them (albeit one that is undefeated, 5-0-3, at that level), and starting a mostly standard lineup, United had trouble breaking down the Kickers and couldn’t find dangerous chances at goal. Newly-acquired midfielder Sainey Nyassi came on as a substitute to start the first session of extra time. De Rosario went all 120 minutes. Chris Pontius and Ruiz entered as second-half substitutes.

But no matter who was on the field, United mostly failed to threaten Dykstra’s goal during regulation and extra time. United perhaps got closest in the 35th minute, when De Rosario hit the post to Dykstra’s left, but the ball stayed out.

It would have been the low point for United’s already downtrodden season had Richmond captured the win in penalties, but for now, United’s quest to win a trophy this season lives on.

United returns to MLS play this Sunday when D.C. visits the Chicago Fire.

NOTES: Among the United outfield players, Daniel Woolard, James Riley, Kitchen, Conor Shanosky, DeLeon, and De Rosario played all 120 minutes. … United got a good look at forward Michael Seaton, 17, who is on loan to Richmond from United and played 60 minutes for the Kickers. While he showed good energy, he struggled to create chances while in possession, and couldn’t always link up with teammates as a target. Richmond goalkeeper Dykstra is also on the United roster. … In other third-round matches Tuesday night, USL PRO league leaders Orlando City upset the Colorado Rapids of MLS, 3-1. FC Dallas beat the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL), 2-0; while the Charleston Battery (USL PRO) upset the San Jose Earthquakes, 1-0.

Ed Morgans is a Contributor to District Sports Page, covering D.C. United. For in-game analysis and story notifications, follow him on Twitter @writered21.

About Ed Morgans

Ed Morgans is DC United Page Editor for District Sports Page. Ed worked for The Journal Newspapers (now The Examiner) and covered DC United from 1997-2002. He spent the 2003 season writing for the club’s website. Ed has covered All-Star Games, MLS Cups, CONCACAF Champions Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and international friendlies. He also worked as a blogger at www.bigsoccer.com, the country’s leading soccer message board website. You can follow Ed on Twitter @writerEd21.

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