DC United knocked the Revolution out of the US Open Cup, 3-1, in a quarterfinal clash at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Wednesday evening. The result ends what appeared to be a promising tournament run for the Revolution, who were playing in their first quarterfinal match since 2008.
Chris Pontius scored for DC just before halftime, firing a shot from the right side of the penalty area in off the post.
The minutes before halftime are generally the worst moments for a team to allow a goal as it changes the game plan for the second half and can potentially demoralize a team. But the Revolution didn't seem to be too concerned with DC's goal, as they responded early in the second half.
In the 52nd minute, Diego Fagundez drew a freekick following a foul by former Revolution defender James Riley. Next, Juan Toja converted the set-piece, his shot going into the net off the underside of the crossbar to beat DC goalkeeper Joe Willis and tie the game. The goal was Toja's first as a member of the Revolution.
The Revolution had bids to claim the lead throughout the second half as Scott Caldwell (65th) and Andrew Farrell (66th) saw two quick chances stopped by Willis. Those saves were key, as Dwayne DeRosario would help DC retake the lead moments later.
In the 69th minute, he headed in a corner kick from Pontius that slipped in off the bottom of the crossbar and past Matt Reis. DeRosario was then subbed out for Lionard Pajoy in the 83rd minute.
Pajoy converted a penalty kick for DC in the 86th minute. Moments before, Juan Agudelo, who came on for Fagundez in the 75th minute, had an effort that hit the post.
The Revolution weren't using all of their regular starters for the game, but the lineup they put out was very capable of beating DC, who currently have the league's worst overall record.
DC have scored just eight goals this season--six less than Toronto and Chivas USA, who are tied for the league's second worst offensive record. They currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, 11 points from the Revolution and 14 from the last playoff place. They also only recently snapped a 13-game winless streak, beating San Jose 1-0 last week.
Nevertheless, it was not unimaginable to see DC cruise past the Revolution. Since DC are all but out of the playoffs, they entered the game very committed to Open Cup play. The Open Cup winner gets an automatic berth to the CONCACAF Champions League and a $250,000 cash prize in addition to a major trophy. So the incentive was certainly there for DC, who have a long tradition of winning major hardware.
And after holding the Revolution scoreless in a 0-0 draw at Gillette Stadium earlier this month, United were probably very confident they could snatch a win in their home venue against them tonight.
Meanwhile, the loss should leave the Revolution scratching their heads. No matter how talented DC's players may be or how up they were for the game, the Revolution should have moved on to the semifinals. They don't have long to think about this loss with a game at Chivas USA this weekend, though perhaps when they look back on things at the end of the season they'll see a missed opportunity.
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