US Open Cup: RSL and the Fire reach quarters while the Crew and Charlotte bow out
By Abel Folgar
The 2023 US Open Cup Round of 16 brought the goods this week as USL sides showed up their MLS rivals, and teams battled it out on the run to the quarterfinals set for June 6.
Here's what went down for the clubs pursuing glory, cash awards, silver for the clubhouse cases, and most important of all – a coveted spot in the 2024 Concacaf Champions League.
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC 1-0 Columbus Crew
We have our first Cupset!
For as sturdy as the Crew might've looked in the badges of old, it was good old-fashioned steel from the Pittsburgh Riverhounds that toppled them – a sizable shock coming from the USL club.
The Crew put in the effort, but never recovered from an early goal by Cameroonian striker Albert Dikwa. Their 75.1% possession and a number of buildups that they should’ve capitalized upon was for naught. Even a late red to Riverhounds forward Edward Kizza at the 90'+5' mark did little to help.
Birmingham Legion FC 1-0 Charlotte FC
A red card also plagued MLS side Charlotte FC that left a ten-man squad unable to prevent and overcome a 60' goal by Legion Ghanaian winger Prosper Kassim.
Birmingham, a USL Championship club, kept composure and revved up its engines taking advantage of Charlotte center back Adilson Malanda getting sent off on his second yellow at the 51' mark.
Austin FC 0-2 Chicago Fire FC
The Fire made easy work of a drowsy Austin team that saw few flourishes of hope in the likes of midfielder Daniel Pereira and defender Alexander Ring.
Rafael Czichos and Kacper Przybylko netted in each half to put Chicago through to the quarterfinals along fine performances by Xherdan Shaqiri and keeper Spencer Richey who was clutch under the sticks.
Colorado Rapids 0-1 Real Salt Lake
RSL darling Jefferson Savarino made the most out of a rebounded ball and put in a clinical shot from outside the box to give his boys the lead at the 30’ mark – the second Salt Lake victory over the Rapids in four days following their 3–2 victory on Matchday 14.
With the game conditioned exactly an hour before the final whistle, it was little doing as far as Rapid efforts were concerned.
Birmingham Legion FC will face Inter Miami CF, the Fire will go against the Houston Dynamo, FC Cincinnati will measure up with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, and the LA Galaxy will take on Real Salt Lake.