It took 30 minutes longer than planned, but D.C. United successfully navigated the Fourth Round of the US Open Cup, with a 3-1 win in extra time against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Facundo Coria gave United an early lead with a tap in from a corner in the 8th minute. But Rob Vincent equalized from the spot in the first half, before Kofi Opare and Nick DeLeon scored for United in the first half of extra time.
Manager Ben Olsen went with a heavily changed lineup against Pittsburgh, with Jairo Arrieta the lone starter from the loss to Orlando City on Sunday. Jalen Robinson made his first appearance of the season, while Coria got his first start. Luke Mishu saw his first minutes at left back, and Markus Halsti played his first minutes as a center back this season after previously playing in the midfield.
United will now have to wait to for tomorrow's draw to see who they will face in the Fifth Round, in a game that will likely be played on June 30th.
Looking to move on to the Fifth Round after failing to get past the Rochester Rhinos in the Fourth Round last year, United got off to a fast start, nearly opening the scoring in the 4th minute. Coria whipped in a corner that bounced around the box and then off the post, falling to Halsti, who was unable to poke home from close range.
On United's second corner four minutes later, United did find that opener, as Coria netted his first goal for the Black-and-Red in his first start for the club. From the other corner, Luis Silva whipped in a cross that Conor Doyle flicked on at the near post. The ball went across the face of the goal, finding an unmarked Coria, who easily tapped home for the 1-0 lead.
Doyle had a chance to add to the lead in the 18th minute, as a spell of United possession ended with the ball falling to Doyle near the top of the box. But having to set himself before shooting, Doyle dragged his shot wide of the mark from outside the box.
United was in front of proceedings for most of the first half, until an uncharacteristic mistake from Kofi Opare handed the Riverhounds a penalty kick in the 23rd minute. Opare tried to deal with a bouncing ball by heading it to himself before clearing it out, but caught Kevin Kerr in the process of clearing, with the referee immediately pointing to the spot.
Rob Vincent stepped up to take the penalty, and sent Andrew Dykstra the wrong way, leveling the score halfway through the first half.
Coria had a long range effort from a counter attack that was over the target, before Stephen Okai's ball behind United's defense for Mike Green forced a save at a tight angle from Dykstra.
Proceedings fell into a lull for most of the rest of the half, before each side had a chance to take the lead in the last moments of the half. Danny Earls was able to hold off a challenge in the corner before sending a cross into the box, that found Kerr. Kerr managed to get his volley on target, but it was straight at Dykstra who made the save.
Robinson, making his appearance for United this season, then had a header saved off the line with the final action of the first half. Silva's corner found the leaping Robinson, but Green was perfectly placed on the line to keep the ball out for what would have been the go ahead goal.
The second half saw few chances from either side as both struggled to create what could have been a potential game winning goal. Miguel Aguilar collected an early cross in the 53rd minute, but saw his effort roll just wide of the far post, having found a way past Calle Brown in goal.
Coria had a deflected shot then collected by Brown, before Vincent went close for Pittsburgh. His one timed shot from the top of the box was well hit, but Dykstra was at full stretch to tip it over the bar for a corner.
Silva had two opportunities to find a goal for himself, but saw a free kick saved, before Arrieta's feed from a hold up play resulted in a weak shot from Silva.
The half petered out with United finding plenty of space in the attacking third, but failing to create any real scoring chances, sending the game into an extra 30 minutes.
United wasted little time in grabbing the advantage in the overtime, with Opare atoning for his earlier mistake by putting United ahead in the 92nd minute. Jared Jeffrey's corner was perfectly placed for Opare to rise up and power a header home, giving United the crucial 2-1 lead.
The Riverhounds weren't quite done though, and they quickly went back the other way to create a couple of goal scoring opportunities. Vincent was in on goal with just Dykstra to beat after dancing through United's defense, but his shot was too weak, and straight at Dykstra, who gratefully covered the shot.
Earls had a free kick from 35 yards out in the 97th minute, that picked out substitute Drew Russell at the far post. Russell beat his defender to the ball, but his header hit the post, and bounced out for a goal kick for D.C.
Just before the end of the first half of extra time, DeLeon headed United to a two goal advantage. Aguilar had an opportunity to score, but was denied by Brown, with Arrieta keeping the ball in play in the box. DeLeon made a late run into the box, and Arrieta picked out DeLeon, who placed his header off the bar for United's third.
Pittsburgh spent the second half of stoppage time pumping numbers forward, but failing to create any scoring opportunities that would have made a contest of the game again.
United head back to D.C. to face off against New England at RFK on Sunday.
Highlights will be added when they are available.