D.C. United MLS 

Penalty kicks needed as Orlando advances past D.C. United in Open Cup

It took a weather delay, two halves of extra time, and penalty kicks to decide who was going to advance to the next round of the US Open Cup. Orlando City SC made the most of the shootout, beating D.C. United 4-2 to secure the win. 

The weather delay happened literally five minutes into the game, once play resumed the Black-and-Red were the aggressor. Darren Mattocks tracked down an errant pass, beat his man down the touchline and played a ball back into the center of the box. A running Luciano Acosta met the ball and blasted it to the far post, giving D.C. United a 1-0 lead in the tenth minute. Orlando would respond seven minutes later, Orlando’s Justin Meram  fired a shot on frame. Steve Clark appeared to easily get in front of it and went down to his knees to secure the shot. The conditions, wet ball may have played a factor in the ball squeezing out of Clark’s grasp and rolling into the open net.

From there play settled down a bit for both teams, with each generating a few chances. One of the most controversial calls came in the 32nd minute. Acosta got the ball in midfield and played a gorgeous thru ball up to Mattocks, Darren collected the ball, evaded the keeper and placed the ball in the back of the net. A few seconds later the official raised his hand, signaling that Mattocks was offsides.

The second half was similar to the first, outside of things getting a bit chippy between both teams. Stephano Pino got a great opportunity at the far post in the 69th minute, but his header went wide. Over the next ten minute, Acosta got very aggressive for the Black-and-Red. Normally a facilitator, the diminutive midfielder was trying to end the game in regulation. He had a series of shots that were all on target. He had one in the 80th minute that beat the keeper soundly, but the post was there to save Orlando. D.C. United was sending numbers forward and the attack was clicking well, but they couldn’t get score.

Mattocks got a good chance in the 98th minute, but he couldn’t get enough on the ball to beat the keeper. Chris Durkin was sent off the field after receiving his second yellow card of the game in the 100th minute. He had some questionable challenges throughout the game, but that specific incident, the card was indeed warranted. Steve Clark came up with a big save on a good opportunity created by Orlando in the 104th minute.

Another controversial moment happened in the second half of the extra period. Acosta won a tough challenge with Mohamed El-Munir, the Orlando midfielder wasn’t a fan of it and kicked the ball at Acosta after the official stopped play. Many expected him to be sent off, but he received a yellow and play continued. Soon after, the official called time and both teams got ready for penalty kicks.

Ben Olsen wasn’t down after the game at all, he was encouraged by his team’s effort and the chances they created. Both Mattocks and Acosta combined well throughout the game, creating chances for eachother. Olsen also talked about Durkin learning about himself and his physicality, reminding the media that we’re watching him grow up before our eyes (18 year old). D.C. United has a few days off before they resume training, they have one more road game before returning home and playing their first game in the brand new Audi Field.

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