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U.S. Open Cup Roundup - North Carolina cruises into Open Cup Round of 32 against Carolina Core

By Staff, 04/18/24, 12:38AM EDT


Pinho bags four as Legion advance after extra time, while early goal by Martinez sends Indy through

North Carolina FC's Julian Placias gets congratulated after scoring his first goal for the club against Carolina Core FC in the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night.

CARY, N.C. – Julian Placias scored his first goal for North Carolina FC to send the side to a 1-0 victory against Carolina Core FC of MLS NEXT Pro at WakeMed Soccer Park in the Third Round of the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as the hosts put in a composed display to advance to the Round of 32.

The home side finished the night with a 15-4 edge in shots, including an 8-0 advantage in shots on target, and also held the majority of possession throughout the contest, and went closest to opening the deadlock before the halftime break when Shaft Brewer, Jr. launched a cross in stride from the right to Nelson Flores Blanco on the back post, but his shot was saved by a stretched paw of Core goalkeeper Alexander Sutton as he slid across the frame to deny the opening goal.

Placias finally struck in the 61st minute to decide the contest after Garrett McLaughlin bullied his way past the Core back line and fired off a tough shot on frame. Sutton saved the initial effort, but McLaughlin was able to get to the rebound and slid the ball across goal to Placias, who calmly collected and passed into the open net.

BIRMINGHAM LEGION FC 4, CHATTANOOGA RED WOLVES SC 2 (AET): Stefano Pinho scored all four goals as Birmingham Legion FC rallied past Chattanooga Red Wolves SC at Montevallo College as the 2023 Open Cup Quarterfinalists fell behind twice before pulling through in extra time.

Chattanooga took the lead in just the 12th minute when Leo Folla scored with a close-range header off a delivery by Ricky Ruiz. Pinho began his night three minutes into the second half to pull Legion level, however, as he headed home a corner kick from the right by Tyler Pasher. The Red Wolves regained the lead from the penalty spot through Ruiz after Ropapa Mensah was brought down in the penalty area by Legion goalkeeper Matt VanOekel in the 76th minute, but four minutes later Pinho was on hand to put home his second off the night off another corner kick by Pasher to send the game to extra time.

Set pieces continued to prove fruitful for Birmingham as the game moved into extra time. With Chattanooga down a player after Gustavo Fernandes was sent off for denial of a goalscoring opportunity in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, Legion struck again moments before the whistle went to conclude the first extra period as Pinho popped up at the back post to chest home Kobe Hernandez Foster’s deep delivery from the right. The Brazilian then capped the night and sealed the victory with a clever first-time finish off Prosper Kasim’s through-ball two minutes into the second period of extra time to send Legion through.

INDY ELEVEN 1, CHICAGO FIRE FC II 0: Douglas Martinez Jr. scored an early goal while Yannik Oettl recorded an 11-save shutout to secure a place in the Round of 32 for Indy Eleven as it defeated MLS NEXT Pro’s Chicago Fire II at SeatGeek Stadium.

The Honduran international put the Boys in Blue on the board in just the fourth minute as he was sent in on goal by a pass from Jack Blake and finished smoothly. That would prove the only shot on target the visitors managed, however, and the side put in a strong defensive display led by Oettl that limited the Fire II’s attacking pressure to half-chances in the main. Chicago’s best opportunity to level came with seven minutes to go when David Poreba was unable to put a close-range chance on frame, and from there Indy saw out its victory.

SOUTH GEORGIA TORMENTA FC 4, MIAMI FC 2: Miami FC suffered an early exit from the Open Cup after holding a first-half lead against USL League One side South Georgia Tormenta FC before a red card to goalkeeper Khadim Ndaiye swung the game in favor of the visitors at FIU Soccer Stadium.

South Georgia took an early lead through Jake Dengler in the 12th minute, but Miami responded as Luisinho scored his first goal for the club with a long-range blast into the top-right corner of the net. Ndaiye was sent off in the fourth minute of stoppage time in the first half after an altercation with a Tormenta player, only for Luisinho to strike again to put Miami ahead at the break.

Tormenta came storming back in the second half with a player advantage, however, and pulled level in the 69th minute when Conor Doyle redirected a well-hit shot by Philip Spengler into the back of the net leaving replacement Miami goalkeeper Felipe Rodriguez little chance. South Georgia then grabbed victory shortly before the end as Puerto Rico international Callum Stretch scored from close range before Sebastian Vivas wrapped up the result in stoppage time.

NEW YORK CITY FC II 3, HARTFORD ATHLETIC 2 (AET): Hartford Athletic rallied to take the lead early in extra time but in the end were left to rue their missed chances as New York City FC II of MLS NEXT Pro took victory at Trinity Health Stadium as Maximo Carrizo scored the winner in the 109th minute.

Hartford had the better of the chances throughout the first half but were unable to capitalize despite an 11-3 advantage in shots. That pattern continued into the second half as the Athletic remained on top, but New York grabbed the lead on their first big chance of the game when Taylor Calheira powered home a finish.

The Athletic hit back with nine minutes to go when Romario Williams won a penalty kick and then converted to level the score, sending the game to extra time, and it appeared that Hartford was on its way two minutes into extra time when Deshane Beckford outpaced a defender on the left and then cut inside past another before shooting low into the bottom-right corner to put the hosts ahead. New York turned the tables, however, as Calheira leveled again in the 99th minute before Carrizo capped the contest with 11 minutes to go in the second period of extra time.

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