U.S. Open Cup: United roll to semi-finals with 3-1 win over New England

D.C. United captain Dwayne De Rosario hasn’t had the best of seasons so far in 2013, at least in Major League Soccer. Get him in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament and we’re talking something completely different.

De Rosario scored the game-winning goal in United’s 3-1 win this evening over the visiting New England Revolution in the quarterfinal round of the U.S. Open Cup at the SoccerPlex in Germantown, Maryland. De Rosario (four goals in his past two Open Cup appearances) and Chris Pontius (goal and assist tonight), teamed on the front line for the first time this season, both were instrumental in leading the suddenly resurgent Black-and-Red to an impressive victory over one of MLS’ better squads in the past six weeks.

United, coming off their first league win this past weekend over San Jose, carried that confidence into the first half of play and dominated their rivals to the Northeast by putting 5 shots on goalkeeper Matt Reis to New England’s one on United keeper Joe Willis. Chris Pontius breached the 0-0 deadlock in the 41st minute with a well-taken shot off a failed Revolution clearance just minutes after scuffing a breakaway attempt on Reis.

The Revolution came out in the second half with a bit more purpose and leveled the match in the 52nd minute with a little help from Joe Willis. Juan Toja’s free-kick from 25 yards was tipped off the crossbar by Willis and the rebound hit off the back of Willis and rolled helplessly into the net. Toja got credit for the goal but by strict soccer laws, it should have been an own-goal against Willis.

United was rocked momentarily by the equalizer but Pontius and DeRo paired up for the game-winner in the 69th minute. Pontius whipped in a corner kick to the back post and De Rosario leaped high above a Revolution defender and sent his header looping over Reis and off the underside of the crossbar into the far side of the goal.

Revolution substitute Juan Agudelo nearly evened the match in the 85th minute when his run across the top of the penalty area and resulting left-footed drive pinged off the inside of the far post before United’s scrambling defense cleared the ball to safety. With the Revolution pushing players forward, United substitute Lionard Pajoy got behind the Revolution defense deep along the right sideline and was heading square towards the goal when Revolution defender Goncalves dragged him down. Pajoy took the resulting penalty kick and shot right down the middle as Reis seemingly dove out of the way of the shot.

With the win, United will now travel to the Windy City on August 7th to take on the Chicago Fire, 5-1 winners over Orlando City FC tonight in Orlando, Florida.

Next up for United is a home match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night at 7pm before heading out on a three-game road trip through Seattle, Colorado and then Chicago.

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