Two weather delays later, United’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run was cut short. D.C. United had the majority of possession in the fourth round of the 2014 USOC, but that didn't stop the Rochester Rhinos of USL Pro from earning the W. The winning goal came in the 27th minute, when Mike Garzi bolted down the line and found Collin Rolfe for the finish.
Jalen Robinson and Taylor Kemp did well to attack out of the back, getting some quality service into the box. Lewis Neal looked sharp too, working hard in the midfield with Jared Jeffrey. The Rhinos sat back, not pressuring fully until United crossed midfield. The first half only saw a light drizzle, with threats of more storms.
The rain was coming down hard at the beginning of the second half. The turf, rain and wind made for tough conditions for both sides. Thought there were a few strikes of lightening, the referee continued play. D.C. United center back Steven Birnbaum was cautioned for a hard challenge, seeing the first yellow card of the game. Then, DCU forward Michael Seaton subbed on for Robinson, and Collin Martin dropped back into the midfield which moved Kyle Porter to right back.
In the 61st minute, Jonny Mendoza spun Birnbaum, who dragged him down from behind. D.C. United’s center back was shown his second yellow and ejected from the match. Meanwhile, field boards started flying, the rain poured down harder, and the ref suspended play for 30 minutes. Both teams took shelter in their respective locker rooms. For United, it was a chance to regroup.
The match resumed in the 61st minute, but the conditions were unplayable. With Captain Bobby Boswell coming on the anchor the backline, Neal took a seat on the bench. Passes stopped short in puddles, and the wind took long balls well off-target. Just nine minutes later, there was another lightening strike and another delay.
An hour and a half later, the match resumed in the 70th minute with a D.C. United corner kick. Shortly after, Alex Caskey was replaced by Chris Rolfe. In the last 20 minutes, the Black-and-Red had better chances, pushing hard to get the equalizer, earning a few free kicks in dangerous areas.
Head Coach Ben Olsen pushed numbers forward, utilizing a forward line of Boswell, Porter, Seaton and Conor Doyle in the waning minutes. Despite a few last chances on goal, D.C. United was unable to convert, and fell short in Rochester by a final score of 1-0.
United is back in MLS action on Saturday, June 28 when the Black-and-Red hosts the Seattle Sounders. Buy your tickets now.