United advance in U.S. Open Cup after thrilling penalty shootout

D.C. United defeated North Carolina FC 4-3 in penalty kicks to advance in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after playing to a 1-1 draw in regulation Tuesday night at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

Yamil Asad, Darren Mattocks, Luciano Acosta and Bruno Miranda scored in penalties to propel D.C. United to the Round of 16 in the U.S. Open Cup. Miranda stepped up to provide the match-winning penalty kick to the bottom-right corner after United goalkeeper David Ousted held the line against North Carolina.

Ousted’s diving save to thwart Kyle Bekker’s chance for NCFC in the second round of penalty kicks provided the decisive advantage that United held on to with a 4-3 result after 120 minutes.

The lone D.C. United goal in regulation came off the right foot of Harkes following a save by NCFC goalkeeper Alex Tambakis. Following the save on Asad’s chance, Harkes found himself in prime position for a putback just in front of the post. The goal was Harkes’ second career U.S. Open Cup goal.

United threatened to extend their advantage when Joseph Mora’s cross from the left flank was headed on target by USL all-time goal scoring leader Dane Kelly in the 48th minute before being saved at the near post.

After scoring seven goals in second and third round victories over Lansdowne Bhoys FC (N.Y.) and Ocean City Nor’easters (PDL), NCFC’s first shot on target in the match came from Marios Lomis off of a loose ball in the box that flew beyond United goalkeeper David Ousted. The goal by Lomis was his third of the tournament.

Following the 83rd minute equalizer, Acosta, who entered the game in the 72nd minute, had his shot on goal saved at the bottom right side of the goal. NCFC’s final prime scoring chance in regulation came in the 90th minute when a header was saved by Ousted to preserve the tie.

The lone shot on goal in the first half of extra time came from NCFC when Ousted made a diving save near the post to negate Daniel Rios’ attempt from outside the box in the 96th minute. The Black-and-Red’s final chance before penalty kicks came from Mora, after a feed from Acosta along the goalline, but the ball deflected harmlessly out of play.

With the win in hand, D.C. United now awaits their next opponent and destination for the Round of 16 of the 2018 U.S. Open Cup. In league play, the Black-and-Red will travel to CenturyLink Field to take on Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, June 9.