The Revolution were all business on Tuesday night as they dismantled their affiliate, USL Pro's Rochester Rhinos, 5-1, at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester in the fourth round of the US Open Cup. The Revolution will play the winner of Wednesday night's clash between the New York Red Bulls and Reading United on June 12 at Harvard Stadium in the round of 16.
Of all the MLS teams opening up their US Open Cup campaigns, the Revolution were the most emphatic in sealing a result. Several second and third division teams upset MLS teams, including the Colorado Rapids, who were defeated 3-1 by Orlando City and Charlotte took out the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0.
While many second and third division teams are psyched-up for the Open Cup and even have players with former MLS experience, MLS teams are still the favorites in every match-up. So having a slew of lower division teams remaining in the bracket is advantageous for the Revolution and other MLS teams that are looking to lift the Open Cup and earn the automatic berth in CONCACAF Champions League and a $250,000 prize (the runner-up wins $100,000).
"We want to win," said Revolution Head Coach Jay Heaps plainly at practice last week.
“There’s no question, we want to win the Open Cup. It’s an area where we want to do well,” he added. “You test your depth, you test your roster. For me, it actually comes at a good time because we’re talking about all those players who are chomping for opportunities. Nothing says an opportunity like an Open Cup game."
On Tuesday, a slew of Revolution players made their mark as they led the team to victory over Rochester and helped the club move one step closer to the Open Cup title.
Kelyn Rowe scored twice while Andy Dorman, Chad Barrett, and Jerry Bengston each netted one goal. Rochester's Kendell McFayden scored a consolation goal late in the game, but was also red-carded in second half stoppage time for a hard foul.
Heaps went with an offensive 4-3-3 formation, starting Barrett, Dimitry Imbongo, and Saer Sene as forwards. Barrett's goal was the first of his Revolution career while Bengston came on for Sene at halftime and scored his first goal for the Revolution since March 9. Dorman, who has seen playing time with the first team off the bench, scored his first goal since returning to the Revolution from abroad.
While winning is turning into a habit for the Revolution, who are now on a four-game unbeaten and a three-game winning run in all competitions, a 5-1 win against Rochester was not unexpected.
Though some lower division teams put up a fight against MLS teams, Rochester was never in a position to challenge the Revolution. The team is going through a transition due to the recent firing of their head coach and is currently sitting second to last in the 13-team USL Pro Standings.
Nevertheless, the winning will need to continue if the Revolution are going to win the title and return to the Champions League. Winning the US Open Cup is the most direct route for MLS teams to reach the Champions League, the other ways being win the MLS title, be runners-up for the MLS title, or be the league team with the most points by the end of the season.
The Revolution last won the US Open Cup in 2007. They haven't made it past the quarter-finals since, falling to Harrisburg City last year in their first game. Their next opponent, likely New York, will be the next step toward winning the title.
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