Tuesday, April 26, 2011 10:28 p.m.CSNwashington.com
Facing a quick turnaround ahead of Friday's league match against Houston, D.C. United coach Ben Olsen had little choice but to play mostly non-starters in Tuesday night's U.S. Open Cup play-in match against New England. Through 73 minutes, Olsen's reserves looked the part, but a late rally brought the Black-and-Red back from a three-goal deficit only to fall short in dramatic fashion, by a 3-2 final count.
New England opened the scoring in the 34th minute when Kenny Mansally broke through United's left side before feeding Kheli Dube who was left unmarked atop D.C.'s box. Dube wasted little time converting, finding just enough space to Pat Onstad's right side and putting the Revolution ahead.
Following New England's tally, United used the remaining minutes before half to push for a quick equalizer. Just moments after Dube's goal, Andy Najar was sprung free on the right wing and played a low pass across the New England penalty area. The ball eventually fell to Blake Brettschneider, but the rookie misfired badly, sending his attempt well high of the New England net.
The second half started terribly for United, as Dube found more space behind the D.C. defense. It took all of a minute for the Revolution forward to strike, beating Onstad again in a one-on-one duel to make it 2-0 in the 46th minute. The Revolution would push their lead further in the 69th minute as D.C. wasted multiple opportunities to clear the ball before Alan Koger slotted home from inside United's box.
The Black-and-Red managed to pull one back in the 73rd minute as Branko Boskovic finally broke through. The Montenegrin created just enough space at the edge of the New England box and slammed a left-footed shot past New England goalie Bobby Shuttleworth. Boskovic provided another moment of brilliance ten minutes later, beating Shuttleworth again, this time with a beautiful left-footed blast from well outside the box. It was the high-point in a roller coaster night for Boskovic, who came dangerously close on a pair of free kicks before being taken off with an injury in the game's final moments.
The loss eliminates United from the U.S. Open Cup while propelling New England into the Open Cup proper. D.C. returns to league play Friday night with a road matchup against Houston.