Friday, July 02, 2010

Open Cup 2010: Success for MLS

The round of 16 in the 2010 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is over, and it was a good couple of nights for MLS. Six out of eight teams advanced to the quarterfinals, the most since the current format has been in place (2007-10).

2007 - 3 teams
2008 - 5 teams
2009 - 4 teams
2010 - 6 teams

Actually, the overall record for MLS teams in this round was 5-1-2, with two games ending in a shootout. I've updated the all time list of MLS teams & players in penalty shootouts, click here. And the one MLS team to lose outright (NY) did so in extra time, so no MLS team lost in 90 minutes.

Why the improved record? First and foremost is the amount of home games. MLS teams hosted 6/8 games, compared to 2-4-2 in the previous three years. Second, the World Cup break couldn't have hurt, even though most teams still played plenty of reserves.

More notes on the shootouts:

1) Chicago lost 0-3 in the shootout to Charleston, failing to convert on all three of their penalties. It's the first time an MLS team has been shutout in a shootout. The Fire have now lost three shootouts in the last 12 months: the MLS Eastern conference championship, the Superliga final, and now this.

2) The Charleston Battery are now 2-1 against MLS teams in shootouts. The other non-MLS teams to have multiple shootouts against an MLS team are Minnesota Thunder (0-2), Pachuca (2-0), and Rochester Rhinos (2-2).

3) Kasey Keller saved two penalties for Seattle against the Portland Timbers. That's only the 13th time (out of 60 possible) an MLS keeper saved two or more penalties in shootout. Matt Reis and Nick Rimando have done it three times each. The most penalties saved in a single shootout? That would be 3, by Rimando in last year's above-mentioned CHI vs RSL game, and also by Tom Presthus for DC vs Hershey in the 1997 Open Cup (also the first ever MLS penalty shootout).

I'll have to add goalkeeper save percentages to my penalty shootouts page (EDIT: done!).

As always, is the number one site for coverage of the tournament.

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