The New England Revolution held on for a gutsy 3-2 win over D.C. United in the U.S. Open Cup play-in match last night. The Revs will now travel to face Sporting Kansas City with a spot in the formal U.S. Open Cup bracket on the line.
With two goals from Kheli Dube and one from Alan Koger, New England took a 3-0 lead after 69 minutes, and then had to hold on for dear life as D.C. United launched a huge comeback.
D.C’s comeback was led by Branko Boskovic who scored both United goals and also hit the post in the closing minutes of the game.
The Revolution first goal came when Dabo’s clever ball sent Mansally away into the right side of the box. Mansally’s cross was met by Dube at the penalty sot and he slotted the ball with a good first-time effort.
Leading 1-0 at halftime, the Revs made one change following the break. Koger entered to mark his Revolution debut, replacing Mansally.
Koger made an immediate impact, assisting on Dube’s second goal as the Revs doubled their lead in the 47th minute. Koger settled a bouncing ball and delivered a short pass to Dube, who drilled another low shot inside the left post from the top of the box.
United threatened to pull one back just four minutes later when Boskovic curled a 20-yard free kick up and over the wall, but Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was at full stretch to his left to push the ball around the post. Boskovic had a carbon-copy free kick in the 58th minute and delivered a similarly dangerous shot, this time seeing his effort kick off the outside of the right post.
The home side was left to rue its missed opportunities as Koger pushed the Revs’ lead to 3-0 in the 69th minute. Koger saw his first effort kicked away by D.C. goalkeeper Pat Onstad before his second attempt was blocked by a sliding defender. It was with his third crack that Koger finally broke through, sending a low blast into the back of the net from the right side of the box.
Boskovic finally pulled one back for United in the 73rd minute, finishing a nice piece of interplay between Kurt Morsink and Charlie Davies at the top of the box. Davies played the final pass, which Boskovic received and dispatched inside the right post from 15 yards out.
D.C. continued to press and cut the deficit to 3-2 in the 82nd minute, as Boskovic was again the goal scorer as he drilled a long-distance shot just inside the right post, past the sprawling Shuttleworth.
A late charge couldn’t produce an equalizing goal, however, and the Revs held on for the victory.