Last year the New England Revolution ran rampant past an undermanned Rochester Rhinos side in the MLS side's first U.S. Open Cup game in 2013.
There would be no blowing out their resurgent USL Pro affiliate in 2014, the last USL Pro side in the tournament.
Playing the 5th Round of the Open Cup from Brown University's Stevenson Field in Providence, RI, the Revolution's first ever game in Rhode Island, they defeated the Rhinos 2-1 following a two-goal first half from a lineup that featured a mix of starters and regular substitutes.
The Revs got on the scoreboard first, with Lee Nguyen and Saer Sene combining inside the area before Sene slotted home in the 11th minute. It was Sene's first goal of 2014 in just his 9th appearance on the year in all competitions.
In the 32nd minute, the Revolution doubled their advantage when Nguyen, after several precise, short aerial crosses, centered a perfect ball to Kelyn Rowe. Rowe's initial effort was stopped by Rhinos keeper John McCarthy but he could not prevent Rowe from smashing home the rebound from the goal line and making the score 2-0. It marked Rowe's 6th all-time USOC goal and he has scored in three straight years of the competition.
But the Rhinos would claw their way back into the game, and dominated the early play with the wind at their backs in the second. Midfielder Johnny Mendoza would send in a cross into the box in the 55th minute, after his initial effort was blocked, and striker Colin Rolfe would fire home a diving header into the side netting of Brad Knighton's net to cut the Revs lead to 2-1.
The Rhinos kept fighting for their equalizer, with JC Banks firing just over the bar with an overhead kick later in the second half. Banks was offside on the play, but has been a solid player with the Rhinos all season. But in the final minutes, Rhinos defender Babacar Diallo was sent off for kicking out at Patrick Mullins after Diallo committed a foul on the Revs striker. The Rhinos had gotten aggressive at the end of the game, and Diallo went too far by fouling Mullins and then kicking out as the two were tangled up on the ground.
Overall, that red card overshadowed a fairly good game by both teams. The Revolution had to use very creative passing sequences to breakdown the stingy Rhinos defense and Rochester's constant high pressure often smothered the Revs inside their own half.
The Revs offense took a significant hit when Lee Nguyen was subbed off at halftime with Jay Heaps trying to balance the Open Cup and Saturday's MLS game versus the Union. The Rhinos outshot the Revs 9-7 in the game, with the Revs failing to record a single shot in the second half. Both teams recorded five shots on goal in the game.
The Revolution advance to the quarterfinals and will face the Philadelphia Union on July 8th at PPL Park.