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Revolution 0, Independence 1 - USL's Charlotte Bounces Revs From Open Cup

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An early wonder strike in the second half combined with some wasteful play in the final third are pretty much all you need for an early cup exit as the Revs are dumped out of the 2015 US Open Cup by the Charlotte Independence.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Revolution started their 2015 campaign with depth and a lot of high hopes. But their annual mid season swoon has also caught up to them in the US Open Cup.

A reserve laden squad lost 1-0 to the USL's Charlotte Independence at Harvard's Soldier Field tonight as a long range volley from midfielder Jorge Herrera proved to be the difference it what was otherwise a lackluster midweek affair.

Jay Heaps' side will be without midfielder Jermaine Jones for at least another month, and that pressed a usual left-sided player in Donnie Smith into the center of the defense along side starting rightback London Woodberry. Overall, the Revs did well throughout the match to maintain possession and used quick passes to advance the ball up the field.

But that was where the Revs fell apart. Aside from a few decent looks at goal, most of the combination play and crosses were cut out by the organized Independence defense and keeper Hunter Gilstrap, on loan from the NASL's Carolina Railhawks, was rarely given difficult tasks.

The one highlight for the Revs will be Kelyn Rowe's first half rabona attempt on goal, which might have glanced off Gilstrap's fingertips but ended up sailing just past the post. While both teams spent the early stages of the first half settling into the game, the Revs had a good spell in the middle where they were constantly in the Charlotte half of the field but were unable to generate any quality chances aside from Rowe's rabona.

The second half started much the same as the first, both teams more than comfortable to build patiently from the back. But in the 55th minute, Herrera chested down a chipped pass from Alex Martinez and launched a first time volley into the corner past a diving Brad Knighton in the Revs goal.

The Revolution were then left to chase the game, Jay Heaps opting to bring in regular starters Scott Caldwell for rookie Tyler Rudy and Juan Agudelo for Sean Okoli later in the second half and while the Revs began to apply some pressure they were unable to find the equalizer.

A Steve Neumann free kick took a deflection from a Charlotte defender trying to clear the ball, and Gilstrap was forced into action to save the own goal from going into the top corner. Later in the half long range efforts from Diego Fagundez and Jeremy Hall went well over the crossbar as the Revs struggled to generate chances much as they did for the entire game.

It's a disappointing exit for the Revs in the Open Cup, bringing back memories of Harrisburg in 2009 and 2012 as tournament exits against lower division teams. For a team with CONCACAF Champions League aspirations and talent, it now puts more pressure on the team to succeed in the regular season without the strain of a deep cup run during the midweeks of summer.

The Revolution's next MLS game will be at Sunday June 21st at DC United in a nationally televised game on ESPN2. The Charlotte Independence will learn their 5th Round opponent with the USOC draw tomorrow, June 18th.