The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is going exactly how the RailHawks have become accustomed to, but with a little more drama.
On penalty kicks, Carolina advanced with a 2-1 (3-2 PKs) home win Saturday against Chivas USA.
It was a tough spot for the RailHawks’ new goalkeeper Scott Goodwin, but he proved up to the task.
Goodwin, a North Carolina and Broughton High product, had filled in admirably for starter Akira Fitzgerald, who was out with a dislocated thumb. Goodwin ended with 11 saves, but his three PK stops in seven rounds won the game.
To start PKs, Chivas’ Agustin Pelletieri drilled one down the middle, and the RailHawks’ Nazmi Albadawi hit the post. Next, Chivas’ Erick Torres beat Goodwin going left to go up 2-0, but Carolina’s Connor Tobin scored on a chip to the right to make it 2-1.
In the third PK round, Chivas’ Eriq Zavaleta skied his shot over the bar, and Carolina captain Kupono Low’s chance was saved, keeping the score the same.
Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy took the fourth PK, but Goodwin saved it. Then, Carolina’s Zack Schilawski tied it 2-2.
In the fifth round, Chivas’ Eric Avila was saved by Goodwin, yet Carolina’s Enzo Martinez pushed his shot just wide. Chivas’ Kristopher Tyrpak was too high, but again Carolina’s game-winning attempt was saved.
In the seventh round of PKs, Chivas’ Marco Delgado was saved by Goodwin. Then Carolina’s Daniel Jackson stepped up and won it with a blast down the middle.
Chivas started seven of its usual starters, including Kennedy – though top players like Carlos Bocanegra and Mauro Rosales were left at home.
The Goats made sure to double-mark Tiyi Shipalane, the player that torched them during last year’s 3-1 RailHawks win, which was also the last time Carolina went into overtime.
Shipalane was knicked up early in the first half, subbed out in the 71st, and never a factor.
Carolina struck first in the 29th minute. A fine run from Cary native Zack Schilawski split Chivas defenders just as he received a through ball from Raleigh native Nazmi Albadawi. The tap-in for goal was Schilawski’s first tally since April 19.
The 1-0 lead didn’t make it to halftime, as Chivas took advantage of an unaware RailHawks back line in the 40th minute. Ryan Finley scored on a diving header, perfectly meeting a long cross from Tony Lochhead, to make it 1-1 going into the midway point.
It was the first time the RailHawks had conceded a first-half goal at home this season.
Chivas got good looks at goal to start the second half. Marco Delgado’s rip from the right side of box hit the crossbar in the 58th. Meanwhile, Carolina was stagnant, putting most of the pressure on Goodwin.
With players from both sides cramping late, the teams went into overtime tied 1-all. The RailHawks had just their second shot on goal in the 106th minute, their first in a span of 87 minutes.
But Jackson’s winning PK put the RailHawks through to the next round.
Carolina is now 4-1 at home against Major League Soccer teams in Open Cup play over the last three seasons.
Now Carolina has a chance to host and take out both Major League Soccer teams from Los Angeles for the second straight year.
The RailHawks will host either MLS’ LA Galaxy or third-division Arizona United in the fifth round of the U.S. Open Cup, as the tournament field that was once 80 teams has narrowed to 16. The game will be played either June 24 or 25.
The Galaxy, which has come to WakeMed Soccer Park in each of the last two seasons and left with a loss each time, will have to try and snap the RailHawks’ 22-home match unbeaten streak. Carolina has also never trailed at home this year.