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Cupset: New Mexico United continues Cinderella run, topping FC Dallas

FC Dallas struck first, but the boys from MLS couldn’t hold off New Mexico United as the USL side scored twice to punch its quarterfinals ticket.

DALLAS — USL Championship expansion side New Mexico United completed its second upset in the 106th annual Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas at Westcott Field on Wednesday.

It’s the fourth road win in as many attempts for United, who defeated the Colorado Rapids in penalties last week. This win would be equally as challenging against a very strong FC Dallas side.

‎Troy Lesesne’s men would cause trouble for Dallas with their lineup, forcing Dallas to play on the flanks and not allowing build-up through the middle. The game was reminiscent of matches Dallas have struggled in, with the team forced to restart attacks, hitting a wall of defenders.

“The field was a little bouncy, so any ball central was going to be somewhat of a risk if you didn’t have a really clean first touch or if it wasn’t a really accurate pass,” FCD coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “I thought we were actually good threatening on the flank. We were switching play and accelerating it and penetrating. I thought we did a lot of positive things. I just feel and the group knows it, the last 20 minutes, we need to be more aggressive on the flank together. Everybody.”

“They didn’t sit in a low block the entire time,” FCD midfielder Edwin Cerrillo said. “They were in a mid-block and when they went wide, they tried to pin us in there and they were sending their numbers forward. It stopped us from going forward a bit quicker and I think we made too many back passes and kinda slowed down the ball rotation where we could catch them off guard.”

New Mexico United almost got on the board first with a wonderful attack from Justin Schmidt, who took the ball from the back and coasted through the pitch, connecting with forward Devon Sandoval. Sandoval played the ball back to Schmidt, and Schmidt smashed the post in the 35th minute.

Dallas capitalized in the 41st minute off a set piece play. Michael Barrios took the corner and found midfielder Brandon Servania, who took a touch and then banged it into the net to open up the scoring.

Jun 19, 2019; University Park, TX, USA; New Mexico United forward Kevaughn Frater (10) celebrates his goal during the first half against the FC Dallas at Wescott Field. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

“We’ve been working on that in practice,” Servania said. “I’ve been having some good shots in training and coach believed in me to take the shot. He’s been telling me that I need to take more shots. It was a set play and I looked at Mikey, he looked at me, and I knew that I was going to have to shoot it like I did in training. Luckily, it went in.”

United took advantage of an FCD mistake to level the scoring towards the end of the first half. Dallas defender Bryan Reynolds attempted to play a header to Jimmy Maurer, but the pass was picked off by New Mexico player Santi Moar. Moar took a shot, forcing a save out of Maurer but the shot was parried towards the middle of the box, where forward Kevaughn Frater pounced and put the ball into the empty net, making it 1-1.

“We didn’t close the half the way we should’ve,” Gonzalez said. “Pretty innocent in the ball in behind. That’s a growing pain for our backline. We made some adjustments. I thought we started the second half well and we created some opportunities and service in the box that we didn’t get on the end of and then they get a dead ball and score.”

That dead ball was a free kick into the box led to a mad scramble, with Fraser latching onto the end of it, striking the ball. It hit a wall of defenders but fell to Sam Hamilton, who put it past Maurer and gave United a 2-1 lead in the 63rd minute.

The loss puts Dallas out of a cup that has so much meaning to the Hunt family, with a chance at silverware.

“This tournament means a lot to us,” Cerrillo said. “I think a little bit more because of Lamar Hunt. We were pretty much the better team today. Obviously, we need to work on that final third and that pass, to just get more crosses in and more shots. I think that’s what we lacked today and overall, just a sour taste and disappointment today giving up the loss.”

That would hold, putting New Mexico United into the quarterfinals of the tournament, where they’ll head to Allianz Field next to face Minnesota United.

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