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It wasn't a lottery: Carolina RailHawks 1, Chivas USA 1 (Carolina win 3-2 on PKs)

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A new way to lose a consequential match.

Tough night for Chivas USA.
Tough night for Chivas USA.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Chivas USA entered the 2014 U.S. Open Cup with expectations that maybe they could make a deep run this year in the tournament. They exit the competition altogether in the fourth round (and their first game) after a 1-1 result against the NASL's Carolina RailHawks on Saturday, going out after losing the penalty shootout 3-2 after seven rounds.

The hosting RailHawks opened the scoring in the 29th minute through Zack Schilawski before Ryan Finley scored his first competitive goal for Chivas in the 40th minute off a diving header following a long lob into the box from Tony Lochhead. In the second half, Chivas had the better chances, but couldn't get a good enough shot to beat Carolina goalkeeper Scott Goodwin. The same sentiment prevailed in extra time.

Then things got very wild in the penalty shootout. It's worth going through the whole sequence:

  • Agustin Pelletieri started matters on the right foot by converting his shot in the first round (1-0)
  • Nazmi Albadawi then missed the goal for Carolina on the RailHawks' first shot (1-0)
  • Erick Torres, who only came off the bench in the 77th minute, then converted Chivas' second PK. (2-0)
  • Meanwhile, Connor Tobin made Carolina's second spot kick. (2-1)
  • Eriq Zavaleta missed the Goats' 3rd try (2-1)
  • Then came the pivotal stretch of the shootout. Dan Kennedy saved Kupono Low's shot (2-1), and then Kennedy stepped up to take Chivas' fourth PK, which would have been the clincher, and it was saved by Goodwin (2-1). Then Schilawski tied up the shootout with Carolina's fourth PK (2-2).
  • Goodwin saved Eric Avila's PK in the fifth round (2-2), putting the RailHawks on the front foot, but Enzo Martinez missed the goal on Carolina's first clincher (2-2).
  • Kristopher Tyrpak missed in round 6 (2-2), and Kennedy regrouped to save Aaron King's chance at clinching for Carolina (2-2)
  • Marky Delgado's kick in the seventh round was saved by Goodwin (2-2), and substitute Daniel Jackson put everybody out of their misery by finally clinching for the RailHawks on the third attempt to make 2-3 through seven rounds.
To be honest, I'm of two minds about how the game ended. While my first instinct is to complain that Chivas USA should be able to put more than two PKs in the back of the net in a shootout (and I still think that applies) it is worth noting that it was only their second competitive shootout in team history. In the only other one,  Chivas lost in the 2006 USOC to Roma FC in a penalty shootout, 4-2 to go out in the third round (CUSA's first game) that year. So two instances isn't a major trend, but it shows that this club hasn't been able to get over the hump of losing in a shootout in their history.

The bottom line? Chivas USA dropped an eminently winnable game in a pretty frustrating fashion. I know that it's hard to prepare for the pressurized situation of a shootout, but it's tough to watch them go down in that way, no doubt about it. Of course, had they just gone ahead and won the game in the run of play, they wouldn't have had to go through the agonizing shootout.

The Goats are off competitive action until June 28, when they return to MLS action with a game against Real Salt Lake (yep, that one's not going to be tough at all. /sarcasm).

What do you think? Leave a comment below!