D.C. United scores twice in win against Harrisburg City in U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal

By Jorge Castillo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 22, 2010

D.C. United headed into Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal having scored two goals in its previous four contests -- all of them MLS games and none of them wins.

United broke through on both fronts on Wednesday, finding its scoring touch right out of the gate on the way to a physical 2-0 win against the Harrisburg City Islanders of the third-tier USL-2 in front of 2,089 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds. The win advances D.C. to the tournament semifinals against Columbus on Sept. 1 at RFK Stadium.

"Our goal was to have the right approach," United Coach Curt Onalfo said. "We played some very good soccer and created some scoring chances. We did what we had to do to win the game."

United, fielding a starting 11 resembling its lineup in league play, jumped on Harrisburg quickly. Forty-one seconds into the match, midfielder Branko Boskovic netted his first goal as a member of United on a cross from fellow midfielder Santino Quaranta, who was able to get behind the defense when Harrisburg defender Jerritt Thayer misplayed the ball. Quaranta then made it look it easy with the pass over the middle to Boskovic, who put it in the back of the net with his left foot from 10 yards out.

Said Boskovic, who broke through in his third game with D.C.: "Tino gave me a good ball and I only put it on goal. He did most of the job."

Forward Danny Allsopp was in the middle of two scoring opportunities early, including a shot from five yards out that a Harrisburg defender deflected out of danger in the eighth minute. In the 31st minute, Allsopp got behind the City Islander defense but his goal was nullified by an offside call.

In the 43rd minute, a Quaranta cross almost produced another goal, this time on a diving header by defender Barry Rice that went wide left of Harrisburg goalkeeper Danny Cepero.

The City Islanders' best chance in the first half came in the 26th minute when midfielder Kai Kasiguran's shot soared just over the crossbar.

The second half opened much like the first -- with a quick D.C. goal on a Harrisburg defensive blunder.

A little more than a minute after intermission, D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid kicked a ball toward midfield that skipped past a Harrisburg defender to midfielder Thabiso "Boyzzz" Khumalo. Khumalo dribbled down the right side and fired a cross from beyond the 18-yard box. The ball had a mind of its own, however, fooling Cepero and going behind him and into the net without a deflection to double the United lead.

"I looked up trying to cross the ball and it just went in the goal," Khumalo said. "To me, it was one of the luckiest goals I've ever scored."

While Harrisburg didn't sustain much of an attack throughout the match -- the visitors had nine shots but none on target -- it had its fair share of fouls and cards.

Play was aggressive on both sides, but Harrisburg was called for five fouls and two yellow cards in the first half alone.

In the 62nd minute, Rice was given a yellow card for a reckless tackle.

Thirteen minutes later, Harrisburg defender Tyler Ruthven slid from behind and into Khumalo in front of the United bench. To his surprise, he was given a straight red card and sent off.

Khumalo seemed to agree with Ruthven, saying, "I didn't think he deserved a red card, but he deserved a yellow."

In all, the teams combined for 18 fouls and four cards -- Harrisburg had 10 and three, respectively.

United will return to RFK Stadium for a friendly on Saturday against Portsmouth, most recently of the English Premier League.

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