Consider the demons from last year’s Open Cup tournament exorcised.
Nearly a year to the date after the Harrisburg City Islanders handed them a humiliating third round defeat, the New England Revolution staked a dominant 5-1 victory over the Rochester Rhinos in Tuesday’s third round Open Cup tilt at Sahlen’s Stadium.
Kelyn Rowe scored twice (23′, 64′) while Andy Dorman (53′), Jerry Bengtson (54′) and Chad Barrett (81′) all tallied for the guests. Kendall McFayden secured the lone measure of success for the hosts in the 77th minute.
Moments after Dorman’s goal, the match was halted for nearly 45 minutes due to lightning, while rainy conditions persisted for much of the evening.
Gabe Latigue and Tyler Polak, both of whom spent the last two months on loan with the Rhinos, were called up by the Revolution and found themselves pitted against their USL-PRO teammates.
The third round win sends the Revolution to a fourth round date against the winner of Wednesday’s Red Bulls-Reading United (PDL) match. The fourth round game is set for Jun. 12 at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
The Revolution made their intentions known early, as Barrett and Sene launched early efforts that put the Rhinos on notice only 15 minutes into the match.
Although Darrius Barnes was called upon to clear a Danny Earls shot right before the line in the 16th minute, the guests marched ahead and fired the opening salvo when Barrett gave it to Rowe near the top of the box, where the second-year midfielder sent it over the dive of Brandon Miller in the 23rd minute.
To its credit, Rochester’s defense withstood a number of Revolution advances before the interval. With injuries and call ups conspiring against his side on Tuesday, head coach Pat Ercoli had to feel somewhat optimistic to hold the MLS side to one goal in the first 45.
But any hopes of sending the Revolution to another humbling loss evaporated early the second half. In the 53rd minute, Rowe put a short pass through to an advancing Dorman, who crashed through and sent it past Miller.
Mother Nature threatened to disrupt the Revolution’s attacking rhythm when lightning flashed near Sahlen’s Stadium, and both teams were sent to the locker rooms with the game put on hold seconds after Dorman’s strike.
When the game resumed 45 minutes later, any concern about the Revolution losing their bite quickly vanished when Jerry Bengtson intercepted a lazy Josh Faga back pass and found the back of the net in the 54th minute.
Rowe added his second goal in the 64th minute when he beat two defenders, cut into the area and side-footed it past Miller. Rowe found two more opportunities to secure the hat trick in the wake of his latest strike, but each one strayed away from goal.
McFayden ensured the home crowd – or what remained of it after the lightning delay – would have something to talk about when he uncorked a 25-yard blast that snuck under the bar in the 77th minute.
The astonishing shot was the closest the Rhinos would get to the Revolution, who resumed their attacking efforts shortly after. From a Chris Tierney corner kick, Barrett grabbed a goal of his own in the when he backheeled it through to cap the scoring.
In stoppage time, McFayden was issued a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on Latigue near the Revolution box.