Survive and advance — it’s what the New Mexico United did Wednesday night.
For the third straight match in the U.S. Open Cup soccer tournament, the United needed extra time to settle things. This time, they took out a Major League Soccer club as they beat the Colorado Rapids in dramatic fashion, winning the penalty kick phase by a 4-2 count at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
New Mexico advances to the round of 16 in the oldest soccer tournament in the United States.
It appeared the Rapids would walk away with a hard-earned win, as they held a 2-1 lead heading into stoppage time when the United’s last-ditch opportunity proved fruitful. Kevaughn Frater scored from the top of the penalty box when his shot bounced into the lower right hand of the goal in the 95th minute and tied the match to force overtime.
After a relatively uneventful overtime, the teams proceeded to penalty kicks, and the United were perfect in hitting all four of their opportunities. The last came from Chris Frehan after the Rapids’ Chris Nicholson sailed his attempt high over the goal for his team’s second miss.
New Mexico goalkeeper Cody Mizell, who had five saves, made his best play when he made a diving stop to his left on Danny Wilson’s try in the second round of PKs.
The match got off to a great start for the United when Devon Sandoval scored in the third minute from the left side of the net off of Frater’s head to him. Colorado needed 32 minutes before tying the score on Diego Rubio’s goal; then Nicolás Mezquida gave the Rapids the lead in the opening moments of the second half when he took a Rubio cross and ripped it past a trio of United defenders.