MACPHERSON STADIUM/ ONLINE—The spirit of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup was splendiferous at Macpherson Stadium in Browns Summit, N.C. as the Carolina Dynamo defeated the NPSL’s Chattanooga FC 4-1 in a PK shootout (4-4 draw) to advance to the second round of the Open Cup.
In front of 1,221 partisans, the hometown Dynamo struck first in the 22nd minute when N.C. State rising senior Alex Martinez scored from atop the box as his older brother, Real Salt Lake midfielder and current Carolina Railhawks loanee Enzo Martinez, looked on from the grandstands. However, after halftime Chattanooga FC piled on three consecutive goals, including scores from striker Luke Winter in the 53rd and Thibault Charmey in the 66th. Another netter off a goal line scrum in the 77th minute gave Chattanooga FC a seemingly insurmountable lead late in the match.
That’s when the Hakan Ilhan show started. After Dynamo Brandt Bronico was fouled in the box, Ilhan converted a penalty kick in the 83rd minute. Five minutes later, the UNC-Greensboro grad added another goal in the run of play to tie the match 3-3 and send it to extra time.
In the 115th minute, Chattanooga FC seemingly found victory when midfielder Fynn Glover scored off a Chattanooga corner. However, that man Ilhan struck again three minutes later, this time off a Dynamo corner, to give the 6-1 forward a hat trick and knot the score 4-4.
In the ensuing shootout, after both teams converted their opening attempts, Dynamo goalkeeper Peyton Ford saved two consecutive Chattanooga attempts by Silas Reyneke and Chrispin Ochieng. Meanwhile, the Dynamo netted all four of their PKs for the club’s first U.S. Open Cup victory since 2006, a match that saw three ties and three lead changes prior to shootout finale.
The USL PDL side will now make the 90-minute drive to face the NASL-leading Carolina RailHawks in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup next Tuesday, May 21 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. Kickoff will be 7:00 p.m.