The Dallas Burn scored two goals in a four-minute span in the first half to defeat the Virginia Beach Mariners 2-0 in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night at Old Panther Field in Duncanville, Texas.
With the victory, the Burn will now play host to the Colorado Rapids in the fourth round on Tuesday, July 20 at the Cotton Bowl.
The Burn opened the scoring in the 20th minute with some nice play through the midfield. Ronnie O'Brien fed Ramon Nunez in the middle of the field with Nunez playing the ball down the right flank for a breaking Milton Reyes, who took the ball to the end line and brought the 'keeper out before slotting the ball across the goalmouth for an easy tap-in for Toni Nhleko.
Then just three minutes later, Nunez was involved in setting up the Burn's second goal. Nunez played a through ball over the top of the defense, springing O'Brien, who had just beaten the offside trap. O'Brien took the ball to the top of the box before unleashing a shot into the lower left corner of the goal to give the Burn a two-goal lead at the half, which they never lost.
The Mariners came within inches of halving the lead if not for a great reaction save from Burn 'keeper Jeff Cassar in the 64th minute. Jeff Bilyk sent a cross into the box that found former Burn forward Dante Washington unmarked just inside the six-yard box, but Cassar was just able to get a hand to his low header and parry it away.
The Burn were reduced to 10 men in the 74th minute as Reyes was ejected after receiving his second caution of the match after a hard tackle on Bilyk, but despite some anxious moments in the final minutes of the match, the short-handed home side held on.
"The last few years this tournament's been a little tough on us," said Burn head coach Colin Clarke. "We've had some not so great results the last few years. But we got a result tonight and we're happy about that and now we move on."
DAL - Toni Nhleko (Milton Reyes) 20
DAL - Ronnie O'Brien (Ramon Nunez) 23
VIRGINIA BEACH MARINERS - Matt Nelson, Michael Kirmse, Russell Hutchinson (Joseph Morelli 45), Kevin Knott, Stephen Danbusky, Hamisi Amani-Dove, Jose Gomez (Daniel Alvarez 56), Mark Jonas (Nathaniel Winkel 79), Jeff Bilyk, Carlos Garcia-Dominguez, Dante Washington
DALLAS BURN - Jeff Cassar, Matt Behncke, Cory Gibbs, Clarence Goodson, Milton Reyes, Ronnie O'Brien (Brad Davis 64), Eric Quill, Jordan Stone, Simo Valakari (Carey Talley 68), Toni Nhleko (Jason Thompson 71), Ramon Nunez (Steve Jolley 84)
VB - Danbusky (caution) 26
DAL - Valakari (caution) 51
DAL - Reyes (caution) 54
VB - Bilyk (caution) 61
DAL - Reyes (ejection; second caution) 74
DAL - Thompson (caution) 79
Referee: Kevin Terry
Referee's Assistants: Adam Garner, Troy Travis
4th Official: Kyle Borne