Juan Pablo Ángel's penalty-kick goal in second-half stoppage time proved the difference as Chivas USA defeated the Carolina RailHawks on Tuesday, 2-1 at WakeMed Soccer Park, to advance to the US Open Cup quarterfinals for the second time in club history.
The match appeared destined for extra time when the referee called a penalty kick for a hand ball by Carolina defender Gale Agbossoumonde. The US youth international deflected the ball with his arm while on the ground after Ángel dribbled past him in the box. The Colombian veteran stepped up to convert the spot kick.
With the victory, the Goats are now undefeated in their last six matches in all competitions.
Manager Robin Fraser once again started a lineup laden with first-team regulars and his side repeatedly tested the RailHawks defense from the start, including a Laurent Courtois shot that sailed over the cross bar in the 15th minute.
The Rojiblancos finally broke through in 31st minute when Juan Agudelo expertly headed a Courtois cross past RailHawks goalkeeper Ray Burse for the game’s opening goal.
The momentum shifted to the RailHawks after the Chivas goal and in the second half Carolina ramped up the pressure. The home side created several scoring chances, forcing a quick reaction save from Chivas 'keeper Tim Melia in the 49th minute to deny forward Zack Schilawski. The ex-Revolution striker nearly tallied for Carolina in the 71st minute when he headed a Nick Zimmerman cross off the crossbar.
The RailHawks equalized in the 79th minute when second-half substitute Mike Palacio found space in the box, firing a first-time shot that beat Melia.
Chivas pushed for the winner in the final minutes and after forcing a pair of reaction saves from Burse in the 89th minute, the MLS side was awarded the penalty for the Agbossoumonde hand ball.
From there, Ángel calmly buried the penalty, putting the Rojiblancos through to the quarterfinals, where they will host the Charlotte Eagles at The Home Depot Center on June 26.
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org