After playing at the home of the Fresno Fuego on their way to earning the first spot in the history of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for a US Club Soccer team, the Stanislaus United Turlock Express welcomed the Fuego to their home in Turlock, California in the First Round of the 2012 edition. The Fuego had not been in the Open Cup since their inaugural season in 2003, where a magical run saw them make it all the way to the Fourth Round and a date with the defending MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy. Fresno, led by Abraham Campos, made their triumphant return by defeating the Express 2-0 to advance to the Second Round.
The two clubs started off the game slow, with the first half ending scoreless. Soon after second half kickoff, Campos, the soon-to-be junior at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, scored in the 47th minute to give Fresno the 1-0 lead. In the 59th minute, midfielder Nehemias Blanco earned a red card to bring the Fuego down to ten men. That didn’t hamper Fresno down as the second-year midfielder Campos struck again, this time in the 70th minute. He received an assist from Paul Islas, the Fresno native who is set to enter his senior season at Fresno Pacific University.
The two goals by Campos would turn out to be enough as the Fresno Fuego move on to the Second Round for the first time since that 2003 run. They will now play on the road against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL on Tuesday, May 22. Kickoff time is set for 7:30 PM ET.
Stanislaus United Turlock Express 0:2 Fresno Fuego
Academia Fields – Turlock, Calif.
FRE: Abraham Campos 47
FRE: Abraham Campos (Paul Islas) 70
FRE: Nehemias Blanco – ejection 59