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For the second year in a row, the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) Region IV Open Cup qualifying tournament will be an all-California affair. Six teams — four from California South, two from California North — will battle for two spots in the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in Ontario, Calif. the weekend of April 19-21. [MAP]
The headliners of this year’s competition are the two teams that qualified for the Open Cup last year, PSA Elite and one of 2012′s biggest Cinderella stories, Cal FC. Both teams will attempt to become the first California team to qualify in back-to-back seasons since the Fresno-based Mexico SC made the tournament in 2001 and 2002. Also returning are The Internationalists, and 2011 qualifiers Doxa Italia and DV8 Defenders. The lone newcomer in the competition is San Francisco City FC.
The question entering this year’s qualifying tournament is what can Cal FC do for an encore? Last year, the Southern California-based club swept through Region IV qualifying and qualified for the US Open Cup in their first-ever attempt. They began their inaugural cup run with a 3-1 win over the Kitsap Pumas (PDL), but got the nation’s attention when they traveled across the country to thrash the Wilmington Hammerheads (USL Pro) 5-0. The following round, they shocked the world by not only becoming the first USASA team to score a goal against a Major League Soccer team, but they became the first to defeat one, eliminating the Portland Timbers 1-0 in extra time in front of a stunned crowd at Jeld-Wen Field. The little-known club, led by their manager, former US international Eric Wynalda, found themselves trending worldwide on Twitter that night and on to the Fourth Round. Their run would end there with a 5-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders.
The PSA Elite qualified last year in their first attempt, and this year they will try to go two-for-two. Just like Cal FC, they also won their first Open Cup game against a strong PDL team by the score of 3-1. PSA eliminated the Portland Timbers U23s and just like Cal FC, they had to travel across the country to play a team from North Carolina in Round 2. The NASL’s Carolina RailHawks ended their run, however, by the score of 7-0.
Doxa Italia will make their fourth straight appearance in the Region IV tournament and will attempt to qualify again as they did in 2011. That same year, DV8 Defenders from Redwood City in the Bay Area qualified for the Open Cup in their first attempt. Both teams were one-and-done against PDL teams on the road with the Defenders falling 5-0 at Colorado Foxes and Doxa losing to the Ventura County Fusion 3-1.
The Internationalists failed to qualify in their first attempt last year, losing both of their games by a combined score of 15-0. They lost 8-0 to Doxa Italia and 7-0 to Cal FC. The Region IV tournament, because it uses goal difference and goals scored as tiebreakers, often sees high-scoring matches. Many Open Cup berths in recent years have come down to tiebreakers so teams rarely take any chances. The Internationalists will hope to be more competitive in the second year in the competition.
2013 US Open Cup qualifying: USASA Region IV Finals (April 19-21)
Ontario, California – All Times Eastern [MAP]
|Doxa Italia (CA – South)||6||2||1||0||+5|
|Cal FC (CA – South)||6||2||0||0||+12|
|San Fran. City (CA – North)||3||1||1||0||-13|
|PSA Elite (CA – South)||9||3||0||0||+19|
|DV8 Defenders (CA – North)||3||1||2||0||-4|
|Internationalists (CA – South)||0||0||3||0||-18|
Doxa Italia 0:3 PSA Elite
The Internationalists 2:8 DV8 Defenders
Cal FC 12:3 San Francisco City FC
Doxa Italia 7:0 San Francisco City FC
Cal FC 4:1 DV8 Defenders
PSA Elite 10:1 The Internationalists
Doxa Italia 2:1 Cal FC
PSA Elite 9:2 DV8 Defenders
San Francisco City FC 4:1 The Internationalists
April 21 (Championship)
PSA Elite (Group B winner) 4:1 Doxa Italia (Group A winner)
Both group winners qualify for the 2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup
Region IV champion advances to USASA National Cup Finals