2015 US Open Cup qualifying: North Carolina’s Triangle Brigade wins USASA Region III title over NTX Rayados

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  • July 6, 2014
Jason Sisneros lifts the Region III Open Cup trophy

Triangle Brigade FC manager Jason Sisneros lifts the 2014 USASA Region III Open Cup trophy. Photo: Twitter @JasonMSisneros

Triangle Brigade FC was formed in January 2014 with the intention of creating an elite level of amateur soccer in North Carolina. Head coach Jason Sisneros expected to start small, earning success in his state before moving on to bigger and better things, using the 2014 USASA Region III Open Cup tournament as an opportunity just to get better.

It came as a surprise then when Triangle Brigade not only competed in the Region III tournament, but they won the championship by defeating reigning champions North Texas Rayados in the process and earning an expected berth in the 2015 US Open Cup (assuming the format remains the same as 2014).

“We’re very excited,” said Sisneros, who is also an assistant coach with the University of North Carolina women’s soccer team. “Winning the tournament was huge. It gives us all kinds of new opportunities to train for. Being able to take an amateur team from North Carolina a few wins away from facing professional teams is incredible.”

The Region III Open Cup tournament, which was held at the Emory Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex in Montgomery, Ala., featured six teams split into two groups of three. Each group winner then would earn a berth to the 2015 US Open Cup. Reigning champions North Texas Rayados were in Group A along with Lynch’s FC, one of two teams from Florida in the tournament. Lynch’s won Region III in 2003 and 2009 and have qualified for the US Open Cup three times. Rounding out Group A was CD Motagua New Orleans (LA), which rolled through an expanded Louisiana qualifying tournament, winning a state title in the process.

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Triangle Brigade was in a Group B that featured Florida’s Red Force, last year’s Region III runners-up. In the 2014 Open Cup, Red Force became the first USASA club from the sunshine state to win an Open Cup game since 2001 when it defeated Colorado Rovers of the USSSA 2-1. Group B also featured Cajun SC, the runner-up from Louisiana.

In the first fixtures, Rayados got off to a winning start, scoring two second-half goals to beat Lynch’s. Red Force needed an 89th minute penalty kick to see off Motagua 3-2, and Triangle Brigade squeaked out a 2-1 win over Cajun SC.

Group play continued with Rayados earning 4-2 win over Cajun, Lynch’s outscoring Motagua 4-2, and Triangle Brigade earning a surprising 5-2 victory over Red Force. Sisneros said that Red Force was shorthanded, unlike Brigade, which had a full bench. According to Sisneros, his ability to use many substitutes helped immensely throughout the tournament.

Triangle Brigade was formed at the end of the UNC club season. Sisneros met and got to know the players, then decided to field an amateur team with a mix of club players and other amateurs. “These are players who potentially could have played Division I, just not at UNC. They sacrificed soccer ambition to have a very strong club team,” he said.

usasa-region-3-logoWith Rayados and Triangle Brigade having all but wrapped up their spots in the final, the third round of games featured some wacky results. Rayados tied Motagua 3-3, and Cajun SC beat Red Force 4-3. Resting his players, Sisneros’ side lost 11-0 to Lynch’s in its final game. However, Rayados and Triangle Brigade won their groups and earned berths to the 2015 US Open Cup.

The Brigade took it one step further, however, beating Rayados 4-1 in the final. Rayados got on the board first, but two goals each from Jonathan Rivera and Brett Griffith helped Triangle Brigade win the title.

Assuming they qualify for next year’s Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, they will be the first USASA club to represent the Tar Heel State since the Raleigh CASL Elite in 2010.

Sisneros said, “A lot of my players hadn’t won anything before. They deserved it. We feel fortunate, and we’re very happy.”

2014 USASA Region III Tournament results

Group A P W L D Pts GF GA GD
NTX Rayados (NTX) 3 2 0 1 7 9 5 +4
Lynch’s FC (FL) 3 2 1 0 6 15 4 +11
CD Motagua NO (LA) 3 0 2 1 1 7 10 -3
Group B P W L D Pts GF GA GD
Triangle Brigade (NC) 3 2 1 0 6 7 14 -7
Cajun SC (LA) 3 1 2 0 3 7 9 -2
Red Force (FL) 3 1 2 0 3 8 11 -3

Schedule/Results (All times Eastern)

June 20, 7 p.m.

NTX Rayados 2:0 Lynch’s FC
Red Force 3:2 CD Motagua NO
Triangle Brigade 2:1 Cajun SC

June 21, 10 a.m.

NTX Rayados 4:2 Cajun SC
Lynch’s 4:2 CD Motagua NO
Triangle Brigade 5:2 Red Force

June 21, 6 p.m.

Lynch’s FC 11:0 Triangle Brigade
Red Force 3:4 Cajun SC
CD Motagua 3:3 North Texas Rayados

Championship

June 22, 12 p.m.

NTX Rayados 1:4 Triangle Brigade
Both teams expected to qualify for the 2015 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup

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