Everyone enjoys a good Cinderella team, and no doubt part of the charm of the U.S. Open Cup is the alluring nature of the multiple David vs. Goliath matchups it has to offer. PSA Elite is an Orange County-based team who plays in an amateur league that falls under the 5th level of the USA soccer pyramid — the United Premier Soccer League.
The LA Galaxy have won three of the last four MLS Cups and are lead by the reigning league MVP, Robbie Keane, who also happens to have the most international goals of any active soccer players.
David vs. Goliath.
But the thing about David vs. Goliath matchups is, as fun as it is to see the underdogs pull out an unlikely victory, far more often you’ll see the Goliaths live up to their name and crush the Davids. This was the case when Bruce Arena, head coach of the Galaxy, shocked everyone by not only sending out his near A-team, but sending out what is arguably the most attack oriented lineup the Galaxy have fielded all season in a 6-1 Fourth Round victory.
Photo: LA Galaxy
From the very first minute the Galaxy had their foot on the gas pedal and attacked the armature side with near reckless abandon. PSA Elite made them pay early for their zeal by capitalizing on the space behind the Galaxy high line with a deft ball played in behind which PSA forward Michael Salazar put away nicely in the 12th minute, but the Galaxy would level the score just three minutes later off of a set piece. Sebastian Lletget’s shot off the corner hit the underside of the bar and the assistant referee determined the ball crossed the line, although replays have shown this call was somewhat dubious.
The Galaxy took the goal and ran with it and the game was over from that point on. Keane, Ignacio Maganto, Raul Mendiola and Lletget were all extremely active in the Galaxy attack, shifting around and creating chance after chance for one another, and when PSA managed to get the ball, they’d more often than not turned the ball over in their own third.
In the 19th minute Keane drifted to the outside of the box and served up a goal on a platter for Gyasi Zardes. Ten minutes later, Kenney Walker, spurred by a deft proactive run from Ingnacio Maganto, chipped a ball from the midfield into PSA box and in behind their backline. Maganto nodded it down perfectly to Keane who took the shot in stride.
The Galaxy would go on to steamroll the Cinderella squad with Keane scoring a hat trick. With those goals Keane becomes just the second Galaxy player to score a triple, joining Carlos Ruiz from the 2003 season.
Despite the result, it was a great run from PSA which was the last remaining amateur side in the tournament and it matched last year’s feat, reaching the Fourth Round.