Despite dominating the majority of the match, a solitary goal was all that separated upstarts Davis Legacy from IFX Ballistic FC in a 1-0 victory in the first round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup open division qualifying tournament on Sunday night in front of a crowd of roughly 100 at Las Positas College.
Carlos Carranza’s coolly-taken 19th minute penalty kick gave the Legacy, who are in their first year of fielding a men’s team after operating for many years as a youth club, a ticket to the next round of qualification. In Round 2, they will head to the Bay Area where they will meet San Francisco City FC on Nov. 21 in San Francisco.
Due to injuries, the Legacy were only able to dress 16 players for the match.
“We’re down some guys, so we knew that was going to play into it a little bit, especially knowing who we were going up against. We had to come up with a good plan on how we wanted to manage the game,” head coach Adam Lewin said. “The first game of the Open Cup, there’s obviously going to be some jitters, but I thought the guys did a great job today.”
The result of the match was never in question as the hosts could muster just a solitary shot on goal, a meager attempt from 30-yards out in the second half, but Ballistic hung around all night thanks to the heroics of 46-year-old goalkeeper Emmet Meilbrecht.
The netminder repeatedly denied chances from Carranza, and Legacy right winger Carlos Lezama, who was so effective, that he forced Ballistic to substitute their left back 35 minutes into the match.
By then, the damage had already been done in the 19th minute. Lezama was taken down in the box by Adalberto Rodriguez after Rodriguez saved Lezama’s initial shot on goal with a sliding challenge on the goal line.
Carranaza confidently stepped up to the spot and sent Meilbrecht the wrong way to score the winning goal early.
The Legacy pressed for a second, but were denied on multiple occasions by the stellar play of Meilbrecht, and their own finishing woes.
“We had probably about six solid chances there in about a 20 minute span,” Lewin said of the first 20 minutes of the match. “In soccer, sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t.”
“[Meilbrecht] played a fantastic game. He really kept them in it.”
Perhaps their best chance to extend the lead came in the 31st minute when Lezama sent in a cross on the ground to the back post, but Kevin Schulte hit the golden opportunity wide.
From there, the Legacy pressed forward, but were unable to add on to their one-goal lead, finishing the match calmly with the victory.
Possessing the talents of current Afghanistan international, and ironically former UC Davis player Ahmad Hatifie, Ballistic were unable to muster anything in the attacking third of the field all night.
If they qualify for the Open Cup, it is believed that the Legacy will be the first-ever club from Davis to participate in the tournament proper.
The Legacy captured the NorCal Adult Premier League title this summer in a wild 6-4 win over San Francisco City, their next opponent, who were then coached by Davis-native Andrew Gardner and managed by his older brother, Jordan.
“For SF City, they have a lot of quality. We know that. We’ve played them twice and every single time and it’s been a close game,” Lewin said.
Evan Ream covers Sacramento Republic FC for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanReam