La Maquina lines up for player introductions before their 2016 US Open Cup qualifying match with Chula Vista FC. Photo: La Maquina
La Maquina wouldn’t mind having the kind of success Chula Vista FC had in last season’s US Open Cup.
But first, La Maquina had to beat Chula Vista FC.
La Maquina put in a machine-line performance in a 4-0 win over Chula Vista FC to earn a berth in the final round of the open division qualifying tournament, which takes place next April.
One of the best teams in the strong Los Angeles-based United Premier Soccer League, which sent nine teams to the tournament this year – including LA Wolves FC, Del Rey City and Cal FC. The 2015 US Open Cup Division 4 $15,000 prize winner PSA Elite also competes in the league. La Maquina is attempting to qualify for the Open Cup for the first time.
While it might have been hampered by the absence of four starters and hindered by not having practiced together in several months, it didn’t show in the effort.
La Maquina took a 1-0 halftime lead after former Concordia University (Calif.) standout Edgar Orozco tallied the first of his three assists, delivering a cross to former C.D. Guadalajera and Pachuca player Edwin Borboa, who beat a pair of defenders and fired the ball into the back of the net.
After halftime, La Maquina poured it on with a second goal around the 60th minute. Alejandro Velasquez delivered a ball to former Laredo Heat (PDL) player Rodolfo Godinez who made it 2-0.
“The second goal really brought (Chula Vista FC) down,” said La Maquina assistant coach Edson Martinez. “It was a good game and Chula Vista is really good, but our team has been playing together for five to seven years and they know how to play.”
After the second goal, La Maquina had Chula Vista on their heels and they took advantage of it. Five minutes later, Orozco and Borboa linked up on another cross. Borboa, who scored in their first round win over Strikers FC South Coast, has been on a tear this season, scoring 37 goals in 16 UPSL matches.
In the 75th minute, Orozco helped put the game away as he assisted on a goal by Jose Castro, who played alongside his identical twin brother Rosendo.
Martinez says if the team can keep up its cohesion and family-like chemistry, they can replicate Chula Vista, which garnered attention in last year’s tournament after upsetting the USL’s Arizona United 3-0. But due to the having several members of the team who are soccer coaches at youth academies or at college programs, that could prove to be difficult.
“Honestly, I’m pretty sure we can be the next (US Open Cup) Cinderella story,” said Martinez, who also acts as the team’s general manager. “We’ve played against universities and beat them, we’ve played against all the (local) teams who have qualified for the Open Cup and we’ve beaten them. We’ve won games against teams from Mexico, but we’ve never been on the map because we’ve never entered the US Open Cup.”
Martinez is hoping the team can qualify and put their names on the American soccer map, like Cal FC, Chula Vista FC and PSA Elite before them.
The players on their roster have a lot of college, professional and international experience. They have former US youth internationals like Carlos Borja (Chivas USA), David Arviuz (Orange County Blues, Chivas USA) and Oscar Reyes (UCLA, US Beach Soccer National Team) in addition to Barboa and others.
In two weeks, La Maquina have another big game as they will take on San Nicolas in the UPSL Quarterfinals.