La Maquina (left) vs. LA Wolves in the Third Round of 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: Joe Walsh
With its play on the field, La Maquina has proved its maturity.
Former Chivas de Guadalajara forward Edwin Borboa scored twice as La Maquina continued its run in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup with a 2-0 victory over fellow United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) team Los Angeles Wolves FC. The match was played on June 1 in a Third Round game at Boswell Field on the campus of Westminster High School.
With the win, La Maquina becomes just the 12th amateur team since 1996 to reach the Fourth Round.
“As I’m getting older and towards the end of his career, primarily the focus is the team and helping the team through my experience and realizing that means putting some goals in the back of the net,” said Borboa through an interpreter.
The 33-year-old Mexican headed in the game’s first goal in the 17th minute, then scored on a free kick in the 68h minute to propel La Maquina into a Fourth Round matchup against the Los Angeles Galaxy at the StubHub Center on Wednesday, June 15.
“Very happy because we’re going against the next level, the LA Galaxy,” Borboa said. “They’re a very professional team but we know what we have, and we’re going to work hard to get to there, and try to move on the next round.”
Santa Ana, Calif.-based La Maquina, banned from the UPSL’s winter season due to its participation in a post-game brawl late last year, are one of only two amateur clubs (Kitsap Pumas) remaining in the tournament.
“We can’t believe where we are right now, but we’ve still been working every week, hard, hard,” La Maquina head coach Alex Uribe said. “We know it’s a very exciting game in two weeks.”
The club has not played a league fixture since December when UPSL President Yan Skwara announced the league’s ruling. Skwara, coincidently, is president and head coach of the LA Wolves.
“Give credit to La Maquina,” Skwara said. “They play a certain game, and I can’t tell exactly if it’s the way they played defensively against us, or if we didn’t play our game, or a combination of the two.”
Borboa’s first goal punctuated non-stop early pressure from La Maquina, which produced five shots on goal in the first 15 minutes.
His second goal came on a direct free kick at the top of the penalty area, 20 yards from goal. With three players standing over the ball, Borboa saw Wolves goalkeeper Kifi Kalani leaning and took his shot.
“The keeper was giving me the right side, trying to cheat, so I just took the easy way and placed it where he was cheating,” Borboa said.
“That’s Borboa. That’s the way he plays,” Uribe said. “You can see the goalie was expecting a lefty, and he just saw the goalie move the left and so he strikes it to the right.”
La Maquina, relying on competitive friendlies in between its US Open Cup calendar, have won all three rounds by 2-0 score lines. They are just the second team — and the first amateur team — in the Modern Era to earn three or more shutouts in each of their first three Open Cup games. (DC United had 5 straight from 1996-97)
“Since Day 1 in this Open Cup and I told them, ‘If we’re going to be in this Open Cup our goal can’t just be playing, that’s it,” Uribe said. “We want to go all the way, all the way to the end.”
La Maquina’s 2-0 win in the Second Round over Portland Timbers U-23s at Providence Park was an important moment, Uribe said.
“The experience they got in Portland, it was a huge stadium, it was an important team, it’s not a first-team but we demonstrated we can control the ball in any stadium,” Uribe said.