MORE: 2018 US Open Cup Qualifying Results/Schedule
The North Texas Rayados continued their impressive run of form in US Open Cup qualifying tournaments with a 4-1 road win over the Celtic Cowboys Premier.
With a victory in Round 2 of the open division tournament, North Texas takes another step forward. The Rayados have qualified for the last six Open Cups (althought they were disqualified prior to the start of the 2016 competition), is now one win away from a seventh straight.
“The achievements of our team are the results of the combined effort of each individual,” said Rayados head coach Tito Salas. “We had to be patient to get the result as the opponent came in with a strong game plan that we didn’t expect.”
This match was played in Austin, Texas at the Onion Creek Soccer Complex. It was attended by fifty people which was a bit of a surprise given that the USA Formula 1 Race and the University of Texas football team had events going on at about the same time. But it was a good match to watch and everyone in attendance felt like they were getting back in touch with why they love the game so much.
The Austin Celtic Cowboys were the home team and have been dominating the local Premier Soccer League for the last year. There was a lot of hope from the fans that their hometown team would be able to make a positive statement on the match and get the win over the North Texas Rayados.
The Rayados have been around for a bit longer than have the Celtic Cowboys. They have also been in the US Open Cup five of the last six years. So it was expected that they would dominate most of the play at Onion Creek Soccer Park.
They got their first shot on goal in the sixth minute when Christopher Escalera forced a great save from the Celtic Cowboys goalkeeper Samyar Heydarkhani. The Rayados continued to dominate the match and got their first goal in the 33rd minute when Kevin Ellis was able to get the ball past Heydarkhani.
The Rayados got their second goal in the 59th minute when Escalara was able to take advantage of a Celtic Cowboys defensive mistake and poke home the loose ball to make the score 2-0 in their favor.
But to their credit, the Celtic Cowboys refused to quit and managed fight their way to a goal in the 60th minute. Striker Adrian Murphy scored when he fought off the Rayados defense for a cross and got his shot past the goalkeeper. The goal fueled the team and they played much harder and nearly got the required equalizer several times.
But their efforts were canceled out in the 64th minute when Rayados striker Javan Goncalves-Toledo scored a spectacular “over-the-head” kick into the corner of the Celtic Cowboys’ goal. They would put the “exclamation mark” on the match in stoppage time when Escalara would poke home a loose ball to make the final score 4-1 for the Rayados.
After the game, Salas expressed that he was proud of the way his Rayados team played, but acknowledged they still have more work to do to qualify for the US Open Cup.
Celtic Cowboys head coach, Chris Scranton was proud of the effort his team gave, but was disappointed that his offense could only muster a single goal.
“But at least we didn’t give up,” said Scranton.
With the win, the Rayados advance to the final round of the qualifying tournament where they will host Motagua of New Orleans. The date and locations will be announced at a later date, but is expected to be held the weekend of Nov. 18-19.