For the first time in the Modern Pro Era (1995-present), two Southern California teams have qualified for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup from USASA’s Region IV. Cal FC, led by their manager, former US international Eric Wynalda, and PSA Elite from Irvine, Calif., emerged as group winners in the Region IV qualifying tournament to punch their tickets to the 99th edition of the Open Cup.
Region IV received permission from the United States Soccer Federation to hold their tournament a week after the qualifying deadline. After Cal FC and PSA Elite qualified, the USSF held a coin flip to determine who each team would play in Round 1 on May 15. The coin flip determined that Cal FC will travel to Bremerton, Wash to take on the PDL’s Kitsap Pumas while the Portland Timbers U23s will host the PSA Elite at Jeld-Wen Field.
Cal FC only needed to win two games to win their group to get in after EP Elite from El Paso, Texas (representing New Mexico) failing to show and forfeiting their three games. What turned out to be one of the best games of the weekend, they started off with a 4-3 win over Doxa Italia on Friday. It looked like it was going to be a one-sided affair as Cal jumped out to a 3-0 halftime lead, and then added a penalty kick after the break to make it 4-0. Doxa refused to roll over as they got goals from Kyle Holland and then a 45-yard blast from Alex Bengard and then a third to cut the lead to 4-3 but Cal was able to hold on despite multiple injuries in the second half.
Wynalda would tweet after the game: “Well done to Doxa for fighting back. We got out of there with our lives.”
It would be much easier in the second game as Cal cruised to a 7-0 win over The Internationalists from the Los Angeles area to punch their ticket. For Wynalda, it will mark the first time he has been involved in the Open Cup since he was a player and scored the only two Open Cup goals of his career during the 2001 tournament while helping the Chicago Fire reach the Semifinals.
In the other group, it was a strong defensive performance by PSA Elite that put them into the tournament for the first time. They did not allow a single goal in their three group matches. They defeated 2011 Open Cup qualifier DV8 Defenders, 3-0 to kick off group play, followed by a 6-0 win over the Pittsburg Galaxy setting up a final game with OC Crew. PSA only needed a draw to advance, and that’s exactly what they got, finishing 0-0 to edge DV8 Defenders, who rebounded with back-to-back wins to finish one point back in second place.
Cal FC and PSA Elite squared off in the championship game, and PSA came away with a 2-0 win. Eight minutes after Cal missed a penalty kick, former MLS player Mike Randolph was shown a red card in the first half and the Elite took advantage with goals by Andrew Riemer in the 63rd minute and Christian Ramirez in the 83rd. (Full recap by fellow NASR member Scott French at ESPN LA). In addition to their first trip to the US Open Cup, PSA will represent Region IV at the USASA Nationals at Toyota Park, July 20-22.
Upcoming Open Cup schedules:
PSA Elite (USASA) at Portland Timbers U-23s (PDL)
Jeld-Wen Field; Portland, Ore. – 7:30 p.m. PT
The Timbers PDL square are making their first appearance in the US Open Cup after missing out last year despite finishing qualifying with an undefeated record (3-0-1). Rather than going through a tiebreaker, they decided to have the Kitsap Pumas and the Timbers U23s use their regular season game on double as a play-in game. Kitsap Pumas won the game 3-2. PSA Elite are making their first appearance in the tournament after emerging from the USASA Region IV tournament.
Cal FC (USASA) at Kitsap Pumas (PDL)
Bremerton Memorial Stadium; Bremerton, Wash. – 7:15 p.m. PT
This is the fourth consecutive year that Kitsap will kick off the tournament at home. USASA Region IV qualifier Cal FC are led by a mix of young players and former professional players and their manager, former US international Eric Wynalda.
Check out the standings and the schedule below for more information …
2012 USASA Region IV US Open Cup qualifying tournament
|x-Cal FC (CA-S)||3||0||0||9||14||3||+11|
|Doxa Italia (CA-S)||2||1||0||6||14||4||+10|
|The Internationalists (CA-S)||1||2||0||3||3||15||-12|
|EP Elite (NM)*||0||3||0||0||0||9||-9|
|x-PSA Elite (CA-S)||2||0||1||7||9||0||+9|
|DV8 Defenders (CA-N)||2||1||0||6||6||5||+1|
|OC Crew (CA-S)||1||1||1||4||3||3||+0|
|Pittsburg Galaxy FC (CA-N)||0||3||0||0||3||13||-10|
* – EP Elite forfeits competition; each opponent will receive three points
2012 USASA Region IV Open Cup tournament
Group A (Eastern Time listed)
May 4: EP Elite (L:W) The Internationalists (EP Elite forfeit)
May 4: Doxa Italia 3:4 Cal FC
May 5: The Internationalists 0:8 Doxa Italia
May 5: Cal FC vs. EP Elite (EP Elite forfeit)
May 5: EP Elite vs. Doxa Italia (EP Elite forfeit)
May 5: The Internationalists 0:7 Cal FC
Cal FC qualifies for the 2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup
Group B (Eastern Time listed)
May 4: OC Crew 3:1 Pittsburg Galaxy FC
May 4: PSA Elite 3:0 DV8 Defenders
May 5: Pittsburg Galaxy FC 0:6 PSA Elite
May 5: DV8 Defenders 2:0 OC Crew
May 5: OC Crew 0:0 PSA Elite
May 5: Pittsburg Galaxy FC 2:4 DV8 Defenders
PSA Elite qualifies for the 2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup
Championship Game (Eastern Time listed)
May 6: PSA Elite 2:0 Cal FC
PSA Elite will represent Region IV at the USASA National Finals