Arizona Sahuaros qualify for 3rd straight US Open Cup, Ambassadors from Bay Area to make their debut

Posted by | May 24, 2010

After an exhausting five games in three days, Region IV of the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) has submitted their two teams to the 2010 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

The Bay Area Ambassadors accept the USASA Region IV Open Cup championship trophy. Bay Area qualified for the US Open Cup by reaching the semifinals, and then defeated the Arizona Sahuaros in the final, 2-0. Photo: Bay Area Ambassadors

The Arizona Sahuaros and the Bay Area Ambassadors of the NPSL both reached the final of the Region IV tournament and therefore qualified for the tournament. For the Sahuaros, this is their third straight Open Cup appearance and fifth overall in the Professional Era (1995-present). The Ambassadors have not only punched their ticket to the Open Cup but won the entire tournament, defeating the Sahuaros in the final to advance to the USASA National Cup Finals.

The Ambassadors opened the weekend on a high note beating San Diego Boca 2-0. Both goals came in the 2nd half from Tony Salcicca and Jacob assisted by Pedro Osorio and Jordan Keyes. The victory was sweet for the 2nd year NPSL club as they struggled with injuries of three keys players in the first game.

On Saturday morning, BayArea FC beat the Arizona Pros 1-0. Jasko Begovic netted the game’s only goal in the 70th minute.  Fresh from the win the Ambassadors handed the French Soccer Academy a lesson with a final score of 5-1. Dannylo Ayllon scored two Goals each and Jasko Begovic assisted by Aneesh Rana.

*Bear with us on the formatting in this table, we’re trying to fix it*

WIN & YOU’RE IN (Special Play-in game)
PAL Stadium – San Jose, Calif.

Qualified Clubs:

Arizona Pros (Arizona)
Arizona Sahuaros
(NPSL – on hiatus)
Bay Area Ambassadors (NPSL)
Doxa-Italia (California South)
FC Hasental (California South)
French Soccer Academy (Washington)
Real San Jose (NPSL)
Sacramento Gold (NPSL)
San Diego Boca FC (NPSL)
San Diego United (NPSL – on hiatus)
San Francisco Italian Athletics (California North)
Yakima United (Washington)

Group A P W L T Pts GF GA GD
Real San Jose 2 2 0 0 6 5
2 +3
FC Hasental 2 1 1 0 3 6 3 +3
SF Italian Athletics 2 0 2 0 1 1 7 -5

*San Diego United withdrew, therefore the second place
team in the group is not eligible to reach the semifinals

All times Eastern

5/21 FC Hasental 5:0 SF Italia Athletics 5:00 PM
5/22 FC Hasental 1:3 Real San Jose 1:00 PM
5/22 SF Italia Athletics 1:2 Real San Jose 6:00 PM
Group B P W L T Pts GF GA GD
Bay Area Ambassadors 3 3 0 0 9 8 1 +7
San Diego Boca FC 3 1 1 1 4 3 3 +0
French Soccer Academy 3 1 1 1 4 3 5 -2
Arizona Pros 3 0 3 0 0 1 6 -5

All times Eastern

5/21 San Diego Boca FC 0:2 Bay Area Ambassadors 5:00 PM
5/21 French Soccer Academy 2:0 Arizona Pros 5:00 PM
5/22 Bay Area Ambassadors 1:0 Arizona Pros 12:00 PM
5/22 French Soccer Academy 0:0 San Diego Boca FC 2:00 PM
5/22 Arizona Pros 1:3 San Diego Boca FC 5:00 PM
5/22 Bay Area Ambassadors 5:1 French Soccer Academy 7:00 PM
Group C P W L T Pts GF GA GD
Sacramento Gold 3 3 0 0 9 10 2 +8
Arizona Sahuaros 3 1 1 1 4 12 4 +8
Doxa-Italia 3 1 1 1 4 10 4 +6
Yakima United 3 0 3 0 0 2 24 -22

All times Eastern

5/21 Sacramento Gold 1:0 Arizona Sahuaros 7:00 PM
5/21 Doxa-Italia 7:0 Yakima United 7:00 PM
5/22 Arizona Sahuaros 10:1 Yakima United 12:00 PM
5/22 Doxa-Italia 1:2 Sacramento Gold 2:00 PM
5/22 Yakima United 1:7 Sacramento Gold 7:00 PM
5/22 Arizona Sahuaros 2:2 Doxa-Italia 7:00 PM
5/23 Bay Area Ambassadors 1:0 Sacramento Gold 11:00 AM
5/23 Real San Jose 1:2 Arizona Sahuaros 11:00 AM
5/23 Bay Area Ambassadors 2:0 Arizona Sahuaros 4:00 PM

Bay Area emerged as Group B winners with a record of 3-0-0 and would take on Sacramento Gold.

Come Sunday morning, the soccer Gods were with the Ambassadors. Team captain Sergio Valle who had an outstanding tournament saved a Sacramento penalty kick in the first half. BayArea FC midfield maestro Jasko Begovic scored in the 69th minute to give the Ambassadors the 1-0 victory.

In the finals, the Ambassadors came up against a strong Arizona Sahuaros who beat Real San Jose 2-1 to advance to the finals. The teams were evenly matched in the first half, not to mention exhausted playing four 90-minute competitive matches in a span of three days.

The Bay Area Ambassadors were not deterred with only a two hour rest and playing with only 10 men for most of 2nd half due to injury and no subs. In the 53rd minute Jasko Begovic rose to the occasion and slotted one home and the second goal came in the 80th minute from St. Mary’s College star player, Mohammed Yusuf Samy.

“The Bay Area Ambassadors won today because the players played with heart. Most of the players carried an injury and some of them missed their graduation to sacrifice for this victory. It is a gallant effort noting that we played with very limited men and so many games in a short span.,” said Mohammed Mohammed, Head Coach the Bay Area Ambassadors.

The Arizona Sahuaros run to the Open Cup proper was not as clear cut as Bay Area, as they finished 1-1-1 in group play.

A first match loss 1-0 to the Sacramento Gold forced Arizona to get points in their last two matches.  The next match was a 10-1 drubbing of Yakima United, while the last was a 2-2 draw against Doxa Italia.

The 9-goal blowout proved to be the most important result as Arizona tied with three other clubs with four points, as the best second place team would book a place in the semifinals. With a plus-8 goal differencial, the Sahuaros would edge out Doxa-Italia (+6), San Diego Boca FC (+0), and the French Soccer Academy (-2) for a spot in the final four.

Teams in Group A, which consisted of only three teams due to San Diego United dropping out of the competition, were informed prior to the tournament starting that the second place team in the group would not be eligible for the semifinals, since each team was only playing in two matches.

In the semi-finals the Sahuaros defeated Real San Jose 2-1.  Pat Perkins netted both goals for Arizona. The second goal appeared to be a handball, but after consulting with the AR, the center ref let the goal stand.  Real San Jose pulled one back in the second half but it was too little, too late.

“What can we do? I thought the boys battled very hard and were very unlucky on that call and unlucky not to get the game into overtime at least. In all it was great experience. We took perhaps powerhouse amateur team to the wire in our first Open Cup experience. I learned a lot about coaching from my coaching opponent today. He’s one of the best in my opinion,” said RSJ manager Nick Arellano.

“I think our GK Brad Swenby was the key to our success this weekend.” said Sahuaros head coach Petar Draskin.  “A few other players to recognize were Skelly Keller, Mitch Garcia, Defenders Chris Green and Brian Green. Midfielder Paul La larva and forward Pat Perkins. This was the youngest team Sahuaros have ever brought to this event. Also, Seth George former pro had his first appearance in the Sahuaros Jersey.”

This is the third straight US Open Cup for Arizona Sahuaros (2008, 2009, 2010).  They are the third USASA club to qualify for the US Open Cup for three straight seasons.  Los Lobos (Oaklahoma) qualified from 1997-1999 and Mexico SC qualified four years in a row from 1999-2002.

I think our GK Brad Swenby  was the key to our success this weekend. Few other players to recognize Skelly Keller, Mitch Garcia, Defenders Chris Green and Brian Green. Mid fielder Paul La larva and forward Pat Perkins. This was the youngest team Sahuaros brought to this event. Also, Seth George former pro had his first appearance in the Sahuaros Jersey.

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