For the second week in a row, a National Premier Soccer League team from the Western Conference has clinched a spot in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the first time. After the Sacramento Gold punched their ticket with a 5-2 win over the Sonoma County Sol last Saturday, FC Hasental earned their first Open Cup berth with a 2-0 win over the San Diego Flash.
In a game hosted by the Flash, FC Hasental withstood some early first half pressure from the home team before scoring the opening goal on a Armando Gaitan free kick. Gaitan’s free kick came from over 30 yards out to five Hasental a 1-0 lead on a team that they had never defeated in league play (0-2-2).
Just before halftime Hasental doubled their lead when a corner kick by Augustine Cazares found Gustavo Villalobos in the 42nd minute, marking the first time the club had scored multiple goals against the Flash in four previous all-time meetings. They were able to hold on in the second half to secure their first win over the Flash.
“We made US Open Cup qualification a real priority this year,” said Hasental manager Eric Warner. “In the past we challenged players’ technique and insight, and took more chances. This year we’re playing primarily to win and we were fortunate enough to do that.”
Hasental qualifies after falling short in 2009, 2010 (USASA Region IV tournament) and 2012. The club lost a tight 1-0 game to the Fullerton Rangers in the semifinals of last year’s NPSL tournament.
“The result was reflective of how competitive the guys are,” said Hasental midfielder Agustin Cazarez. “We felt we were the better team and had to prove it by winning.”
Hasental and Sacramento join Lehigh Valley United Sonic, Chattanooga FC and the Madison 56ers as the confirmed NPSL entries for the 100th US Open Cup. Three spots remain and will be announced by the league at a later date.
Hasental’s first goal by Armando Gaitan
Hasental’s second goal by Gustavo Villalobos
2013 NPSL Western Conference Southern Division qualifying
First Round (March 17)
Las Vegas Stallions at FC Hasental*
*Las Vegas forfeits (player paperwork issues)
San Diego Boca FC 0:2 Orange County Spartans**
**Orange County forfeits (player paperwork issues)
Semifinals (March 23/24)
FC Hasental 2:1 Santa Clarita – Mar. 23
San Diego Boca 2:4 San Diego Flash – Mar. 24
Final (March 30) – “Win & You’re In”
FC Hasental 2:0 San Diego Flash
2013 NPSL Western Conference Northern Division qualifying
First Round (March 9)
Sacramento Gold 3:0 CD Aguiluchos USA
Semifinals (March 16)
Sacramento Gold 2:0 Real San Jose
San Francisco Stompers 2:5 Sonoma County Sol
Final (March 23) – “Win & You’re In”
Sonoma County Sol 1:5 Sacramento Gold
2013 US Open Cup entries: NPSL
1.) Chattanooga FC
2.) Lehigh Valley United Sonic
3.) Madison 56ers
4.) Sacramento Gold
5.) FC Hasental
6.) To be announced
7.) To be announced*
8.) To be announced*
* Will begin play in the Qualifying Round on May 7