The 100th edition of the US Open Cup had its first round on Tuesday and Austin Aztex won their first US Open Cup game since the squad’s rebirth thanks to a 3-0 win against amateurs NTX Rayados despite playing with 10 men for a majority of the contest.
Andres Cuero scored in the first half and Tony Rocha added one in the second half for the Aztex while the team benefitted from a Rayados own goal in the first half.
Austin will play the Wilmington Hammerheads in the second round on May 21 at House Park in Austin.
It was all Austin in the early going but the USL PDL team that opened its season on Saturday could not find a final touch to put the ball in right away.
In the third minute Austin’s Kris Tyrpak got the ball on the right of the box and hit a powerful shot in space that came back off the crossbar allowing North Texas to clear safely.
North Texas had a chance in the 10th minute as Victor Pinal broke free but timed his run poorly as he was flagged off for an offside.
Austin took the lead in the 14th minute after a shot from Chuy Cortez was saved but the Rayados failed to clear, which allowed Cuero to sneak the ball in. North Texas’ Raul Herrera made the save after it crossed the line.
Cortez nearly had a goal of his own as the roles were reversed with Cuero on the edge of the box volleying across for Cortez before shooting over the bar.
Later, Austin’s Aaron Guillen was shown a straight red card for contact with Herrera, who rolled around theatrically. To the referee’s credit Herrera was also shown a yellow for simulation.
The Aztex replaced Cortez with Walker Hume to cover Guillen’s position at the center defense in an effort to keep their passage into the second round safe.
Austin doubled their advantage in the 33rd minute as Tyrpak’s shot was redirected by Clifford Spencer into the back of his own net.
The second half started nervously with neither side really taking charge in what was an end-to-end period that produced little in a final product.
Austin had the first chance of the second half after a fluid series of passes allowed Tyrpak space in the box but he went wide of the post with his shot.
After the opening ten minutes of the half, North Texas saw plenty of the ball, but the closest it got was a solid shot from Alberto Rodriguez that could only find Austin keeper Josh Mikolewicz’s hands.
Austin looked content with a two-goal lead and a man disadvantage as they held off the Rayados and operated on the counter.
In the 72nd minute, Cuero ran at goal from the right and had a powerful low shot blocked away by Herrera over the crossbar.
Austin had a corner that almost went in off the foot of Rocha, but the ball was pushed out before the same happened again on the resulting corner. North Texas was able to recover in the scramble and clear the ball.
North Texas had a good chance in the 77th minute as Reese Wilson got through and saw his initial effort saved before the rebound was cleared by Zach Pope.
Austin added a third in the 85th minute as Rocha’s footwork bamboozled the Rayados defense before squeezing it through Herrera.
Herrera came to the rescue in stoppage time to prevent a fourth as Max Gunderson made a superb run and crossed for Jacob Powell but quick work from the keeper allowed him to make the stop.