Through a goal by Jorge Ruiz and four made penalties, CD Aguiluchos USA edged Sonoma County Sol to win the National Premier Soccer League’s Golden Gate Conference Open Cup qualifying tournament. They won 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw after extra time Saturday night at Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park, Calif.
With the win, they put themselves in position to qualify for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the first time. At this time, the format for the 101st edition of the tournament has yet to be announced. However, according to the Seattle Sporting FC Facebook page, the winner of the Seattle-Spartans FC Northwest final will visit CDA on Saturday, March 15 in what is expected to be a “Win & You’re In” match.
Sonoma struck first through a goal from forward Ross Middlemiss before Salvadorian forward Jorge Ruiz took advantage of a Sol goalkeeping error to level the game in the first half.
The sides then played through a scoreless second half, and two scoreless extra time periods to set up a penalty kick shootout.
Ruiz, Kevin Sanchez, Francisco Mendoza and Rodis Rebera all scored for the Oakland-based team to take them to where they’ve never been before.
“We’re very excited because we represent the Salvadorian community,” Aguiluchos chairman Roger Amaya said. “This helps our marketing and support and is good for us because more people will come and believe in our team.”
Founded in 2012, CD Aguiluchos USA is named after 15-time Salvadorian champion CD Aguila similar to how Chivas USA is named after Guadelajara of Mexico, though no formal partnership exists between Aguiluchos and their namesake.
The team includes former Aguila and El Salvador striker Rudis Corrales, who played 77 times for his country of birth, scoring 17 goals.
“He made history in our culture,” Amaya said of Corrales. “And now he’s trying to help us.”
The team is made up mostly of Salvadorian and Mexican players, but does include former San Jose Earthquakes and Houston Dynamo forward Julian Nash. Prior to being drafted into Major League Soccer, Nash, an Oakland native, was the top scorer of the 2004 US Open Cup when he scored four goals for the Chicago Fire Reserves of the PDL.
Aguiluchos made their debut in the NPSL last year, finishing 4th in the old West-Northern Conference with a 3-6-3 record.
They are coached by former Aguila forward and manager Hugo Coria.
2014 US Open Cup qualifying (NPSL)
GOLDEN GATE CONFERENCE
Sacramento Gold 1:2 Sonoma County Sol
Semifinals (March 1)
Real San Jose 0:2 Sonoma County Sol
CD Aguiluchos USA 1:0 San Francisco Stompers
Final (March 8)
CD Aguiluchos USA 1:1 Sonoma County Sol
CDA wins 4-3 in penalty kicks
First Round (March 1)
FC Force 5:2 Temecula FC
Santa Clarita Storm 1:0 Del Ray City
Semifinals (March 9)
FC Force 0:3 San Diego Flash
Santa Clarita Storm 1:6 FC Hasental
Final (Mar. 15 – Win & You’re In)
San Diego Flash vs. FC Hasental
Seattle Sporting 1:0 Inter United
Spartans FC 6:0 SO Samba
Seattle Sporting at Spartans FC
NOTE: The 2014 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup format has not been officially announced by the US Soccer Federation yet, so this tournament is operating under the assumption that the number of teams awarded to the NPSL will not change from 2013.