Chula Vista FC fans made the trip to Scottsdale, Ariz. to cheer on their team. Photo: Jose M. Romero
Chula Vista FC is 2-for-Arizona and 2-0 in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, to the surprise of almost everyone but those close to the team. And now the players can dream big.
Without a single player in the starting 11 older than 22, the USASA side from south of San Diego advanced to the Third Round of the annual American soccer club championship with a convincing 3-0 win over Arizona United SC of the USL Wednesday night at Scottsdale Stadium.
Baby-faced midfielder Alberto Diaz’s goal in the 37th minute and teammate Angel Pinal’s goal off a free kick from Diaz were plenty for the upstart squad of young players. Diaz added the team’s third goal in the 72nd minute, taking two touches before unleashing a shot that beat Carl Wosczynski with ease.
Woszcynski appeared to not see the shot, as he didn’t move. His Chula Vista counterpart in goal for the first 59 minutes, Sebastian Ortiz, did plenty of moving and stopping.
Ortiz came up huge for his team with several tremendous saves to preserve the clean sheet, though he left late in the first half with a groin injury and was replaced by Miguel David in the second half.
“It’s working as a team,” Alberto Diaz said. “We got a chance and I put it away.”
Alberto Diaz of Chula Vista FC. Photo: Jose M. Romero
Chula Vista FC earned a trip to Northern California to take on another USL side, Sacramento Republic FC, in the US Open Cup Third Round on May 27. It should go there riding a wave of confidence after Wednesday’s win.
“Sebastian did a good job, I can’t say it enough,” Chula Vista head coach Hector Diaz said.
“Awesome little player,” he said of Alberto Diaz, his younger brother. “Our team is small, it’s more skilled. He was on the U-15 national team, and he’s the reason why I’m here. He was the Cal-South player of the year in 2010 and he was overlooked because of his height. But obviously he’s a dynamic player and I love him.”
Diaz got past Arizona defender Daniel Antunez and into the clear, remaining onside as he got the ball around goalkeeper Carl Woszcynski and flushed the ball into the net to give his team a 1-0 lead.
That was after Ortiz made crucial saves on shots by forward Brad Stisser in the 12th and 19th minutes. Another stop, on a Cameron Vickers shot in the 28th minute, kept the match scoreless.
Ortiz had five saves in the first half.
“Nothing to lose, everything to win,” Hector Diaz said. “Live today and we’ll worry about tomorrow.”
Chula Vista could have hunkered down to start the second half and tried to protect the lead, but it went on the attack. In the 48th minute, Diaz took a free kick that landed on the head of Pinal, the hero of his team’s stoppage time win over PDL side FC Tucson on May 13.
Pinal scored as Arizona United’s defense appeared lost, and by the 69th minute, Arizona United had used all three of its substitutes as it tried to push for extra time.
AZ United coach Michael Dellorusso credited Chula Vista, saying his team didn’t overlook it.
“They deserved to win today,” Dellorusso said. “Our guys didn’t show up tonight. They didn’t play with pride, they didn’t play for the organization. It’s extremely embarrassing, our performance tonight.”
Arizona United, which was playing its second of three matches in eight days, lost forward Dennis Chin to injury in the second half after Chin came on as a sub.
A group of a couple dozen Chula Vista FC fans who made the trip were boisterous for much of the night, chanting “Portero! Portero!” when Ortiz and David made saves and “Beto! Beto!” when Diaz was subbed out in the 84th minute. They saved the traditional Mexican tune “Cielito Lindo” for the final minutes of the match, knowing their team had the match in hand.
For Arizona United, at least the lackluster performance didn’t cost the crowd of 1,408 full price. Tickets were half-price for the match.
Now the question is whether starry-eyed Chula Vista can afford a trip to Sacramento next week. The club has a GoFundMe page set up, hoping to collect donations to get players to the California capital.
“We have this dream to go all the way and play an MLS team,” Alberto Diaz said, “and see where we can go from there. “