Photo: Bob Larson
The United States Soccer Federation unveiled the draw for the final round of the 2016 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup qualifying tournament on Thursday. The remaining 14 teams in the open division competition, which began with teams across the country from the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA), US Club Soccer and the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), will be narrowed down to eight after six games and two byes were announced.
The six matchups were made purely on a regional basis to minimize travel with the two teams who were the furthest away from the nearest potential opponent receiving byes. Those two teams were US Club Soccer’s San Francisco City FC and the Boulder, Colo.-based Harpo’s FC from the USSSA. Those two teams have now qualified for the 103rd edition of the US Open Cup that is scheduled to begin around May 11. Both San Francisco City and Harpo’s FC will be making their second consecutive appearance in the tournament.
The winners of the six games that are scheduled to take place the weekend of April 2-3, will join those two teams in the US Open Cup. All 12 of the teams are representing the USASA. Here are the “Win & You’re In” matchups:
NTX Rayados (Dallas, TX) vs. CD Motagua of New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)
Pan American Stadium; New Orleans, LA | April 2, 8 p.m. ET
Both teams received a bye during the qualifying tournament due to a team that was unable to make the long trek to their respective home stadiums. CD Motagua of New Orleans had Tobacco Road FC from Chapel Hill, N.C. withdraw in Round 1, while North Texas got a free pass into the final round after International Portland Select (IPS) couldn’t make the trip from the Pacific Northwest in Round 2.
You wouldn’t expect a team from Dallas and a team from New Orleans to have played each other before, but in fact, this is a rematch of a “Win & You’re In” match from the 2013 US Open Cup qualifying tournament. The North Texas Rayados traveled down to the New Orleans City Park Festival Grounds, the site of the USASA Region III Finals, and defeated the hometown CD Motagua in the semifinals 4-0 to earn a spot in the 2013 US Open Cup.
The Rayados are seeking a fifth straight appearance in the US Open Cup, which would be a Modern Era record for a USASA club. Their only win of the open division competition came in Round 1 when they defeated Austin Real Cuauhtemoc (Austin, TX) 4-2 in Georgetown, Texas on Nov. 1, 2015. In their four previous trips to the US Open Cup, they have never hosted a tournament game and have only advanced beyond their opening match once. In 2014, they eliminated the PDL’s Austin Aztex 4-2 in penalty kicks after an exciting 4-4 draw. The Rayados play in the very competitive North Texas Premier Soccer Association.
CD Motagua have made multiple attempts at qualifying for the US Open Cup in recent years, but after falling short in 2013 and 2015, this is the third time that they will be one win away from punching their ticket. After CD Motagua got their free pass into the second round, they earned a 5-2 home win over Queen City United FC from Charlotte, N.C. to reach the final round.
In the Modern Era (1995-present), the state of Louisiana has never had an amateur team qualifying for the tournament. The only Louisiana team of any kind that has played in the competition since 1995 was the A-League’s New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers, led by a young Trinidadian forward named Stern John. CD Motagua competes in the Louisiana Premier League and won the league’s inaugural championship in 2014.
Southie FC (Tyngsboro, MA) at West Chester United (West Chester, PA)
West Chester United Turf Field; West Chester, PA | April 2, 6 p.m. ET
Southie FC and West Chester United are both seeking their first US Open Cup berths when they meet outside of Philadelphia on April 2.
From 2011-2013, West Chester won the Eastern Pennsylvania qualifying tournament, but fell short of the US Open Cup with losses in the USASA Region I tournament. In 2014-15, United won their third straight Eastern Pennsylvania title, won the Region I championship for the first time, and even moved on to win the USASA national tournament, but a change in the qualifying format denied the team a spot in the 2015 US Open Cup. Now, this year, the United Soccer League of Philadelphia side is hoping this is their year to finally qualify. To get to the final round, they had to beat a pair of familiar teams from the Philadelphia Premier Soccer League. In Round 1, they edged Junior Lone Star 2-1 in extra time and then shut out Salone FC 3-0 to reach the final round.
Just like their opponents, Southie FC, who are members of the Massachusetts State Soccer League, defeated a pair of teams from a rival league to reach Round 3. First, they shut out Battery Park Gunners 2-0 before knocking off GPS Omens 4-0 in Round 2. Both teams finished the season ranked in the Top 4 in the Bay State Soccer League.
NY Pancyprian Freedoms (Astoria, NY) at Lansdowne Bhoys FC (Yonkers, NY)
Tibbetts Brooke Park Field No. 3; Yonkers, NY | April 2, 8 p.m. ET
Two of the best team from the Big Apple are set to square off in a “Win & You’re In” match on April 2. Three-time US Open Cup champion New York Pancyprian Freedoms will make the short trip to Yonkers to take on the Lansdowne Bhoys in a rematch of last month’s USASA Region I Amateur Cup title game. The Bhoys prevailed, beating the Freedoms 2-1. This isn’t the first time these two teams have squared off in Open Cup qualifying as the Freedoms denied the Bhoys a second straight Eastern New York Open Cup title when they beat them in 2014 by the score of 1-0. (Note: The game ended up not being a qualifying game for the 2016 US Open Cup after the open division tournament was created and the format was changed)
The Freedoms lifted the trophy three times in the 1980s, winning it all in 1980, 1982, and 1983. They have qualified five times (once as a PDL team, once as a pro team, and three times as an amateur side) in the Modern Era, but haven’t qualified since the 2011 season. It was not an easy path to put themselves into position to qualify for the sixth time. They had to defeat four-time US Open Cup champion New York Greek American Atlas 4-2 in the opening round before eliminating the last New Jersey representative in Jersey Shore Boca, 2-1, on Nov. 14.
Founded in 1997, the Lansdowne Bhoys have quickly joined the elite teams in the fabled Cosmopolitan League in New York City that the Freedoms have enjoyed decades of success in. The Bhoys have yet to allow a goal in their first two games of the tournament, picking up a 3-0 win over Newtown Pride FC from Connecticut, followed by a 5-0 win over Worcester FC from Massachusetts.
Outbreak FC (Long Beach, CA) at La Maquina (Santa Ana, CA)
Lake Forest Sports Park & Recreation Center; Lake Forest, CA | April 2, 9 p.m. ET
This Southern California matchup features two teams that are representing two of the best amateur leagues in the area. Outbreak FC is the lone So Cal Premier League team left in the competition and they will travel to Lake Forest, Calif. to face the UPSL’s La Maquina. Both teams are seeking their first-ever US Open Cup berth.
Outbreak FC finished tied for second place in the SCPL last season and are now one win away from the big dance. After cruising past fellow So Cal Premier League team Buena Park FC 5-1 in Round 1, they had to win a thriller in extra time against the San Pedro Monsters, 4-3 to advance. They lost a 2-0 lead in the final 15 minutes, including a 90th minute equalizer, but Outbreak scored two goals in the second overtime period which helped them overcome a late goal by the Monsters.
La Maquina was good enough to qualify for the UPSL playoffs in league play, but they fell to eventual champion San Nicolas in the quarterfinals. They began their Open Cup qualifying journey with a 3-2 win over fellow UPSL side Strikers FC South Coast. La Maquina followed that up with a stunning 4-0 win over one of last year’s Open Cup cinderella stories, Chula Vista FC.
San Nicolas FC (Santa Ana, CA) at LA Wolves FC (Torrance, CA)
Toyota Sports Complex Field No. 1; Torrance, CA | April 2, 10:30 p.m. ET
This game will feature a rematch of the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) championship game where San Nicolas emerged a 2-0 winner over the Los Angeles Wolves. They defeated fellow Open Cup qualifying team La Maquina in the Quarterfinals of the UPSL playoffs.
San Nicolas advanced past Corinthians USA by way of forfeit after their opponents did not properly register enough players. The two teams showed up to play the game and decided that since they all came to play, they might as well play, so they did. The clubs played an exhibition match where San Nicolas was leading 2-0 before the lights went out at the field before 90 minutes were up, but the friendly proved to be costly as they lost their star forward, former Chivas USA player Maykel Galindo, to injury. Galindo missed their second round match on Nov. 22 because of that injury, but they didn’t need him as they defeated So Cal Premier League side Real Sociedad 3-0 to move on to the final round.
The LA Wolves opened the qualifying tournament with a 2-1 win over fellow UPSL side Del Rey City FC, but their Round 2 match is what earned them the most attention. The Wolves moved on to face Cal FC, the team known best for their 2012 US Open Cup upset of Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers, and denied them a return trip to the tournament with a 2-1 win. The Wolves got a pair of first half goals from Sam Higgins and after Cal FC pulled one back with 15 minutes left, LA held on for the win.
Boca Raton FC (Boca Raton, FL) vs. Aromas Cafe FC (Charlottesville, VA)
Charlottesville High School; Charlottesville, VA | April 3, 4 p.m. ET
Boca Raton FC are the defending champions of the Florida-based American Premier Soccer League and had to defeat a pair of fellow APSL teams to advance to the final round. After a 2-1 win over Real Miami CF on Oct. 25, they needed penalty kicks to get past Uruguay Kendall on Nov. 22. After a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes, the match was decided from the penalty spot and Boca Raton was victorious by a score of 5-4.
Aromas Cafe had a little more variety in their path to Round 3, but they were able to pick up a pair of 3-1 wins at home to advance. First, they hosted the Tartan Devils Oak Avalon from the Greater Pittsburgh Soccer League on Oct. 17, followed by another home win over three-time US Open Cup qualifying Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks FC, who are based in Maryland.
2016 US OPEN CUP QUALIFYING RESULTS/SCHEDULE
(click on games for match report)
OCT. 17, 2015
Southie FC (MA) 2:0 Battery Park Gunners (MA)
Salone FC (EAST PA) 1:0 Vereinigung Erzgebirge (EAST PA)
Aromas Café FC (DC/VA) 3:1 Tartan Devils Oak Avalon (WEST PA)
Junior Lone Star FC (EAST PA) 1:2 (AET) West Chester United (EAST PA)
Jersey Shore Boca (NJ) 2:1 South Jersey Elite Barons (NJ)
Lansdowne Bhoys FC (EAST NY) 3:0 Newtown Pride FC (CT)
OCT. 18, 2015
Global Premier Soccer Omens (MA) 5:0 Boston Olympiakos FC (MA)
Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks FC (MD) 2:1 (AET) Maryland Bays (MD)
NY Greek American SC (EAST NY) 2:4 (AET) NY Pancyprian Freedoms (EAST NY)
Worcester FC (MA) 2:1 Newport FC (RI)
OCT. 24, 2015
NTX Rayados (NORTH TX) vs. Austin Real Cuauhtemoc (SOUTH TX) – PPD (rain)
Match rescheduled for Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. at McMasters Athletic Complex (Georgetown, TX)
Harpo’s FC (CO) 4:1 (AET) Colorado Rovers (CO)
San Nicolas (SOUTH CA) W:L Corinthians USA (SOUTH CA)
(Corinthians forfeited – not enough registered players)
La Maquina(SOUTH CA) 3:2 Strikers FC South Coast (SOUTH CA)
San Pedro Monsters (SOUTH CA) 9:0 Footballers Academy (SOUTH CA)
LA Wolves (SOUTH CA) 2:1 (AET) Del Rey City SC (SOUTH CA)
OCT. 25, 2015
Boca Raton FC (FL) 2:1 (AET) Real Miami Club of Football (FL)
Colorado Rush (CO) 5:2 FC Boulder (CO)
San Francisco City FC (NORTH CA) 2:0 El Farolito (NORTH CA)
Outbreak FC (SOUTH CA) 5:1 Buena Park FC (SOUTH CA)
Queen City United FC (NC) 4:1 Charlotte Sporting Soccer Academy FC (NC)
Real Sociedad (SOUTH CA) 2:2 (4:1 PKs) Ozzy’s Laguna FC (SOUTH CA)
Uruguay Kendall (FL) 3:0 Red Force (FL)
Davis Legacy (NORTH CA) 1:0 IFX Ballistic (NORTH CA)
Cal FC (SOUTH CA) 4:0 Valley United (SOUTH CA)
Chula Vista FC (SOUTH CA) 5:2 Temecula FC (SOUTH CA)
NOV. 1, 2015
NTX Rayados (NORTH TX) 4:2 Austin Real Cuauhtemoc (SOUTH TX)
International Portland Select (OR) W:L KC Athletics (KS)
KC Athletics withdrew (travel); IPS advances to Round 2
CD Motagua (LA) W:L Tobacco Road FC (NC)
Tobacco Road FC withdrew (travel); CD Motagua advances to Round 2
International Portland Select (OR) at NTX Rayados (NTX)
IPS withdrew (travel); NTX Rayados advances to Round 3
NOV. 14, 2015
NY Pancyprian Freedoms (East NY) 2:1 Jersey Shore Boca (NJ)
Lansdowne Bhoys (ENY) 5:0 Worcester FC (MA)
NOV. 15, 2015
Aromas Café FC (DC/VA) 3:1 Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks FC (MD)
Southie FC (MA) 4:0 GPS Omens (MA)
West Chester United (EAST PA) 3:0 Salone FC (EAST PA)
NOV. 21, 2015
Queen City United (NC) 2:5 CD Motagua of New Orleans (LA)
La Maquina (SCA) 4:0 Chula Vista FC (SCA)
Cal FC (SCA) 1:2 LA Wolves FC (SCA)
NOV. 22, 2015
Boca Raton FC (FL) 1:1 (5:4 PKs) Uruguay Kendall (FL)
Colorado Rush (CO) 1:3 Harpo’s FC (CO)
Davis Legacy (NCA) 3:4 San Francisco City FC (NCA)
San Nicolas (SCA) 3:0 Real Sociedad (SCA)
Outbreak FC (SCA) 4:3 (AET) San Pedro Monsters FC (SCA)
FINAL ROUND (All Times Eastern)
April 2, 2016
Southie FC (MA) at West Chester United (EPA) – 6 p.m.
NY Pancyprian Freedoms (ENY) at Lansdowne Bhoys FC (ENY) – 8 p.m.
NTX Rayados (NTX) at CD Motagua of New Orleans (LA) – 8 p.m.
Outbreak FC (SCA) at La Maquina (SCA) – 9 p.m.
San Nicolas FC (SCA) at LA Wolves FC (SCA) – 10:30 p.m.
April 3, 2016
Boca Raton FC (FL) at Aromas Cafe FC (DC/VA) – 4 p.m.
US OPEN CUP FIRST ROUND
May 11, 2016*
*Date subject to change