Having lost in the first round to the Ventura County Fusion in their only other appearance in the competition, Aguiluchos downed fellow Bay Area side San Francisco City FC 3-0 at Beach Chalet No. 4 in San Francisco.
Simon Rawsley scored just after the half and Miguel Santiago and Matheus Freire each added goals in the dying moments of the game to move on to the second round of the tournament, where they will head northeast to take on Sacramento Republic FC at Bonney Field.
After qualifying as the 3rd place team in the NPSL’s Golden Gate Conference in 2015, Aguiluchos didn’t perform like a first-time entry. They were able to mitigate any danger from its foe, who included in their lineup former Sacramento Republic FC forward Adnan Gabeljic.
However, Aguiluchos featured experience of their own in Afghanistan international Ahmad Hatifie, who was instrumental in running the show for the visitors on the night along with Santiago.
After Santiago set up Rawsley’s 62nd minute goal, the clever attacker scored a highlight-reel goal of his own, curling home a free kick three minutes before time.
Matheus then ended any hopes of a comeback in stoppage time by chipping the goalkeeper to end the scoring in a wide-open second half.
With the loss, SF City FC dropped to 0-2 in its Open Cup history, having lost to Cal FC in the Preliminary Round in 2015.