After scoring a brace in the USL PDL opener against the Burlingame Dragons, Jose ‘Chiva’ Cuevas delivered another two-goal night against La Maquina FC in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Wednesday. The Fuego pervailed with a 4-1 victory, denying La Maquina a chance to recreate the magic of last year’s run to the Fourth Round.
After back-and-forth chances for both clubs, Cuevas opened the scoring in the 19th minute with a right-footed curler to put the Fuego up 1-0.
“I think that was a big time goal, because La Maquina were good,” Cuevas said. “They pressed us, while we were still trying to find our rhythm. After we got that goal, it calmed us down and allowed us to find our rhythm.”
La Maquina had a chance in the 34th minute to equalize on a free kick, just outside the box. However, it was blocked and the visitors could not regain possession.
Fuego goalkeeper Agustin Rey denied the UPSL side with back-to-back saves in the 52nd minute to keep the game at 1-0.
However, the visitors would strike 13 minutes later as Jose Montes de Oca buried Edwin Borboa’s pass to level the game at 1-1
Cuevas put the Fuego back in the lead at 2-1 with his second of the night.
“Sometimes you go through those phases where you’re hot and it’s just soccer,” Cuevas said. “I just want to keep scoring for the city, for the club, and for my family.”
Three minutes later, substitute Joey Chica’s touch toward goal, hit the post, and trickled into goal for a 3-1 Fuego lead.
“All I knew was I needed get a goal to calm things down for my team and that was a great ball by Eti,” Chica said. “I thought I missed it to be honest.”
After servicing Chica on the assist, Eti Tavares got a goal of his own in stoppage time, to put the game away at 4-1.
Head coach Brian Zwaschka felt that getting the victory was not only great for his team, but for the community as well.
“It’s massive. La Maquina is such a great team, who had an amazing run last year. Anything can happen in the Open Cup, and with a win, you play bigger and bigger teams. For us to be able to do that and get the win means a lot for the community.”
With the win, the Fuego will host USL side Phoenix Rising FC on Wednesday, May 17 at the Fresno State Soccer Field. The USL side features star players such as Omar Bravo, Shawn Wright-Phillips, and the biggest new signing, Didier Drogba.
Cuevas is excited to play the trio, but he is even more ecstatic to take on some familiar faces.
“I’m very excited, because that’s my old club,” Cuevas said. “I’ll definitely play with a little itch on my back, nothing against them, but it’s always good to play against your old club.”