The Santa Ana Winds pose for a team photo before their 2018 US Open Cup qualifying match against Newcastle United. Photo: Santa Ana Winds
MORE: 2018 US Open Cup Qualifying Results/Schedule
Santa Ana Winds FC defeated fellow UPSL club Newcastle United (Upland, CA) by a score of 6-0 on Saturday, October 21 at the Lake Forest Sports Park, in Round 2 of 2018 US Open Cup qualifying tournament. The win was the club’s first second round win in club history, in its second Open Cup qualifying campaign.
Winds FC patiently weathered NUFC’s intensity in the first half and gradually settled in, taking control of the game by taking possession, and demonstrating their squad depth and conditioning for the full 90 minutes. NUFC in contrast, had only one sub on the bench and became fatigued, while Winds FC had four subs to work with.
NUFC looked like they would be rewarded for their efforts and intensity early on and were given a penalty kick in the 28th minute, but were denied by former Chico State goalkeeper Harter Quinn. The momentum switched to Winds FC shortly thereafter. Santa Ana created danger through gaps left in the NUFC midfield, attacked up the left wing and into the box, where a player was knocked down on an attempted assist. Midfielder Kyle O’Brien then converted the PK to put Winds FC up 1-0.
The second goal came on a corner kick and failed clearance near the end of the first half that Arellano Juan punched home. The third goal also came on a corner kick, in the 60th minute by Israel Espinoza. After Espinoza’s goal, the Winds ran away with the match, piling on another three goals by Gorman Jordan, Runager Kramer and Khalil Zaidon and winded (no pun intended) NUFC had no answer. The final score was 6-0.
After the match, team owner Leonel López attributed his team’s win to training sessions. Winds FC has a way of looking like a seasoned squad, comfortable on possession, able to weather their opponent’s opening onslaught well, which then allows them to control the pace of the match. Their chemistry is running smoothly as a result of continuity in lineups.
When asked about his team’s win, Winds coach José López was impressed and happy that his players executed the plan.
“Lots of collective effort, lots of weeks of training,” said coach Lopez. “We’re trying to organize them the best way possible for them to be able to solve games. I think it’s the good mentality of each player that’s allowing us to be patient and to have good cohesion.”
The Winds move on to the final round where they will host the San Pedro Monsters on Saturday, Nov. 18 at Lake Forest, Calif. with the winner qualifying for the US Open Cup for the first time.