It was a beautiful Sunday in Chula Vista, just outside San Diego, as the home side Chula Vista FC prepared to host La Maquina – a juggernaut in their own right from up the road in Los Angeles. The beauty of the day would soon prove to be prophetic for La Maquina, but agonizingly taunting for Chula Vista FC, as the former rolled through the latter with ease in the final 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup qualifying match, 4-1.
As the game kicked off, the crowd had trickled in and although there was only a small set of bleachers above a hill on the sideline, the atmosphere was lively for the Chula Vista faithful who expect a lot from their club that has qualified for the US Open Cup in two of the last three years.
Both clubs are known for their attacking flair and possession style of play, but it was clear from the beginning that La Maquina had manufactured the true threat, utilizing a high-pressure forward line that paid all the dividends.
Chula Vista wasted valuable energy chasing the game early as La Maquina owned much of the ball and it took less than 20 minutes for La Maquina to find their first goal. A misunderstanding between goalkeeper Sammy Quinones and defender Manuel Carrillo left Quinones out of position at the top of the box. As the pressure increased around Carrillo, he lost possession to former Chivas de Guadalajara forward Edwin Borboa who took full advantage and curved a shot from the corner of the box around the goalkeeper with his right foot. Borboa, who tied for the tournament lead with five goals in 2016 has been involved in a goal in nearly every qualifying and tournament game La Maquina has played in the last three years.
With that goal by Borboa, La Maquina never looked back.
In the 31st minute, La Maquina scored what would prove to be the winner by exploiting another defensive mistake by the CV back line, courtesy of Rosendo Castro.
Trailing 2-0 at the halftime, Chula Vista knew they were in trouble. After speaking with some players, it was clear that a drastic change would have to take place in the players’ mindsets to get back on track. As the second half began, it looked, for a moment, that they had accepted the mission as they opened the half at a full sprint, but La Maquina responded with cool heads and took advantage of the end to end confusion with an insurance goal, this time from the wing as a beautiful cross dropped right onto the head of Braulio Godinez.
All but out of reach for Chula Vista, the pushed on, finding a bit more breathing room as La Maquina fell back to close out the game. As they probed for a sniff of the goal, forward Alberto Diaz found himself on the receiving end of a slick give and go with one man to beat inside the box. As he took his touch, the defender brought him down with a hip check, and Chula Vista was awarded a lifeline. In the 59th minute, Francisco Ramirez slotted it home and wasted no time digging it out of the net, as Chula Vista suddenly seemed energized.
For the next ten minutes, Chula Vista streamed forward launching attacks straight down the middle of the pitch aiming to exploit a comfortable La Maquina back line. Ultimately, it wouldn’t be enough, as La Maquina took advantage of a quick break in the 72nd minute. As the ball was worked into the goal box, it was clear that Chula Vista had no fight left in them as Rosendo Castro walked his brace over the line. La Maquina continued to control the game and was awarded foul after foul around Chula Vista’s goal box for the remainder of the match, and just like they did in 2015, they eliminated Chula Vista in a Win & You’re In match.
La Maquina will attempt to outdo themselves in 2018’s US Open Cup that will feature no shortage of potential Cinerella stories. Chula Vista FC will not be granted any such opportunity, and with their elimination there will be zero San Diego representatives from amateur teams in next years competition, a massive disappointment to all in America’s Finest City.
For La Maquina, they continue their dominance over the qualifying tournament over the last three years. They have won all six of their qualifying matches and have outscored their opponents 22-3 and have never scored less than three goals in a game.