San Francisco City picked up a first-ever win in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup with an impressive 4-0 thumping of the home side, CD Aguiluchos USA, the NPSL club based out of Oakland, Calif. While City deserved the victory in the end, the 4-0 score is a bit misleading as the Aguiluchos controlled long portions of the match and were never truly out of the match until the final 10 minutes.
“The Aguiluchos are a solid team, some really experienced players,” said SF City head coach Paddy Coyne. “And to come here and get a 4-0 result, I’m pretty happy.”
The Aguiluchos had some of the best chances early on in the match, including a few chances to star striker, Simon Rawnsley, who saw a left footed effort sail just over the bar in the 21st minute as well as two headed chances that just went over the bar in the 40th and 42nd minute.
The two best chances came for the Aguiluchos in back-to-back minutes when first Victor Ramirez hit the cross bar in the 31st minute, and then Jose Cabeza fired a volley right to the keeper a minute later.
City then went on to turn the game on its head late in the first half when Bengy Ruiz, the Aguiluchos defender, took down Sean Bowman in the box. This led to a penalty kick in the 44th minute. Aaron Lombardi stepped up for SF City only to see his shot saved. However, none of the Aguiluchos defenders followed up to help their keeper, and Lombardi buried the rebound to give SF City the 1-0 lead.
“I think the pressure we were building created that penalty, and Aaron has finished it off the rebound,” said Coyne about the opening goal.
Then just a minute later, former Phoenix Rising striker Matt Hurlow added a second goal for City with a brilliant left-footed volley from the top of the box.
“Next thing you know, we get another bouncing ball from Matt Hurlow, [he] pulls a left foot on it, and it’s a goal,” said Coyne about his surprise of the second goal. “It’s always nice going into half time with a two nil buffer.”
The Aguiluchos went on to use up all three subs early in the second half as they searched for a way back into the match. They continued to create half chances much like in the first half before they went down two goals. Ross Middlemiss and Octavio Guzman started to give the SF City defense some problems, but it was never enough to cause any serious threats.
As the Aguiluchos pushed for a goal, they left themselves exposed at the back, including twice conceding goals that just barely got called back for offsides. Then, in the 80th minute, City eventually found a third goal to seal the match as Jordan Hughes chipped the keeper much to the delight of the traveling City supporters.
“We changed our formation in the second half. It really helped us out on the wings,” said Coyne about the team’s second half performance. “We made three subs and all of them came in and made a great impact.”
The final goal of the match was probably the best of the night and it came from one of those subs, Armand Bagramyan, who curled in a perfect free kick from the edge of the box to make the score 4-0 just before the ref blew the full time whistle.
SF City will travel south for a PDL double header this weekend before traveling north to play Sacramento Republic in the Second Round of the US Open Cup. This schedule will test the depth in the SF City squad early in the season.
Coach Coyne didn’t seem too concerned, saying confidently about his team: “We are deep. We have 35 on our roster, so we can call up lads to play any role in any system and they should be doing as well as the man who played the week before.”