The 106th edition of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is now officially underway with opening round qualifiers wrapping up this past weekend. Two more games were postponed, but of the 36 games that were completed, there was plenty of drama.
GPS Omens (Mass.) took Southie FC to overtime and won with just 10 men while NTX Rayados scored an equalizing goal in stoppage time and prevailed in a dramatic and controversial penalty kick shootout. Some previous champions are still in the hunt as well with the four time champion Ukrainian Nationals and three-time champion New York Pancyprian Freedoms both advanced. Christos FC, who advanced to the Fourth Round of the 2017 US Open Cup, also won their first qualifier.
Two matches were postponed due to heavy rain in Texas. San Antonio Runners and the Celtic Cowboys Premier had their game in Austin rained out, and Leon FC and the Bay Area Oilers FC were washed out in Houston. Make-up dates will be announced soon.
This will be the fourth year of the new qualifying format, and as always, TheCup.us is providing the best coverage of the US Open Cup. Check below for a short recap of each match.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 22
GPS Omens (MA) 2:1 (AET) Southie FC (MA)
For the third time, GPS Omens and Southie FC squared off in the US Open Cup qualifying tournament. In 2015, Southie FC knocked off GPS in a “Win & You’re In” match. Last year, the two Bay State Soccer League teams met and GPS got their revenge with a 4-0 win. On Saturday, due to some scheduling challenges, GPS played the entire match with 10 men. Despite playing shorthanded, both teams traded first half goals and they remained deadlocked into the second extra time period. The match seemed to be headed to penalty kicks, but Danny Goldman scored what would prove to be the game-winner.
Kendall Wanderers (MA) 2:2 (9:8 PK) Boston Siege (MA)
A pair of Bay State Soccer League rivals met in the 2019 US Open Cup qualifying tournament for the second year in a row and it took a little more than 90 minutes for the match to come alive. The game was scoreless heading into extra time when Chris Reid of the Kendall Wanderers bent a corner kick directly into the back of the net to break the deadlock. The Wanderers, who are attempting to qualify for the US Open Cup for the second year in a row after making their debut earlier this year, seemed to be in control after they doubled their lead shortly after. But Boston would score a pair of late goals and equalize with roughly seven minutes to play. What would follow would be the longest penalty kick shootout of the tournament format’s brief four-year history. The Wanderers would emerge victorious 9-8 to advance. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
Tigres FC (DC/VA) 1:3 Cville Alliance FC Reserves (DC/VA)
The Cville (Charlottesville, Va.) Alliance FC Reserves jumped out to an early lead and never let go in a 3-1 win over Tigres FC. Bryce Thomas headed home an Ivan Arapovic in the 29th minute as the lone goal in the first half between the two Soccer Organization of the Charlottesville Area clubs. Alan Koger added another goal off a header from an Evan Nestrack corner kick in the 60th minute. Luke Oostdyk put the game away in the 86th minute but Tigres then ruined the shutout shortly after. The Alliance is a club previously known as Aromas Cafe FC that qualified for the 2016 US Open Cup. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
Safira FC (MA) 3:1 Mass United FC (MA)
Last year, Safira FC and Mass United FC met in the Second Round of this same US Open Cup qualifying tournament. Mass United won 2-0. This year, things are different. Both teams joined the UPSL and Safira avenged that loss with a 3-1 home win. Pablo Guimaraes scored a goal in each half and Hugo Bomfim added another as Safira moved on to Round 2 for the second year in a row.
Izee Auto FC (MD) 2:4 World Class Premier Elite FC (MD)
Former Christos FC and Rochester Rhinos player Levi Houapeau was the star as World Class Premier Elite FC earned a 4-2 win over Izee Auto FC in an all-Maryland matchup in the opening round. Houapeau scored a pair of goals to give the Elite the club’s first-ever US Open Cup qualifying win and put them into the Round 2. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
Jackson Lions FC (NJ) 1:0 (AET) Newtown Pride FC (CT)
A penalty kick in extra time was the only difference between Jackson Lions FC and Newton Pride FC in the opening round of the 2019 US Open Cup. Lions keeper Charlie Cunliffe had a big night in goal for the hosts to shut out visiting Newtown, and Ryan Bailey drew the penalty kick and converted to make the difference for Jackson, who are the only New Jersey squad in the 2019 edition of the US Open Cup qualifying tournament. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
Lansdowne Yonkers FC (NY) 0:4 NY Pancyprian Freedoms (NY)
It was a familiar matchup as Cosmopolitan Soccer League foes Lansdowne Yonkers FC (formerly Lansdowne Bhoys FC) and the New York Pancyprian Freedoms met for a 2019 US Open Cup qualifying matchup. The Pancyprian Freedoms scored one goal in the first half to take a 1-0 lead at the break, then added three in the second half to claim a 4-0 victory for the Freedoms. Adam Himeno was involved in three of the four goals (2 goals, 1 assist) as the three-time US Open Cup champions are attempting to qualify for the tournament for the first time since 2016.
Motagua of New Orleans (LA) 5:2 (AET) Port City FC (MS)
A back and forth affair saw Motagua of New Orleans defeat Port City FC 5-2 in extra time. Playing on its home turf, Motagua took the lead in the 10th minute. An own goal put Port City in front 2-1 before halftime but Brandon Chagnard converted a penalty kick in the 78th minute and the match went into extra time. New Orleans took the game over in extra time with Nestor Peralta and Samir Arzu adding goals in the 96th and 118th minutes to claim the three-goal victory. Motagua qualified in 2016 and fell one game short of the tournament in 2017 and 2018. Now they advance to Round 2 for the fourth year in a row.
ASC American SC (FL) 1:0 Orlando FC Wolves (FL)
A scrappy and tense match saw the UPSL Florida Conference playoff champions ASC America SC dominate most of the match while Orlando FC Wolves fought every minute to keep it level. Despite maintaining their dominance throughout the match, poor finishing kept America scoreless until the 105th minute. The game’s lone goal came after a series of poor defensive clearances from the fatigued and battered Wolves players. America SC capitalized with an interception and a quick lobbed ball over the left side of defense which left Alexandre Teixeira with ample space in front of him. Going one-on-one with the keeper, he beat him to the near side. The second half of extra time concluded with America holding out defensively and keeping their opponents on edge with several counter-attacks to seal the one goal victory in the club’s Open Cup qualifying debut..
Miami Sun FC (FL) 1:2 Florida Soccer Soldiers (FL)
The Florida Soccer Soldiers made the most of their Open Cup qualifying debut with a 2-1 win over Miami Sun FC. The Soccer Soldiers, who won the UPSL Florida Conference regular season championship in their first year with the league, defeated their fellow South Florida UPSL rivals, who are also relatively new to the UPSL (founded in 2016).
Dallas Elite FC (TX) 4:4 (3:4 PK) NTX Rayados (TX)
Earlier this year, NTX Rayados had the breakthrough that they had been seeking in what was their 7th consecutive US Open Cup appearance. They upset their first pro team and won $25,000 in prize money as they advanced to the Fourth Round where they fell to the Houston Dynamo. They accomplished that with a number of dramatic moments.
In their opening 2019 US Open Cup qualifying game, they kept the drama rolling with a penalty kick win over newcomers Dallas Elite FC. North Texas jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Dallas fought back to tie the game and send it into extra time. Dallas kept the momentum in extra time and took the lead twice, only to lose the lead both times. The final equalizer from NTX came in stoppage time to force penalty kicks. In the PK shootout, the Rayados scored what would have been the winning goal, but the referees disallowed the goal because it appeared as though the ball didn’t go in because the net either had a hole in it or the shot broke a hole in it. Despite the missed opportunity, North Texas prevailed, 4-3 in a shootout that saw the Rayados miss three attempts and Dallas miss on four over eight rounds. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
CaliGators FC (CA) 2:6 California United FC II (CA)
In a game between a pair of qualifying first-timers, California United FC II and CaliGators exchanged goals in the opening 22 minutes. Cal United then rolled off five unanswered goals to end the first half. They never looked back and cruised to a 6-2 victory. Gustavo Villalobos led the way by finishing off a hat trick in just 44 minutes for California United FC II of the UPSL.
Academica SC (CA) 4:1 Davis Legacy (CA)
It took just five minutes for hosts Academica SC to put one past Davis Legacy on Saturday with Adrian Plascencia scoring off a Gera Cazares pass for the only goal of the first half. But the Legacy would fight back, scoring five minutes after the break through Joe Skvarna. In the 64th minute, David Esparza scored the eventual game-winner, before a late brace from Ramiro Ceja sealed the match and allowed Academica to reach the second round of qualifying for the second year in a row.
Oakland Leopards (CA) 0:1 Oakland Stompers (CA)
A late goal from PJ Garcia was all that was needed for the Oakland Stompers to get past the Oakland Leopards and move on to the second round of qualifying. Former Sacramento Republic (USL) star Dominik Jakubek recorded the clean sheet and took man-of-the-match honors.
San Ramon Dynamos FC (CA) 0:7 JASA RWC (CA)
The Redwood City-based JASA RWC had no trouble in their Open Cup qualifying debut, dominating the San Ramon Dynamos, 7-0. Alejandro Escobedo earned the clean sheet in goal for JASA and they received goals from Emanuel Vazquez (2), Ugo Uche (2), Ryan Masch, Alexander Herra, and James Huffer.
Los Angeles Wolves FC (CA) 0:4 Santa Ana Winds FC (CA)
Santa Ana Winds FC put forth a dominant effort against Los Angeles Wolves FC with a 4-0 triumph in a US Open Cup edition of the Sunset Derby. The UPSL side was led on the day by Jordan Gorman, who had a hand in all four goals that were scored. Gorman notched a hat trick and then assisted on a goal by Mark Cruz to lead the Winds to victory. For the Winds, they take one step closer to qualifying for the second year in a row. While the Wolves, who have qualified for the US Open Cup in each of the last three years, will fail to make it four in a row.
Cal FC (CA) 3:1 San Nicolas (CA) –
Cal FC began its return journey to the Open Cup glory with a 3-1 victory over fellow UPSL side San Nicolas FC at Calabasas High School. Head coach Keith Costigan tweeted after the match. “Really proud of the group. Good performance against a very good team.”
Cal FC, who recently returned to the UPSL after a two-year hiatus, now move on to the second round of qualifying, taking another step toward qualifying for the tournament that helped them make a name for themselves. In 2012, Cal FC stunned the Portland Timbers to become the first open division local club to oust a Major League Soccer team without penalty kicks. They have not qualified for the tournament since 2015.
However, after the match was over, San Nicolas filed a protest, claiming that Cal FC is ineligible because they did not participate in a league last season. Cal FC provided an explanation to TheCup.us and you can read all the details HERE. The USSF eventually denied the protest.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 23
Deportivo Lake Mary (FL) 1:2 Sporting Orlando SC (FL)
A pair of qualifying first-timers from the Orlando area squared off with Sporting Orlando earning a 2-1 win over Deportivo Lake Mary. Luca Lantin opened the scoring in the first half only to see Lake Mary equalize early in the second half. Vinicius Oliveira then played the hero, scoring what would prove to be the game-winner midway through the second half to give Sporting their first-ever qualifying win.
Ukrainian Nationals (PA) 2:0 United German Hungarians (PA)
The four-time US Open Cup champion Ukrainian Nationals dominated American soccer in the 1960s, but they haven’t attempted to the qualify for the competition since 2015. They haven’t successfully qualified for the Open Cup in a couple of decades. But the Nats took the first step to breaking that streak with a 2-0 win over the United German Hungarians (UGH), another club with a rich history from the Philadelphia area (UGH was founded in 1910 and started playing soccer in 1922). Jordie Griffith scored both goals on what was a wet and rainy afternoon in North Wales, Pa.
Vereinigung Erzebirge (PA) 0:1 West Chester United (PA)
A pair of Philadelphia-area teams from the United Soccer League of Pennsylvania faced off in Warminster, Pa. as West Chester United edged Vereinigung Erzebirge 1-0. Matt Greer’s goal in the 57th minute was the difference as West Chester United advances. The Predators are trying to qualify for the first time since 2016 when they made their tournament debut. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
Steel Pulse FC (MD) 1:2 Aegean Hawks FC (MD)
Aegean Hawks FC claimed a 2-1 victory over Steel Pulse FC on Sunday afternoon at Troy Park in Elkridge, Maryland – the match was one of two US Open Cup matches happening simultaneously at the park, as Christos FC and Rockville SC also faced off. In the match-up between Aegean Hawks FC and Steel Pulse FC, a 6th minute goal from Austin Stewart gave Aegean Hawks FC an early lead. While this score remained through halftime, Aegean Hawks FC added a second goal in the 66th minute to extend their advantage. Steel Pulse FC quickly responded with a goal through Sam Mensah in the 70th minute, but could not find the equalizer as the Hawks held on for the 2-1 win. The Hawks, who have qualified for the US Open Cup three times (2007, 2009, 2012), are trying to get back to the tournament for the first time since 2012.
Christos FC (MD) 4:1 Rockville SC (MD)
Christos FC made a name for themselves in 2016 when they won three games in the 2016 US Open Cup and earned a date with D.C. United of Major League Soccer. While they fell to United that day, they represented what makes the US Open Cup special where even an amateur team sponsored by a liquor store from Baltimore can face off with a team from MLS in a meaningful, knockout competition.
However, they were unable to rekindle that fire last year when they qualified again, but lost in penalty kicks in the opening round to Reading United AC of the PDL. Christos took the first step toward getting to the tournament for the third year in a row with a 4-1 win over fellow Maryland Major Soccer League side Rockville SC. All four goals were scored by former Maryland-Baltimore County standout Pete Caringi III. Caringi played a major role in the team’s 2016 Cup run where he became just the second Open Division local player to score a hat trick in the Modern Era and was named TheCup.us Player of the Round in a First Round win over Fredericksburg FC (NPSL).
Soda City FC Sorinex (SC) 5:1 FC Cardinals (NC)
Soda City FC dominated from start to finish in its 5-1 win over FC Cardinals on Sunday afternoon. Both teams were making their US Open Cup qualifying debut as the hosts opened the scoring in the 9th minute when Hunter Haynes headed in a long throw-in to give Soda City the early lead. In the 30th minute, Homero Jacobo added a second on a cross from Dean Smith. Just before halftime, Smith added a goal of his own to give Soda City a 3-0 lead. In the second half, Smith tallied his second goal of the match in the 51st minute while substitute Mitchell Roberts netted a fifth for the home side in the 83rd minute. FC Cardinals scored their only goal of the match in the 89th minute to round out the scoring as Soda City FC claimed the 5-1 win.
Ann Arbor FC (MI) 3:4 (AET) Livonia City FC (MI)
A high-energy first-half saw five goals between Ann Arbor FC and Livonia City FC, with the goals coming in bunches. Livonia City jumped out to a two goal lead with McKenzie Bechard and Billy Werthman scoring in the 20th and 25th minutes, respectively. Ann Arbor FC responded with three straight goals to close the half, the first from Casey Bantle in the 36th minute and a brace from Drew Ducker, who netted goals in the 38th and 41st minutes. In the second half, Livonia City FC brought the game back level with a goal from Pat Smith in the 52nd minute, and the score remained 3-3 until extra time. A second yellow card to an Ann Arbor FC defender saw the side reduced to 10 men in the 105th minute, which Livonia City FC took advantage of in the second extra time period as Craig Beebe found the winner in the 116th minute to see LCFC advance to the next round as the last remaining Michigan club in the tournament.
Colorado Rovers (CO) 1:0 Club El Azul (CO)
The Colorado Rovers snapped a three-game losing streak in the US Open Cup qualifying tournament with a 1-0 win over fellow Colorado side Club El Azul. The Rovers did this despite receiving two red cards (and another member of the team’s bench was sent off as well). The Rovers’ win was their first since this qualifying tournament format was launched in 2015. The team had previously qualified for the 2013 and the 2014 tournament out of the USSSA’s qualifying tournament.
Gam United FC (CO) 2:1 Northern Colorado FC (CO)
Gam United scored a pair of goals in the opening 18 minutes, which was fortune for them because Karrar Fouad was shown a second yellow card in the 34th minute. Gam United had to hold on for the remainder of the match with 10 men. Isaac Martinez scored a PK for Northern Colorado in the 58th minute but United was able to hold on to earn the club’s first-ever qualifying win. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
Boston City FC II (MA) 1:0 Juve-Pro Soccer (MA)
It was a tense and competitive battle between the two Massachusetts-based clubs. By the time halftime hit, both teams had already received a red card and were playing with ten men. Boston City would break through in the 52nd minute when Jhonata Batista scored on an assist from Marcelo Cunha. City was able to hold on to that lead even after Jadson Leite received a red card in the 79th minute. It was Boston’s first-ever Open Cup qualifying win.
Buena Park FC (CA) 4:0 Valley United SC (CA)
Buena Park broke the game open in the second half, earning a 4-0 win over Valley United SC. Park captain Nate Da Rosa opened the scoring with a first half penalty kick, and then a second on the other side of halftime. Da Rosa assisted on Eric Young’s goal in the second half and Josh Sonico added another to put the game away. Buena Park is attempting to qualify for the US Open Cup for the first time. Last year, they fell one win short of punching their ticket, losing to the Los Angeles Wolves FC in the final round.
DC Cheddar (DC/VA) 1:3 Super Delegates FC (MD)
DC Cheddar, a name derived from an “inside joke” between the founders of the club and the Super Delegates FC squared off as a meeting of two first-time entries. The Super Delegates from the Maryland Major Soccer League rebounded after giving up what is likely the fastest goal of the round in the 3rd minute. Adrian Johnson would lead the way with a pair of goals, while Cedric Tchoumkeu adding another. Marie Bell dished out assists on two of the three goals for the Delegates.
Colorado Rush (CO) 1:2 (AET) Harpo’s FC (CO)
These two teams were neck-and-neck the entire game, but Trevor Anmann wound up being the hero for Harpo’s FC. His goal in extra time gave his side a 2-1 win and allows them to keep their cup bid alive as they seek to return for the first time since 2016. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
Centro America FC (DC/VA) 1:2 Virginia United (DC/VA)
For the first time in tournament history, teams from the Asociacion Nacional Fútbol en USA entered the competition and, as luck would have it, they would both meet each other in Round 1. Virginia United would earn a victory in the rain by the score of 2-1. Virginia United scored a goal on either side of halftime by Luis Aguilar and Ricky Burke and Centro America would pull to within one on a goal from Mauricio Benavides in the 72nd minute but were unable to find an equalizer in the final 18 minutes of the match.
Real Sociedad Royals (CA) 4:0 Quickening (CA)
Real Sociedad earned the club’s first regulation win in a qualifying game with a 4-0 win over Quickening on Sunday. The Royals have entered the tournament every year since it launched in 2015, but after a PK win in their debut that year, they have lost three straight games to some significant powers (San Nicolas in 2016, LA Wolves in 2017 and 2018). They snapped that losing streak with goals from Jesse Aguirre, Randy Poggio, Santiago Busatto, and Cesar Arceo.
Indios Denver FC (CO) 0:1 FC Denver (CO)
In a rematch of last year’s “Win & You’re In” match that went to extra time, FC Denver won for the second year in a row, eliminating Indios Denver FC, 1-0. The difference was a late goal by Alex Bernhardt Denver won 1-0 in extra time.
Red Force FC (FL) 2:1 FC Kendall (FL)
It was the third time that these two South Florida powers had met in US Open Cup qualifying. FC Kendall won in 2015, while Red Force won in 2016 to clinch a spot in the 2017 US Open Cup. It was Red Force who came out in the third meeting. Following a scoreless first half, Stiven Salinas chipped the keeper on a counter attack to give Red Force FC a 1-0 lead. FC Kendall found an equalizer less than 10 minutes from full time, but Marcelo Palucci’s goal in the final moments gave Red Force the 2-1 victory. Red Force advances in their
quest to qualify for the US Open Cup for the fifth time in the last seven years.
Unfortunately, a few days after the match, a media report surfaced that claimed FC Kendall is folding.
Lionside FC (CA) 2:0 SC Trojans FC (CA)
Lionside FC defeated SC Trojans FC, the lone college-based team (USC) in the competition, to earn their first-ever US Open Cup qualifying win. Kevin Geddes scored a goal in each half (37th min., 85th min.) to send the UPSL side into Round 2. In the 37th minute, Matt Dagilis played a ball over the top to Geddes, who volleyed it past the keeper to open the scoring. It remained at 1-0 until the 85th minute when Carlos Valle broke free into the penalty area and had his shot blocked, but the ball fell to Geddes who put the ball into the back of the net to ice the game.
Outbreak FC (CA) 2:1 LA South Bay Monsters FC (CA)
LA South Bay Monsters took the lead early on a penalty kick, but a handball in the box would give Outbreak a chance to match them from the spot. Steve Bagheri would score to tie the game in the 33rd minute. Then, about 15 minutes into the second half, a hard-hit cross from Cory Wolfrom found Torey Edwards who scored on a diving header to put Outbreak in front, 2-1. Outbreak were able to survive the pressure from the Monsters the remainder of the second half as they move on to Round 2. Outbreak qualified for the US Open Cup in 2016 and 2017, but fell short in 2018 and are looking to bounce back.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 29
San Antonio Runners (TX) vs. Celtic Cowboys Premier (TX)
After heavy rain postponed the original game on Sept. 22, the Celtic Cowboys Premier and the San Antonio Runners got together a week later in Austin. After San Antonio jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first half, the host Celtic Cowboys scored three second half goals to advance to the next round. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
SUNDAY, OCT. 7
Leon FC (TX) 2:0 Bay Area Oilers FC (TX)
In a game that was postponed twice due to heavy rains, the Dallas-based Leon FC traveled down to Houston and scored two goals in the final 10 minutes (80th min. and 88th min.) to defeat the hometown Bay Area Oilers FC. Leon FC, who are making their qualifying debut, will likely advance to play fellow Dallas club NTX Rayados in the next round. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT