California United II pose for a team photo prior to their 2019 US Open Cup qualifying match against Chula Vista FC. Photo: California United FC
California United FC II, locally dubbed “Cal United” or Cal United II, defeated Chula Vista FC, 2-0, on Oct. 21 in the second qualifying round for the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif.
It was a rematch, of sorts, of the 2017 US Open Cup Second Round match, pitting the Los Angeles Wolves against Chula Vista. Paolo Cardozo had the game’s only goal in that 2017 match, and he opened the scoreline in this qualifier in the 32nd minute for Cal United.
Sunday’s Chula Vista FC team was a shadow of the team that qualified to the Open Cup in 2017, or knocked off a pro team (Arizona United) in 2015. They started the game by, uncharacteristically, opting to play long, aerial vertical lobs in what appeared like attempts to surprise and beat the Cal United defensive line. Each attempt resulted in United taking possession and gradually erasing Chula Vista from the match. CVFC struggled to string together passes, again opting for quickness and making crucial mistakes with the few chances they had in the opponent’s box.
Cal United’s Gustavo Villalobos broke away from defenders in the 72nd minute, after a scrappy play in the midfield that resulted in the assisted pass, charging the net and blasting a left-footed shot to put things at 2-0. Minutes later, CUFC II was awarded a penalty kick that Paolo Cardozo sent sailing over the cross bar, on a left-footed shot.
CUFC II cut down Chula Vista’s chances at generating offense, at times having to resort to deliberate fouls resulting in yellow cards, particularly in the 58th and 59th minutes. The first card, to Bryan De la Fuente, was given for clipping a CVFC player, with no ball in play, prompting observers to scream for a red card. On the second foul, a CVFC player beat the last defender on a lobbed pass, prompting the defender to drop his body on the attacker’s leg to stop the play and narrowly escaped getting sent off.
With the win, Cal United FC II will continue their quest to qualify for the US Open Cup for the first time. Their next step will be when they travel to Calabasas, Calif. to take on Cal FC in the third round of the qualifying tournament on Nov. 18.