The field at Northfield High School in Denver was icy and not able to host the 2019 US Open Cup qualifying match between Gam United and FC Denver. Photo: Peter Andrews
UPDATED (12/2/18): FC Denver defeated Gam United FC 4-1 in their match that was postponed.
UPDATED (1/6/19): Academica SC edged the Oakland Stompers 1-0 in their postponed qualifier
UPDATED (1/13/19): NTX Rayados win dramtic PK shootout with rival Motagua of New Orleans
When the schedule was set for the Third Round of the Open Division Local Qualifying tournament for the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, there were 14 games on tap for the weekend of Nov. 17-18. However, due to a variety of issues, only 10 of them were completed.
Of those 10 winners that advanced to Round 4, only two of them (West Chester United, Santa Ana Winds) were teams that have qualified for the US Open Cup in the past. With that, the Fourth Round, if it takes place, will feature a lot of new faces.
California United FC 2 and Cal FC were tied at 2-2 and approaching the 90th minute when the lights went out at Rolland Stadium in Thousand Oaks, Calif. A city curfew ordinance forced the game to be suspended and will be finished at a later date.
The remaining three postponed games didn’t even get started. Gam United and FC Denver were faced with a playing field that was frozen, NTX Rayados and Motagua of New Orleans postponed their match to give North Texas more time to arrange travel to New Orleans. Finally, Academica SC and the Oakland Stompers were unable to play because of poor air quality in Oakland, Calif. due to the wildfires in Northern California.
A few notable teams were eliminated in the Third Round: Three-time US Open Cup champion New York Pancyprian Freedoms, 2017 US Open Cup darlings Christos FC (Md.), and GPS Omens (Mass.) were denied a shot at a fifth Open Cup berth in the last seven years.
It is unclear, as of now, whether a Fourth Round, which is tentatively scheduled for March of 2019, will take place. Every professional team in the United States is automatically entered into the US Open Cup, and with the addition of an entirely new professional league with USL League One (Div. 3), and a number of expansion teams in the USL Championship (Div. 2), the format of next year’s tournament has yet to be finalized. Without a finalized format, it’s unclear how many Open Division teams (National Premier Soccer League, USL League Two — formerly Premier Development League — , and all of the Open Division Local teams) will be granted entry into the competition.
The deadline for professional teams to register for the 2019 US Open Cup is Dec. 31. The United States Soccer Federation is expected to make an announcement about the format after the New Year.
2019 US Open Cup qualifying schedule/results
2019 US Open Cup Round 1 game-by-game review
2019 US Open Cup Round 2 game-by-game review
Safira FC (USASA – UPSL – Sommerville, MA)
2:2 (7:6 PK)
GPS Omens (USASA – Bay State Soccer League, Boston, MA)
A pair of Massachusetts powers went head-to-head in a match that had to be decided by penalty kicks. UPSL side Safira FC scored a dramatic equalizer through Matthew Vidal in second half stoppage time to send the game into extra time. After a scoreless 30 minutes, Safira would prevail in the PK shootout, 7-6. Safira moves one step closer to qualifying for the US Open Cup for the first time, while GPS Omens are denied a shot of qualifying for the fifth time in the last seven years. Harris Smriko assisted on both of Stefan Defregger’s goals for GPS, while Luiz Bellettini equalized for Safira in the first half. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
West Chester United Predators (USASA – United Soccer League of Pennsylvania – West Chester, PA)
New York Pancyprian Freedoms (USASA – Cosmopolitan Soccer League – Jamaica, NY)
West Chester United pose for a team photo before their 2019 US Open Cup qualifying match against New York Pancyprian Freedoms. Photo: West Chester United
On a cold night in Jamaica, New York, the West Chester United Predators eliminated the three-time US Open Cup champion New York Pancyprian Freedoms, 3-0. The Predators are seeking to return to the US Open Cup for the first time since they made their tournament debut in 2016. Similar to its victory in the previous round against the four-time tournament champion Ukrainian Nationals, West Chester downed the Freedoms by keeping ball possession constantly and not letting up pressure early on. By the time the Predators’ Will Greer punched in the opening goal in the 38th minute, his team had already put on good chances and taken advantage of clumsy fouls. Following Chad Poarch’s shot from the top of the box deflected into the net just before half, the New York side never truly got back into the match. The second half saw another goal for the visitors while the Freedom’s chances were smothered before they could develop. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
World Class Premier Elite FC (USASA – Maryland Major Soccer League – Boyds, MD)
Rochester Lancers 2 (USASA – Rochester District Soccer League – Spencerport, NY)
World Class Premier traveled from Maryland to Rochester, NY and came away with a 3-1 road win to advance to Round 4 of the qualifying tournament. Elton Joe and Daniel Anikrah gave the well-traveled visitors a 2-0 halftime lead, but the Lancers (formerly the Rochester River Dogz) made it a one-goal game in the 80th minute with a goal from Anthony Rozzano. World Class would put the game away with a late goal as the Maryland Majors club moved closer to its first trip to the US Open Cup. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
Christos FC (USASA – Maryland Major Soccer League – Elkridge, MD)
Virginia United (ANFUSA – Woodbridge Soccer League – Woodbridge, VA)
It was a battle between Christos FC, a team that made a name for itself with a dramatic run in the 2017 US Open Cup, and first-time entry Virginia United. Now, United has a chance to make their own name in the competition. United, the last remaining club from the Asociacion Nacional Fútbol en USA, upset Christos 2-1 to deny the Maryland-based club a shot at qualifying for a third year in a row. Mauricio Martinez scored both goals for Virginia.
Soda City FC Sorinex (USASA – Central League – Lexington, SC)
ASC America SC (USASA – United Premier Soccer League – Jacksonville, FL)
The scene after America SC’s 2-1 win over Soda City FC Sorinex in the 2019 US Open Cup qualifying tournament. Photo: Joshua Taylor
After falling behind early at home, ASC America SC scored two unanswered goals to advance past the visiting Soda City FC Sorinex, 2-1. Soda City, the lone team from South Carolina in the tournament, got on the board early when captain Driss Bareket scored off a corner kick in the 12th minute. ASC America would equalize in the 25th minute on a Pedro Toblas penalty kick, and William Eing’s goal just before halftime would prove to be the game-winner. ASC America advanced to Round 4 as they are seeking their first-ever US Open Cup berth. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
Florida Soccer Soldiers (USASA – United Premier Soccer League – Hialeah, FL)
Hurricane FC (USASA – United Premier Soccer League – Delray Beach, FL)
The Florida Soccer Soldiers faced off against Hurricane FC in Delray Beach, Fla. and it was a total landslide. Forward for Soccer Soldiers, Valentin Sabella scored two goals, as well as gathering two assists to his name. His partner William Stamatis also bagged two goals, with an assist. Midfielder Jose Morles also added a goal to his tally, combining to a 6-0 win against Hurricane FC. For the whole of the 90 minutes, Soccer Soldiers were in total control. With this win, Hurricane FC is eliminated from US Open Cup contention, with Florida Soccer Soldiers keeping their hopes of qualifying for the first time in club history alive. (Report by Max Johnson)
FC Maritsa (USASA – United Premier Soccer League – St. Louis, MO)
0:0 (6:5 PK)
Livonia City FC (USASA – Michigan Premier Soccer League – Livonia, MI)
After 120 scoreless minutes, the visiting FC Maritsa (Mo.) capped off a tense night with a penalty kick win, 6-5, over Livonia City FC (Mich.). The St. Louis side, the only entry from the state of Missouri, did not leave the pitch unscaved however. Josh Ward of Maritsa suffered a serious injury in the 17th minute which caused a nearly 30 minute stoppage as paramedics tended to him. (UPDATE: After multiple surgeries, Ward is expected to miss a few months) Following that, both sides had opportunities to go ahead in what was in fact 27 minutes of stoppage time. A crowd of more than 100 fans braved the sub 30 degree temperatures at Schoolcraft College witnessed Livonia’s Matt McCourt sail his attempt in the shootout high over the bar, which allowed FC Maritsa to advance to Round 4. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
NTX Rayados (USASA – North Texas Premier Soccer Association – Dallas, TX)
Motagua of New Orleans (USASA – Gulf Coast Premier League – New Orleans, LA)
Motagua of New Orleans had their Second Round qualifying match in Round Rock, Texas postponed due to weather, and were not able to play the game until last weekend (Nov. 11). After Motagua defeated the Celtic Cowboys Premier 3-2, they were determined as the home team in Round 3. With less than a week to arrange travel from Dallas to New Orleans, the two teams agreed to postpone the game until Jan. 12. The game was finally played with NTX Rayados winning a dramatic penalty kick shootout at Pan American Stadium in New Orleans. By advancing, Rayados extends their unbeaten streak against Motagua in US Open Cup qualifying play and keeps their hopes alive of extending their Modern Era (1995-present) streak of qualifying for seven consecutive US Open Cup tournaments. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
San Juan FC (USASA – United Premier Soccer League – Draper, UT)
Southwest FC (USASA – United Premier Soccer League – El Paso, TX)
Southwest FC celebrates in the locker room after the club’s 3-0 win over San Juan FC in the 2019 US Open Cup qualifying tournament. Photo: Southwest FC
El Paso-based Southwest FC scored in the second minute of the match and didn’t look back as they defeated San Juan FC (Utah), 3-0. Cesar Sosa scored the opening goal, followed by David Lopez giving the team a two-goal lead in the 35th minute. In the 63rd minute, substitute Mario Ramirez put the game away as Southwest FC attempts to become the first Open Division Local team from El Paso to qualify for the tournament in the Modern Era (1995-present). Only two clubs from El Paso have qualified in the Modern Era, El Paso Patriots of the Premier Development League (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011-12) and El Paso Indios USA of the National Premier Soccer League (2007). [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
Gam United FC (USASA – United Premier Soccer League – Aurora, CO)
FC Denver (USSSA – Colorado Premier League – Aurora, CO)
When the two teams arrived at Northfield High School in Denver for their qualifying match on Nov. 17, they found the field covered in ice. The match was postponed until Dec. 2 where FC Denver earned a convincing 4-1 win over Gam United FC. Cesar Castillo and Alex Bernhardt led the way with a goal and an assist each as the lone remaining USSSA side moved one step closer to qualifying for the second year in a row (and the second time in team history). [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA REGION
Buena Park FC (USASA – SoCal Premier League – La Palma, CA)
Santa Ana Winds FC (USASA – United Premier Soccer League – Lake Forest, CA)
Santa Ana Winds FC have a tendency to complicate games for themselves, and on November 17 in Open Cup qualifying vs Buena Park FC, the same was true. Winds FC came back to win in overtime by a score of 3-2, after going down to 10 men near the end of the first half due to a foolish elbow by Carlos Torres that struck a BPFC player’s face. Overall, three unanswered goals, with two big ones in overtime by Max Rico and Xavier Corona, was the story of the night for Winds FC. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
California United FC II (USASA – United Premier Soccer League – Irvine, CA)
Cal FC (USASA – United Premier Soccer League – Thousand Oaks, CA)
(Match suspended in 89th minute)
California United FC 2 and Cal FC were tied at 2-2 and approaching the 90th minute when the lights went out at Rolland Stadium in Thousand Oaks, Calif. A city curfew ordinance forced the game to be suspended and will be replayed entirely on Jan. 16 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET.
Academica SC (US Club Soccer – LIGA NorCal – Turlock, CA)
Oakland Stompers (USASA – United Premier Soccer League – Oakland, CA)
This game was postponed due to air quality issues stemming from the wildfires in Northern California and was played on Jan. 5. After a first half stalemate, Academica forward Cody Golbad and Stomper defender Gilbert Coulibaly exchanged words before the latter gave a hard push into Golbad’s face. While it isn’t known what was said between them, the interaction earned Golbad a yellow card and Coulibaly a red – meaning his team would need to play the entire second half down a man. It took Academica 35 minutes to take advantage of the shorthanded Stompers with Ramiro Ceja scoring the game’s lone goal in the 80th minute. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT
JASA RWC (USASA – United Premier Soccer League – Redwood City, CA)
IPS/Marathon Taverna (USASA – Oregon Premier League – Portland, OR)
With a first half goal by Joaquim Capuia and two goals in three minutes by Eric Hernandez (PK) and Alcides Thomas just after halftime, it looked as if IPS (International Portland Select) Marathon Taverna was going to cruise past JASA RWC. However, shortly after falling behind 3-0 in the 52nd minute, JASA’s James Huffer brought the visitors from Redwood City, Calif. back in the game. He scored goals in the 58th and 67th minutes to cut the lead to one but he had to leave the game late in the second half with an injury, which not only denied JASA their goalscoring hero, but also left them a man down for the last 10 minutes of the game. IPS survived, and advanced to Round 4 as they are trying to become the first Open Division Local team from Oregon to qualify for the Open Cup in the Modern Era (1995-present). [+] FULL MATCH REPORT