2019 US Open Cup Qualifying Round 3: FC Denver last USSSA club standing after win vs. Gam United

Posted by | December 3, 2018
FC Denver celebrates after the club's 4-1 win over Gam United FC in their 2019 US Open Cup qualifier. Photo: FC Denver Twitter

FC Denver celebrates after the club’s 4-1 win over Gam United FC in their 2019 US Open Cup qualifier. Photo: FC Denver Twitter

FC Denver advanced in the Open Division Local qualifying tournament for the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup after eliminating local rival GAM United on a freezing Sunday night on the Metropolitan State University soccer stadium in downtown Denver. It has not yet been announced if this is the last qualification match necessary before the tournament proper begins in 2019 however, Denver has now eliminated Indios FC, Harpos FC and GAM United and are the last Colorado-based amateur club, and the last United States Sports Specialty Association (USSSA) team remaining in the tournament.

Cesar Castillo and Alex Bernhardt led the way with a goal and an assist each as FC Denver moves on step closer toward qualifying for the second year in a row, and the second time in club history.

From the first whistle, FC Denver was on the front foot holding possession, finding their way around the GAM fullbacks and testing GAM goalkeeper Prince Goma. Denver’s early efforts paid off in the ninth minute when winger Cesar Castillo delivered a perfect cross to Alex Bernhardt who headed in the opening goal.

Ten minutes later, Lashaw Salta delivered a left footed cross to Fernando Magallanes who trapped the ball with his chest and scored a half volley goal directly in front of the net.

In the 27th minute, midfield maestro Castillo curved a free kick around the GAM wall and into the bottom right corner of the goal to give Denver a 3-0 lead before the half-hour mark of the match. Just when it looked like FC Denver would cruise into halftime, GAM United’s Michael Sarpong scored off a quick counter attack to keep the visiting team within striking distance.

Through the second half, FC Denver continued to possess the ball and pin back the GAM backline. The front three of Magallanes, Castillo and Bernhardt would often shift positions popping up in dangerous positions for right back Kyle Crouse or midfielder Miguel Escobar to find with a line breaking pass. Head coach Drew Melin credited the “very fluid front three, that kept the defense guessing” to the consistent pressure generated.

In the 71st minute, FC Denver nearly scored again with a number of shots rattling the crossbar and eventually drawing a penalty. Goalkeeper Prince Goma made two quick saves in a matter of seconds saving Castillo’s penalty shot and then quickly jumping back up to save the second attempt.

Moments later FC Denver scored the final goal when Castillo served a long free kick to the near post where Alex Bernhardt flicked the ball to the back post where an unmarked Jon Lister was able to settle and score to put the game away.

After the match, Melin added that the effort from each FC Denver player was fantastic and they are looking forward to whomever they are paired with next in the Open Cup.

“We set a goal as soon as we lost to the Switchbacks last year that we want to get back to that point (US Open Cup Second Round) and build on that each year”

Melin credited Alex Bernhardt as the man of the match as he led his team one step closer to qualify for the US Open Cup for the second year in a row.

“He was everywhere,” said Melin. “Up on offense and defensively, he got a goal and an assist, he played his best game for the club”

Jim Coppock also contributed to this report

FC Denver Starters

U#        First                 Last

14           Alex                       Bernhardt

3              Cesar                     Castillo

17           Tyler                      Chauncey

8              Kyle                        Crouse

6              Marco                   Escobar

5              Peter                     Jacobson

11           Fernando             Magallenes

12           Joel                        Miller

1              Michael                Moberg

4              Nabil                      Odulate

7              Lashaw                 Salta


19           Ryan                      Bernhardt (dnp)

13           Paul                       Hogan

9              Troy                       Hudson (dnp)

2              John                      Lister

18           Drew                     Melin (dnp)

20           Jacob                     Peterson (dnp)

16           Christian              Weaver

Gam United Starters

U#        First                 Last

10           Ajok Gai               Abiar

9              Nana                     Boakye

17           Inza                        Cisse

4              Karrar                    Fouad

1              Prince                   Goma

3              Emmanuel          Gymafi

12           Saad                      Hissein

22           Ibraheem            Latona

47           Michael                Sarpong

2              Karim                    Soumah

24           Carson                  Swope


20           Francis                  Afropong (dnp)

24           Sajjad                    Alfatlawi (dnp)

7              Alex                       Amador

19           Solomon              Appiah

27?         Francis                  Appio (dnp)

11           Brice                      Goma

18           Kodzovi                Woglo (dnp)

Scoring Summary

9              FCD        14-Alex Bernhardt                            Assist: 3-Cesar Castillo

22           FCD        11-Fernando Magallenes              Assist: 7-Lashaw Salta

27           FCD          3-Cesar Castillo                               free kick

39           GAM     47-Michael Sarpong                        Assist:

78           FCD          2-John Lister                                    Assist: 14-Alex Bernhardt


FCD        57’          Out:   5-Peter Jacobson                 In: 16-Christian Weaver

70’          Out: 11-Fernando Magallenes    In:   2-John Lister

80’          Out:   7-Lashaw Salta                      In: 13-Paul Hogan

GAM     61’          Out:   9-Nana Boakye                     In: 11-Brice Goma

74’          Out: 10-Ajok Gai Abiar                   In: 16-Abdou Mbaye

79’          Out:   4-Karrar Fouad                      In:   6-Alex Amador


GAM 60’               Yellow  9-Nana Boakye

GAM 72’               Yellow  4-Karra Fouad

GAM 90+             Yellow  1-Prince Goma

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