Orr Barouch of Cal FC dribbles past defenders from FC Mulhouse Portland in the First Round of the 2019 US Open Cup. Photo: Victor Friedman
To open up the first round of play of the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, Cal FC made easy work of FC Mulhouse Portland as they cruised to a 5-1 victory.
The Thousand Oaks, Calif. club was in control from the start, featuring a number of former professional players, some of which helped the club make a name for itself when it upset the Portland Timbers (MLS) in the 2012 US Open Cup. Former MLS player Orr Barouch led the way with a hat trick, while German Alfaro added a goal and an assist and two stars of Cal FC’s 2012 cup run, Danny Barrera (1 assist) and Richard Menjivar (1 goal) also featured.
With the win, Cal FC will advance to Round 2 where they will play the Las Vegas Lights of the USL Championship, who are led by head coach Eric Wynalda. The former US international and Hall of Famer was the head coach of Cal FC during their US Open Cup run in 2012, and recruited some of the current players on the team.
In the first half, Cal FC dominated possession with quick passing and solid movement off the ball. Cal FC’s front line also took advantage of Mulhouse’s defense with continuous runs behind the back line.
They were rewarded in the 14th minute as they were given a penalty as a result of a handball in the box. Orr Barouch, who spent the better part of four seasons with the Chicago Fire of MLS, slotted it past Mulhouse keeper Scott Dalrymple to make it 1-0.
It only got worse as Mulhouse had no answer to Cal FC’s relentless attack.
Cal FC made it 2-0 as Barouch scored a tap-in from a cross by winger German Alfaro.
To pour salt into the wound, after a great pass by Daniel Barrera, Alfaro weaved his way through Mulhouse’s defense to make it 3-0. Barrera, who was named TheCup.us Lower Division Player of the Tournament for the 2012 US Open Cup, recently re-joined the club after stints with several USL teams.
Mulhouse pulled one back off of a set piece to make it 3-1, but the home side quickly responded less than a minute later as Barouch completed his hat trick to make it 4-1.
Despite Mulhouse picking up some intensity in the second half, the damage had been done.
Six minutes into the second half, Cal FC made it 5-1 as Richard Menjivar popped up in the six-yard box and slotted it past Dalrymple. Even with the commanding lead, Cal FC controlled possession and limited Mulhouse’s chance on goal in the final minutes of the match.
Cal FC assistant coach Mike Randolph was pleased with his team’s performance throughout the match.
“It was good. We slowed down a bit in the second half, but we had good rhythm in the first. We did enough in the first half to push us on through … we were patient. They have fun passing the ball, tiki taka touches left and right. They weren’t phased by the pressure.”
To make things more interesting, their next opponent will be the Las Vegas Lights of the USL Championship on May 14. Their coach Eric Wynalda is a familiar face to their next challengers according to Randolph:
“Eric’s been a big part of Cal FC for a while now so it will be fun and interesting to go against him. We’ll do our homework and we’ll ready and prepared to take him on”