Just under one month removed from the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Final, the 107th edition of the United States’ national championship has begun with Open Division Local qualification games across the country. For 78 teams, 39 games across the weekend of Sept. 21 and 22 were either the first step or early exit from the competition. For eight other teams that received a bye into Round 2, their road begins in October.
The stakes were high in the single-elimination games. Hurricane FC and International Soccer Association played to a 1-1 draw and needed a combined total of 17 successful penalty kicks to decide a winner while debuting Alta California Sol needed goals at both ends to defeat fellow UPSL team USA Soccer Stars FC. Shocks were high as well as 4-time tournament champions Ukrainian Nationals were defeated in their first game by Vereinigung Erzgebirge. Rebels SC had their starting goalkeeper break his ankle 10 minutes into the game and with a defender putting on the gloves, they still managed to force penalty kicks with Chula Vista FC, but ultimately fell short. While still mourning the loss of friend and teammate Colin Clark, who passed away just over a month ago, The Colorado Rush advanced in a game that wasn’t allowed to finish because Club El Azul had five players and their head coach sent off.
This is the fifth year of U.S. Soccer organized qualification for Open Division Local teams, which are Open Division teams that are not part of the two national leagues: the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) and USL League Two (USL-2). As always, TheCup.us will provide the most up-to-date information and coverage of US Open Cup qualifying and the tournament proper. Check below for a short recap of each match.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 21
Kendall Wanderers (USASA / UPSL) 0:4 Safira FC (USASA / Bay State Soccer League) For the third year in a row, the Boston-based Safira FC won its opening round game in the Open Division Local qualifying tournament. On Saturday, the team kicked off the competition with a 4-0 win over fellow Massachusetts club Kendall Wanderers. They received a first half goal from Rigoberto Jimenez and pulled away in the second half with goals from Hugo Bomfim, Michael Rincon and a second from Jiminez.
Safira, who compete in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL), are attempting to qualify for the US Open Cup for the first time. Last year, the group came close to punching its ticket. Safira advanced to the final round of qualifying and fell short, losing 3-0 to West Chester United in a Win & You’re In match.
Celtic Cowboys Premier pose for a team photo before their match in the Open Division Local qualifying tournament for the 2020 US Open Cup. Photo: Celtic Cowboys Premier
Celtic Cowboys Premier (USSSA / Austin Men’s Soccer Association) 7:1 Central Texas Lobos (USASA / Gulf Coast Premier League) The Celtic Cowboys Premier advanced to the Second Round of qualifying for the third straight year after defeating the Central Texas Lobos, 7-1. Dave O’Brien opening the game with two goals in the first half and former University of New Mexico player Chris Wright scored four times in the second half. Stephen Cperk rounded out scoring while Wright and Hasan Nhew assisted on two goals each.
The Lobos were competing in their second qualifying tournament. The team lost its opening round game in the 2018 competition, but didn’t enter last year. Juve-Pro Soccer (USASA / UPSL) 0:1 Brockton FC United (USASA / Bay State Soccer League) A second half goal by Ericksson “Ricky” Alves lifted Brockton FC United over Juve-Pro Soccer, 1-0 in a battle of Boston area clubs. The free kick goal gave Brockton its first-ever US Open Cup qualifying win as the team’s tournament debut sees them advance into the Second Round. Juve-Pro Soccer loses in the first round of qualifying for the second straight year after falling in 2019 to Boston City FC II by the same score.
The Miami United Under-23s players before their 2020 US Open Cup qualifying match against Atletico Miami CF. Photo: Miami United FC
Atletico Miami CF (USASA / UPSL) 3:7 Miami United FC U-23s (USASA / UPSL) After losing their opening round game in 2018, and taking a year off in 2019, the Miami United Under-23s scored five times in the first half to cruise past fellow UPSL side Atletico Miami CF, 7-3. United reach the Second Round for the first time with William Stamatis and Juan Bazan each scoring a pair of goals. Marco Meola, Frank Fraggetti and Carlos Rodriguez also added a goal each to their team’s total. Stamatis joins the team after playing a key role in the 2019 US Open Cup run of the Florida Soccer Soldiers that saw them reach the Third Round. While the Under-23 team has never qualified for the US Open Cup, Miami United’s senior team has a strong US Open Cup resume. The NPSL side has qualified in three of the last five years. Their biggest Open Cup run came in 2018 where it defeated two professional teams (Miami FC 2, Jacksonville Armada FC) from the NPSL to reach the Fourth Round. There, they became the first NPSL club to play against an MLS team when they lost to Orlando City SC.
The NTX Rayados’ “Starting 10” pose for a photo prior to their 2020 US Open Cup qualifier against FC Fort Worth SC. Reece Wilson arrived late to the game, so the team had to start with 10 players. Photo: NTX Rayados
NTX Rayados (USASA / North Texas Premier Soccer Association) 4:2 FC Fort Worth SC (USASA / UPSL) NTX Rayados took the first step toward qualifying for the US Open Cup for the ninth consecutive year with a 4-2 win over FC Fort Worth SC. The North Texas had to make a tough decision that resulted in the team starting the match with 10 men. Reece Wilson was listed in the team’s starting 11, but he arrived late from the airport. Since he was already listed in the starting 11, if head coach Tito Salas wanted to replace him, he would have to use one of his three subs. Rather than wasting the substitution before kickoff, they managed without him, playing the first 10 minutes down a man. After finishing the first half tied at 1-1, the Rayados scored three second-half goals to advance to Round 2.
The NTX goalscorers were Reece Wilson, Mohamed Sesay, Kevin Ellis, and Luis Hernandez.
Players from World Class Premier and SOCA line up pre-game for their 2020 US Open Cup qualifier. Photo: World Class Premier
SOCA (USASA / Soccer Organization of the Charlottesville Area) 1:4 World Class Premier Elite FC (USASA / UPSL) After an early goal for hosts SOCA (Soccer Organization of the Charlottesville Area), World Class Premier played lock-down defense and its offense came alive to the tune of four goals to claim a 4-1 win. SOCA jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute. World Class Premier tied the match ten minutes later as Idrissa Sesay netted in the 25th to equalize. The visitors then took the lead in the 35th minute through Olakunle Banjo and added a third on the strike of halftime as Saidou Toure found the back of the net to give World Class Premier a 3-1 lead at the break. World Class Premier scored its fourth and final goal of the match as Philip Blystone got on the scoresheet in the 65th minute before seeing the game out to earn the first round qualifying win 4-1. World Class Premier fell painfully short of qualifying in their first attempt last year. After three straight wins in the qualifying tournament, WCP lost to Virginia United in penalty kicks in the “Win & You’re In” match.
Club ATLetic (USASA / Atlantic District Amateur Soccer League) 0:1 Georgia Revolution FC Reserves (USASA / Atlantic District Amateur Soccer League) Sebastian Sandoval scored the lone goal of his team’s match on a throw-in from Scott Redding in the 30th minute as the Georgia Revolution FC Reserves downed Atlanta’s Club ATLetic, 1-0, to advance to the Second Round. This is the first time that the Revolution have entered a reserve team into the Open Division Local qualifying tournament. The senior team, which competes in the NPSL, qualified and performed well in the 2012 and 2013 US Open Cup. They have won three games during those two cup runs, but were eliminated both times in the Second Round by the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks. Both losses were decided by a single goal.
Players from Chula Vista FC and Rebels SC battle for the ball in their 2020 US Open Cup qualifying match. Photo: Chula Vista FC
Chula Vista FC (USASA / SoCal Premier League) 2:2 (4:5 PK) Rebels SC (USASA / SoCal Premier League) An incredibly brave performance fell short on Saturday night as Chula Vista FC advanced to Round 2 with a penalty kick shootout win over Rebels SC. About 10 minutes into the game, with Chula Vista leading 1-0 after a goal by Julio Martinez in the first minute, the goalkeeper for Rebels SC suffered a reported broken ankle. The game was stopped as he had to be transported to a nearby hospital in an ambulance. The Rebels had to carry on without a backup goalkeeper on the roster. Vincent Acevedo, a defender, stepped in to replace him despite having not played as a goalkeeper since he was about 15 years old. Even so, he played well against a talented Chula Vista team that has qualified for the Open Cup twice (2015, 2017) and upset a pro team (Arizona United of the USL in 2015). Since Acevedo was inserted into the game, the Rebels tied the game up only to see former TheCup.us Player of the Round winner Alberto Diaz take back the lead for Chula Vista before halftime. The Rebels would find another equalizer in the 70th minute off a free kick and no one would find the back of the net until the penalty kick shootout, where Chula Vista prevailed 5-4 to advance to Round 2. Steel FC (USASA / Greater Pittsburgh Soccer League) 3:1 Germantown City FC (ANFEEU / Woodbridge Soccer League)
A trio of first-half goals from Steel FC allowed the host Pennsylvania club to defeat Germantown City FC out of Maryland 3-1 in the opening qualifying round for the 2020 US Open Cup. Matt McDyer netted the first goal for the hosts, finding the back of the net in the 16th minute. Steel FC then added two goals in three minutes as Anthony Virgara tallied in the 37th minute and Christian Lewandowski scored two minutes later to take a commanding halftime lead. Germantown City FC found a consolation goal in the 84th minute through Diego Velazquez but could not push for the comeback as Steel FC claimed a 3-1 victory. Steel FC, who compete in the Greater Pittsburgh Soccer League, advances to the Second Round of the tournament in their qualifying debut [+] FULL MATCH REPORT Coyotes FC (USASA / UPSL) 2:3 San Antonio Runners (USASA / UPSL) Michael Maldonado’s heads-up play with a 60-yard kick from midfield off the restart in the 72nd minute gave his San Antonio Runners a 3-2 win over Coyotes FC to advance to the Second Round of Open Division of qualifying.
After Coyotes scored in the 71st minute, Maldonado booted the ball off the restart to surprise the Coyotes’ defense and goalkeeper to put his squad in the lead. Bryan Flores opened the scoring in the 6th minute to give San Antonio the lead. After Coyotes tied the match 30 minutes later to force a 1-1 score at the half, John Mendoza gave San Antonio the lead once again with a penalty kick goal in the 51st. The Runners pick up their first-ever qualifying tournament win, after being one-and-done in their debut last year. Louisiana Krewe FC (USASA / Gulf Coast Premier League) 5:2 Northshore United (USASA / Gulf Coast Premier League) Henrique Pimpao scored a hat trick for the Louisiana Krewe in the First Round victory over Northshore United in a 5-2 victory. Pimpao got the scoring started in the 14th minute of the match and the Krewe doubled the lead as Ricardo Caliman scored six minutes later. Matheus Fulini tacked on a 42nd minute goal to make it 3-0 before Northshore was able to capitalize and make it 3-1 at the half. Pimpao scored in the 50th minute and would later complete the hat trick. The Krewe allowed an own goal to complete the scoring in the match as they win in their qualifying debut. Hurricane FC (USASA / UPSL) 1:1 (9:8 PK) International Soccer Association (USASA / UPSL) Hurricane FC defeated the International Soccer Association 9-8 in a penalty kick shootout after finishing in a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes. The winning team’s only goal in regulation came from Jesus Castellano. In its fourth qualification tournament, the Hurricanes are advancing to the Second Round for the third time in club history. Last year, the UPSL side reached the Third Round of qualifying but fell to eventual 2019 Cinderella story Florida Soccer Soldiers. Hurricane FC is attempting to qualify for the first time in club history.
Freddie Braun of FC Boulder Harpos fires a shot against FC Denver in their 2020 US Open Cup qualifying game. Photo: Colorado Soccer Magazine
FC Denver (USSSA / Colorado Premier League) 0:2 FC Boulder Harpos (USSSA / Colorado Premier League) Two teams with previous US Open Cup experience met in a First Round tilt in Denver. FC Denver was looking to qualify for the third consecutive year, having played in both the 2018 and 2019 editions, while FC Boulder Harpos looked to return for the first time since 2016, and the first time since the merger of FC Boulder and Harpos FC. Playing in windy conditions, FC Boulder Harpos took its first step towards returning to the national tournament by claiming a 2-0 victory. FC Boulder Harpos grabbed the lead in the 31st minute on a goal from former MLS player Freddie Braun. An insurance tally in the 74th minute from Shane Wheeler doubled the advantage for FC Boulder Harpos and the visiting side was able to close out the 2-0 victory. Logroñes Denver Soccer Club (USASA / Colorado Super League) 2:6 Colorado Rovers (USSSA / Colorado Premier League) Colorado Rovers defeated the Logrones SC by 6-2 in a one-sided contest at North Stadium in Denver in the first meeting between the two sides in Open Cup play. For Logrones’, which play in the Colorado Super League, this was its first qualification tournament while the Colorado Premier League’s Rovers have not only participated in every competition since the new format was introduced in 2015, but have attempted to get in to the US Open Cup before that. Qualifying in 2013 and 2014. The first half was fast and furious, with the most dangerous chances falling to Logrones, but the Rovers managed to nab two goals in as many minutes by Kyle Emge in the 19th and Nick Pena in the 20th minute to lead at halftime. The second half saw Rovers dominate the play, running out to a 4-0 advantage on a brace by Bryce Townsend in the 53rd and 55th minutes, before the shutout was busted by a Logrones penalty kick in the 59th minute. Former MLS player Ritchie Kotschau tallied a fifth goal in the 65th minute and Mark Herschberger capped off the scoring in the 80th minute to put the game out of reach. Logrones added one more on the stroke of full time.
USA Soccer Stars FC (USASA / UPSL) 1:2 Alta California Sol (USASA / UPSL) Celso Lagunas scored in the 13th and 82nd minutes to lead the Alta California Sol to the win, 2-1 over the USA Soccer Stars FC in the team’s first qualification tournament. Justin Garcia assisted on the first Lagunas marker while J.C. Torres — who entered as a sub at the start of the second half — was credited with an assist on the second goal. Alta keeper Adrian Gonzalez had a clean sheet for the first 86 minutes before the USA Soccer Stars scored late. Gonzalez was tested in the first half, needing to make a key save midway through while also getting help from his top bar on a penalty kick attempt. Newport FC (USASA / UPSL) 1:4 SC Trojans FC (USASA / SoCal Premier League) In its second US Open Cup qualifying appearance, two goals within two minutes gave SC Trojans FC an early lead that it would not relinquish against Newport FC. The team, which competed in the 2018 qualification tournament, is the only college-based team taking part this season. Marsuk Dilla scored the first two goals in the 17th and 18th minutes of the game off of his left foot. Jack Queen and Emanuel Azage scored goals before halftime to give them a 4-0 lead heading into the break. Newport FC was able to pull a goal back in the second half but SC Trojans FC cruised to a 4-1 victory as it advanced to round two of qualifying. L.A. Monsters FC (USASA / SoCal Premier League) 4:0 Valley United SC (USASA / UPSL) L.A. Monsters FC took a step toward qualifying for the first time with a 4-0 win over Valley United SC. Edward Delgado Robles opened the scoring in the 3rd minute, then Andy Vargas Nunez, Edgard Armando Gonzalez Jr. and Andy Meza Salguero added second half goals for the win. The Monsters fell one game short of qualifying for the 2018 US Open Cup, but lost their opening round game last year to Outbreak FC.
Real San Jose (USASA / UPSL) 1:1 (2:4 PK) Outbreak FC (USASA / SoCal Premier League) By Jamon Moore At PAL Stadium in San Jose, Calif., Outbreak FC overcame an early third minute goal from Real San Jose’s Denis Sorto, scored their own in the 10th minute courtesy of Torey Edwards, then went on to win in penalties. In the shootout, the well-traveled Southern California team prevailed, 4-2. Although Outbreak FC controlled the match and the total shots, both sides missed excellent chances to get a second goal in regulation and overtime, forcing the penalty shootout. Oscar Aguero missed Outbreak FC’s second attempt in the shootout, hitting the post, but goalkeeper Matthew Swaneveld saved Real San Jose’s third attempt. Real San Jose’s fourth attempt hit the post, leaving Matthew Murphy to seal the win by making Outbreak FC’s fifth and final attempt, and pushing them into the second round of qualifiers to be held later in October.
Outbreak FC coach Trent Bryson commented after the game, “I wish we would have finished a couple more chances. I felt like we created more than they did, and actually held onto the ball more than I thought we were going to. But we just couldn’t get one on frame, it seemed like.” Real San Jose had a full bench, while Outbreak FC only had two available subs. It seemed like Outbreak FC was starting to lose steam in the overtime session. “We learned (three years ago) when we went to double overtime versus the (Seattle) Sounders (U-23 team) — I learned to hold one guy back, just in case.”, Bryson remarked when asked about his short bench. “(We) learned to conserve a little better that we did that time (against Seattle), because they went all out. I think being in this position again helped us.”
Real San Jose missed an excellent chance in the 103rd minute when substitute Heriberto Guerrero Montoya’s shot was saved off the goal line by Outbreak FC defender Nathan Kolano. Both teams had shots hit off the post and into the side netting after their goals in regulation time.
Oakland Stompers celebrate a goal against Contra Costa FC in the 2020 US Open Cup qualifying tournament. Photo: Oakland Stompers
Oakland Stompers (USASA / UPSL) 1:0 Contra Costa FC (USASA / UPSL) By Isis Piccillo Oakland Stompers recouped their 4-0 loss in league play to Contra Costa FC by winning 1-0 in the opening round of the Open Division qualifying tournament for the 2020 US Open Cup. Following many frustrated attempts at goal in the first half, Oakland Stompers’ Khalid Arramdani finally slipped a cross through Contra Costa defenders to Leonardo Hinostroza, who sent it to the back of the net. The teams maintained even possession in the first half, with goalkeepers from both teams forced to palm multiple shots over the crossbar. Forward Arramdani sliced down the flanks on multiple occasions, but with no result before halftime.
In the second half, the Stompers returned with heightened energy, relentlessly attacking the Contra Costa goal. Hinostroza scored in the 67th minute and attributed the team’s change of pace to the halftime talk emphasizing momentum. “The Contra Costa defenders were playing hard,” he said, “but when we pressured them, they gave us the ball every time.” Contra Costa worked to retaliate but struggled to maintain possession in the final third.
The Oakland Stompers look towards Round 2 as they attempt to qualify for the first time.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 22
A shot from a 2020 US Open Cup qualifying match between the Jackson Lions and CSA Westchester. Photo: Michael Battista
Cedar Stars Academy Westchester (USASA / Cosmopolitan Soccer League) 2:1 Jackson Lions FC (USASA / Garden State Soccer League) By Michael Battista A late goal lifted CSA Westchester to victory against Jackson Lions FC in US Open Cup qualifying on Sunday. Ovan Oakley’s run up the middle and low shot to beat the advancing keeper sent his team through to the second round in its first qualifying appearance. The teams played a scoreless first half as neither side could gain an advantage over the other. CSA Westchester opened the scoring in the 52nd minute as Chris Katona found the back of the net off a pass from Max Garcia but, due to an injury and only two additional players, the team had entered the second half with no subs on the bench. The tired legs put pressure on the Westchester goalkeeper, who failed to make a grab in the 58th minute and allowed Walter Calderon, a member of CSA in Cosmopolitan Soccer League play, to respond and level scoring in the 58th minute.
Despite being the home team at Ramapo College, the game was played on one of the school’s secondary fields due to a scheduling conflict. The sloped, grass pitch made play difficult as the game became sloppy and fouls picked up. Late on, Jackson’s Ryan Bailey was initially carded with a yellow before the official reached for the red card following apparent disparaging remarks.
The Jackson Lions have now failed to qualify for the Open Cup in four straight attempts, taking part in every qualification tournament since 2017. The team had its best result last year when it reached the Second Round. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT Steel Pulse FC (USASA / Maryland Major Soccer League) 2:3 Tartan Devils Oak Avalon (USASA / Greater Pittsburgh Soccer League)
By Craig Tower
On a hot day in Elkridge, Maryland, the Tartan Devils of Pittsburgh edged Baltimore’s Steel Pulse FC 3:2 to move into the second round of qualifying for the US Open Cup. Both teams were flagging in the second half, but the Tartan Devils held on to their halftime advantage in spite of their tired legs.
The first half held few clear opportunities for either side until the 44th minute when the Tartan Devils stunned Steel Pulse with a pair of quick strikes. Gregory Annan drew first blood for the PA side with a 44th minute shot on a breakaway from the right side of the Steel Pulse goal, leaving the keeper Gabriel Nieba with no hope of making the save. Not content to enter halftime with a one-goal lead, the Devils found a second through Marcelo Vazquez-Casas in the 45th minute on another breakaway to stun the Marylanders before the break.
The pace had slowed in the second half with the Devils showing more energy moving forward through quick breaks orchestrated by Rami Bensasi to release Annan, Vazquez-Casas, and later substitute Jacob Thiel. Steel Pulse managed to capture possession intermittently, and it was during one of those phases that Malian defensive midfielder Siré Keïta banged home a clever flick-on from a teammate in the 69th minute. His 25-yard shot caught Winter Fondi completely flat-footed as it crossed from the right side of the goal to the left.
As the teams flagged, it looked like there would be no more goals in the second half. The Tartan Devils weren’t done, though, and Vazquez-Casas headed a fine diagonal ball in the 84th minute from right to left across the Steel Pulse goal to find Jacob Thiel running into side-volley the third goal for the Pittsburgh side. Steel Pulse got the last word in the 86th minute, though, on a shot by Thomas Ndebugre, but neither side had any more goals in them after that.
Chas Wilson of West Chester United after scoring one of his four goals against Danubia Swabian in the 2020 US Open Cup qualifying tournament. Photo: Matt Ralph | Brotherly Game
Danubia Swabian of Philadelphia SC (USASA / USL of PA) 0:5 West Chester United (USASA / USL of PA) By Matt Ralph Chas Wilson had a hat trick and assisted on another goal in a 5-0 win for West Chester United to kick off their return to local qualifying against United Soccer League of Pennsylvania rival Danubia Swabian SC after a successful campaign last year that eventually led to a second round exit against USL Championship team Birmingham Legion.
AJ Bishop opened the scoring in the 4th minute when he got low to head home a looping cross from right back Sam Bollinger at the far post. West Chester doubled their lead 20 minutes later with another header, this one for Wilson off a cross from Troy Amspacher.
Wilson was denied a chance to stretch the lead to three before the break when his shot off a cross from Bishop was denied by Danubia goalkeeper Daniel Saint-Pol, who had a number of key stops on the day to limit the damage for a Danubia team that was in Open Cup qualifying for the first time in about a decade. Andreas Bartosinski had a shot from distance turned away with a tip over the bar and Bishop hit the post in attempts that would’ve added to the lead before halftime.
The third goal came for the Predators when Wilson was able to pounce on a rebound from Saint-Pol off a low line drive from Amspacher in the 66th minute.
Andreas Bartosinski was played in on a pass by Ryan Fincher in the 84th minute but Saint-Pol was there again to keep the ball out but the rebound eventually fell to Wilson, who was able to beat Saint-Pol inside the post to complete his hat trick. Wilson went back to the defense to finish out the game but ended up still being involved in setting up another goal when he took a little flick from Bishop down the right flank and played a cross Bollinger was able to get a foot on to touch past the keeper in second half stoppage time.
Brian Erlich and Evan Bleiler combined on the clean sheet in goal, but neither keeper had too much to do on a day when West Chester dominated possession and created a slew of chances on the offensive side of the gray turf field at Rosemont College.
Ukrainian Nationals (USASA / USL of PA) 1:4 Vereinigung Erzgebirge (USASA / USL of PA) A pair of historic clubs met in North Wales, Penn. on Sunday afternoon for a US Open Cup qualifying match. Ukranian Nationals, which has won the competition four times, hosted Vereiningung Erzgebirge, who looked to return to the tournament for the first time since 2002. Vereiningung Erzgebirge received two goals from Greg Shertzer in the opening half, the second of which turned out to be the game winner, to take the 2-0 lead. Derek Antonini and Devlin Mette added a goal each in the second half, but the Nationals would later ruin the clean sheet, but VE, which started playing soccer in 1969, advanced with a 4-1 win.
Players from Inocentes FC and Lone Star Republic (red) battle for the ball in their 2020 US Open Cup qualifier. Photo: Lone Star Republic
Lone Star Republic (USASA / UPSL) 1:2 Inocentes Futbol Club (USASA / UPSL) Inocentes Futbol Club traveled to Frankel Field in Addison, Texas to face Lone Star Republic. Going up 2-0 early in the second half, Inocentes FC held off a late push from Lone Star Republic to win 2-1 and move one step closer to earning a place in its first US Open Cup. Inocentes FC took the lead just before halftime as Carlos Zarate pounced on a loose ball at the top of the box and slotted it into the net for a 1-0 lead. The team then earned a penalty kick in the 61st minute which was converted by Ivan Kovacevic for the 2-0 lead. In the 65th minute, Lone Star Republic was able to pull one back as a poor clearance fell to the feet forward Corey Cantor who tucked it home to bring the score to 2-1, but late foul resulted in a Republic player receiving his second yellow of the match later in the half. The hosts were unable to complete the comeback as Inocentes advanced to Round 2. San Juan FC (USASA / UPSL) 2:0 International Portland Select / Marathon Taverna (USASA / Oregon Premier League) International Portland Select / Marathon Taverna of Oregon was unable to replicate last year’s run of upsets in the qualifying rounds; they traveled to Salt Lake City and lost 2-0 to San Juan FC. The game was played at Zions Bank Training Center, where San Juan FC of the UPSL has been nearly impossible to beat in the league. Tonight was no different, as Cristian Molina Escobar beat the keeper in a 1-on-1 by going over the top around the 34th minute. Later, in the second half, Robert Kostovski doubled the lead for San Juan FC after IPSFC’s keeper made an error in the 62nd minute. San Juan FC were able to keep a normally dangerous IPSFC off the scoreboard and secure the win. IPS FC will head home, knocked out, and San Juan win their opening game in the qualifying tournament for the second year in a row. Charleston United (USASA / UPSL) 1:1 (2:4 PK) Soda City Sorinex FC (USASA / Central League)
The visitors got on the board first in the 25th minute, when Graham Jermstad’s push into Charleston territory seemingly ended with a long pass. The United center-back intercepted but mishit the ball with the keeper advancing on it, allowing it to roll into the net for an own-goal.
The Charleston defense held on for the rest of the game and pushed back Soda City, allowing the team to equalize and score its first ever USOC Qualifying goal in the 70th minute. A cut into the middle by the left center-back allowed for a curling long shot that found its way past the keeper in the 70th minute.
After 90 minutes and an additional 30 couldn’t produce a winner, the two teams stepped up for the penalty kick shootout to determine who went through. Both teams made their first two shots on the left side and missed their third, but Sorinex slammed its fourth into the top of the netting in the fourth round. A Charleston skied attempt allowed Soda City to advance with a successful fifth round kick to the left side.
Players from Azteca FC and Athletic Club of Sloan’s Lake (red) battle for the ball in their 2020 US Open Cup qualifying match. Photo: Colorado Soccer Magazine
Athletic Club of Sloan’s Lake (USSSA / Colorado Premier League) 0:5 Azteca FC (USSSA / Colorado Premier League) By Jim Coppock Athletic Club of Sloan’s LakeAC Sloan’s Lake made their US Open Cup qualifying debut against Azteca FC, who have the distinction of having never lost a qualification round match – Five wins from five matches dating back to 2016. On Sunday, Azteca extended that unbeaten streak with a 5-0 win. Jovany Herrera and Daniel Jimenez both scored twice for their team while Erik Chavez rounded out scoring with a single goal. The first minute of the game would set the tone for the rest of it. Azteca fizzed a shot just wide after less than 20 seconds. The first half was fiercely contested, but ultimately one-way traffic to Azteca, as they ran up a 3-0 lead going into the break on goals in the 13th and 17th minute from Jovany Herrera Delgado and another in the 23rd minute. The second half continued the way the first half ended, with Azteca on the front foot as they added another goal in the 52nd minute. Down 4-0, Sloan’s Lake saw some improved possession in the final 15 minutes, but it was too little, too late. Aside from a shot by Kwame Antwi that hit the goalpost in the 56th minute, Sloan’s Lake was unable to threaten the Azteca goal. Azteca FC would add another goal in second half stoppage time to cruise to the win and advance to the next round of qualifying that will take place in October.
Players from the Colorado Rush pose for a team photo before their 2020 US Open Cup qualifying match against Club El Azul. Photo: Colorado Rush
Colorado Rush (USSSA / Colorado Super League) 3:2 (AET) Club El Azul (USSSA / Colorado Premier League) After playing to a 1-1 tie through 90 minutes of regulation, chaos erupted in extra time between the Colorado Rush and Club El Azul. Five players and the Club El Azul were sent off, which forced the referee to end the game early. However, before the match went off the rails, the Colorado Rush scored twice and held off a late push to win the game 3-2. The Rush were playing this game with heavy hearts as they are mourning the death of teammate and former MLS player Colin Clark. They wore black arm bands and played a tightly-contested 90 minutes with Club El Azul, who opened the scoring in the 65th minute. The Rush responded with a goal from Alex Olivera just two minutes late..
The teams continued into extra time where Club El Azul had a player receive his second yellow card to bring them down to 10 men in the first period of extra time. The Rush took advantage with Fabricio Barancoski scoring a pair of goals in the second period of extra time. Down 3-1, Club El Azul cut the lead to one just a few minutes later, but in the final five minutes of extra time, the game got out of hand. A Club El Azul player was red carded for a tackle, and that set off some serious protests from his teammates and the head coach. In the end, three additional players and the coach were given their marching orders for dissent and verbal abuse, leaving the team with six players. Without the minimum number of players available, the referee called for an end to the match.
Art Aghasi of Cal FC (right) plays the ball against Quickening in the 2020 US Open Cup qualifying tournament. Photo: Victor Friedman | Cal FC
Quickening (USASA / SoCal Premier League) 2:9 Cal FC (USASA / UPSL) An absolutely dominating performance saw Cal FC blow up Quickening 9-2 in the opening round of 2020 US Open Cup qualifying on Sunday. Former MLS player Orr Barouch opened the scoring for Cal FC in the 14th minute. After a spell of 18 minutes without a goal, the floodgates opened as Cal FC scored five more before the end of the first half. Former LA Galaxy academy player Willie Raygoza scored the second for Cal FC in the 32nd minute, with Barouch tallying his second of the match three minutes later. Romario Lomelli scored in the 38th min, followed by German Alfaro four minutes later. Then, two minutes after that, Raygoza added his second in the 44th minute as Cal FC took a dominating 6-1 lead into halftime. Raygoza completed his hat trick in the 58th minute and Auggie Caseraz and Artur Agahsi rounded out the scoring for Cal FC. Quickening added another late goal but it wasn’t enough to prevent the competition’s most lopsided result to date. Cal FC, best known for their upset of the Portland Timbers of MLS in 2012, are attempting to qualify for the second year in a row, and the fifth time in club history (2012, 2014, 2015, 2019).
Deportivo Lake Mary (USASA / UPSL) 1:2 Orlando FC Wolves (USASA / Central Florida Soccer League) Orlando FC Wolves advance for the first time to the next round in the US Open Cup qualifiers after getting a late goal in the 120th minute with 10 men to get the victory over Deportivo Lake Mary 2-1.
After a scoreless 90 minutes both teams regrouped for extra time. In the 96th minute, Gui Salvagno broke the deadlock for Deportivo Lake Mary to give his team the lead early in the additional half. The Wolves midfielder Akeem Flemmings received a red after getting his second yellow for a late tackle and was sent off. In the 113th minute Patrick Bond equalizes for the Orlando FC Wolves. OFC pushed forward late in the match to get a winner as the match look towards penalties but in the 120th minute Grant Blackhurst dribble past two defenders and blast the game winning shot past the keeper for the victory. This is the first qualifying win for the Wolves and will await their next challenge in the second round.
CD Huateras poses for a team photo before the club’s 2020 US Open Cup qualifying match vs. FC Millenium. Photo: CD Huateras
FC Millennium International (USASA / UPSL) 2:3 CD Huateras (ANFEEU / Woodbridge Soccer League)
CD Huateras, one of the five Asociacon Nacional Futbol en USA (ANFEEU) entries, came back to win their debut match in the qualifying tournament, edging FC Millennium, 3-2. Eryck Martines gave FC Millennium, the home team, an early lead with a goal in the first minute. CD Huateras would equalize with a goal by Christian Najar around the 30th minute. After halftime, Erick Colindres would score around the 60th minute to give FC Millennium the lead back. Then, CD Huateras would snatch the lead back. With about 10 minutes to play, CD Huateras was awarded a penalty kick which was converted by George Urias. Then, two minutes later, Kevin Echevaria would complete the comeback with the game-winning goal.
Alianza FC poses for a team photo before the club’s 2020 US Open Cup qualifying match vs. Doradus FC. Photo: Alianza FC
Doradus FC (ANFEEU / Woodbridge Soccer League) 1:2 Alianza Futbol Club (ANFEEU / Woodbridge Soccer League)
After the Asociacon Nacional Futbol en USA (ANFEEU) made it’s US Open Cup qualifying debut last year with two entries (Virginia United qualified). The ANFEEU now has five entries for the 2020 tournament, and the opening round featured two clubs from that organization, with both of them hailing from the Woodbridge Soccer League (Va.). In this game, Alianza FC edged Doradus FC 2-1 to advance to Round 2.
The difference in the game was two first half goals from Mauricio Martinez and Everton Bailey. Doradus pulled one back in second half stoppage time but their late push wasn’t enough as Alianza moved on in their qualifying debut.
Florida Soccer Soldiers (USASA / UPSL) 2:0 Red Force FC (USASA / UPSL) One of last year’s best underdog stories, the Florida Soccer Soldiers, faced a big test in the First Round of the qualifying tournament as they try to return to the US Open Cup. They hosted fellow Miami-based club Red Force FC, who have qualified four times (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018), and came away with a 2-0 win. Their success last year, which saw them reach the Third Round of the US Open Cup, and upsetting professional side Charlotte Independence, may have contributed to the loss of some key players who were signed by bigger clubs. But the team is back and they got on the board early when Sebastian Aldunate scored from an Andres De Somocurcio cross in the 7th minute. After going into the halftime break up 1-0, the Soccer Soldiers doubled their lead early in the second half with De Somocurcio getting one of his own off a rebound.
Players from FC Union Jerez celebrate during their 2020 US Open Cup qualifying match against Gam United FC. Photo: Colorado Soccer Magazine
Gam United FC (US Club Soccer / Mountain Premier League) 1:2 FC Union Jerez (USSSA / Colorado Premier League)
In a hard-fought contest, FC Union Jerez bested GAM United 2-1. GAM started brightly with a goal from Triston Austin in the 2nd minute. Jerez equalized in the 23rd minute through Cristian Rodriguez, and then Ismael Rodriguez Jr. converted a game-winning penalty kick early in the second half. With the victory, FC Union Jerez advance to the second qualifying round for the first time.
Players from Lansdowne Yonkers FC get some instructions from their head coach before their match against Clifton Elite FC in the 2020 US Open Cup qualifying tournament. Photo: Lansdowne Yonkers FC
Clifton Elite FC (USASA / Garden State Soccer League) 2:4 Lansdowne Yonkers FC (USASA / Cosmopolitan Soccer League) By Michael Battista Four first half goals were enough to launch Lansdowne Yonkers FC past Clifton Elite FC, 4-2. Yonkers, the two time US Open Cup proper qualifier, controlled possession for the first 45 and over-ran the Clifton defense. Dean Dillon, a recent Lansdowne signee from League of Ireland Premier Division side Shamrock Rovers, scored twice including the opener in the 24th minute. After being fed the ball, Dillon chipped a shot from the top right of the penalty area over the keeper’s head. David Ardvidsson slammed in another goal in the 37th minute off a missed cross from the opposite corner. Before halftime, two defensive errors in the 44th and the first minute of stoppage time, cost Clifton. A failed ball pickup by Clifton keeper Ryan Linder, allowed Nicolai Andersen and Dillon to put the game out of reach for the Garden State Soccer League side. The second half saw more even play as Lansdowne slowed down, giving Clifton a chance to push up. Frustration finally bubbled into results when team captain Isimohi Bello scored twice in stoppage time, the first off a headed Clifton free-kick and the second from a run up the right side after Yonkers restarted. The former Lansdowne player, who was with the team during its 2016 Open Cup run to the Third Round, had one more chance but couldn’t cut the lead to one before the final whistle.
Lansdowne returns to the Second Round of Cup qualifying after being eliminated in its first game last year by fellow Cosmopolitan Soccer League side and three-time USOC champions, New York Pancyprian-Freedoms.
Livonia City FC poses for a team photo before their 2020 US Open Cup qualifying match against Wayne County Sporting. Photo: Livonia City FC
Livonia City FC (USASA / Michigan Premier Soccer League) 2:2 (5:4 PK) Wayne County Sporting (USASA / Michigan Premier Soccer League) By David Hebestreit A late night match in Southeast Michigan turned into quite the thriller as Livonia City FC and Wayne County Sporting went to penalty kicks under the lights.
Wayne County Sporting, making their qualifying debut, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in just over a half hour, with Diego Barajas firing a shot that was saved before Ahmed Al Shareefi put the rebound into the back of the net in the 7th minute. In the 31st minute, Edwin Rodriguez drew a penalty kick that was converted by Barajas to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Livonia City fought back, as Ardit Dushkaj scored in the 57th minute and later converted an equalizing penalty kick in second half stoppage time to send the match into extra time.
A late red card for Livonia City left them to play with 10 men for both extra time periods, but Wayne County Sporting could not take advantage and the match went to penalty kicks. Down 3-2 after four rounds of penalty kicks, Livonia City converted its fifth kick then denied the fifth attempt from Wayne County Sporting to send it into sudden death penalty kicks. In the eighth round, Livonia City converted and keeper Erik VerHoef made the save to send the hosts on to the next round of qualifying. It was a game of redemption for Livonia, who were eliminated in their qualifying debut last year in a penalty kick shootout to FC Maritsa (St. Louis) in the Third Round. Had they advanced, they would have played in a “Win & You’re In” game in the final round.
Oxnard Guerreros FC pose for a team photo before their 2020 US Open Cup qualifying match against Santa Monica United FC. Photo: Oxnard Guerreros FC
Oxnard Guerreros FC
(USASA / UPSL)
Santa Monica United FC
(USASA / UPSL)
A pair of second half goals propelled Oxnard Guerreros FC to a 2-0 win over Santa Monica United FC. After playing to a 0-0 tie through half time, Raul Yepez scored in the 65th minute to put the home side up 1-0. Jesse Tamayo then found the back of the net seven minutes later to extend Oxford’s lead to two, which is where it would finish to give Oxnard its first qualifying win in team history.
(US Club Soccer / LIGA NorCal)
(USASA / UPSL)
A trio of second half goals saw Academica SC claim a 4-1 win over PV United. The team is seeking to qualify for the US Open Cup through the qualification tournament for a second straight year. Cody Golbad opened the scoring in the 15th minute, pouncing on a loose ball in the box and finding the back of the net. Ramiro Ceja added the second in the 48th minute on a header and then tallied his second, the team’s third, in the 60th minute, both on assists from Golbad. A goal from PV United in the 66th minute saw the visitors try to claw their way back in at 3-1, but a 78th minute goal from Luis Hernandez ended any questions about the final result, and Academica SC closed out the 4-1 win.
Matt Fondy of Olympic Club steps up to take a penalty kick against JASA RWC in the 2020 US Open Cup Qualifying tournament. Photo: 3pointsport (IG)
JASA RWC (USASA / UPSL) 0:4 Olympic Club (USASA / San Francisco Soccer Football League)
Solid performances on offenses, aided by a plethora of former professional talent, and at the back led to a 4-0 win for Olympic Club as they traveled to play JASA RWC.
A hard-fought first half seemed destined to head into the break with the score knotted at zeroes, but a penalty shortly before halftime gave Olympic Club an opportunity to break the deadlock. Former Chicago Fire and North Carolina FC player Matt Fondy stepped up and shot left, while JASA’s Alan Cruz dove right, giving the club a 1-0 lead.
Just four minutes into the second half Olympic Club’s momentum continued as Diego Rovira finished off a corner kick to double his team’s lead. The 65th minute saw Fondy juke around the JASA defenses before finding former Seattle Sounder Aaron Kovar charging up the left side. A low slam into the opposite corner was enough to get passed an extending Cruz in net. Thomas Sanner, formerly of the Vancouver Whitecaps, headed in the final goal in the 72nd minute.
Players from Athletic Katy FC pose for a team photo before the club’s 2020 US Open Cup qualifying match against Houston FC. Photo: Athletic Katy FC
SATURDAY, SEPT. 28
Athletic Katy FC (USASA / UPSL) 3:3 (5:4 PK) Houston FC (USASA / UPSL)
When Athletic Katy jumped out to a 3-0 halftime lead, it appeared to be an easy night for the home side against Houston FC. And when Houston’s backup goalkeeper, who replaced the starter in the 26th minute, was sent off in the 75th minute, the game appeared all but over. The emergency goalkeeper was Chris Gooding, a young player just a couple years removed from high school soccer with no experience wearing the goalie gloves. However, despite playing down a man with an inexperienced goalie, Chance Arney, who scored the opening goal for Houston in the 49th minute, added another in the 86th minute, and a stoppage time equalizer from the penalty kick to send the match into extra time. After two scoreless extra time periods, and a delay when the lights went out at the stadium, the match went to penalty kicks. There, Athletic Katy prevailed 5-4 to advance to the next round. [+] FULL MATCH REPORT