After two consecutive tournaments were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup finally resumed this past week with 24 games on the schedule. The Open Division Local qualifying tournament for the 2022 US Open Cup kicked off with mostly amateur clubs from across the country seeking to punch their ticket to the 107th edition of the United States national championship.
Unfortunately, the story of the first two rounds of the competition were the number of games that were not played. Six games were forfeited, including two more that were postponed (one of the postponed games was due to weather). The most popular complaint among the teams that withdrew from the competition, and even some of them that played, but had to compete without a full roster, was the difficulties with registering players with the United States Soccer Federation. Teams that spoke to TheCup.us generally complained about additional paperwork that was required, which made it difficult to clear enough players by the established deadlines.
However, on the field, one of the themes of the first and second rounds has been the new blood that advanced. Out of the 17 teams that won, only seven of them are clubs that have qualified for the US Open Cup in the past.
The qualifying tournament will last four rounds this year, but the first round only features four games, two of them featuring California teams and the other two with Florida teams. After this week, the teams that received a first round bye from the Southeast and West regions will play their second round games, while the Central and Northeast region teams will play their Round 3 games over the Oct. 16-17 weekend.
2022 US Open Cup Qualifying Results/Schedule
Second Qualifying Round (Southeast, West), Third Qualifying Round (Central, Northeast): Oct. 16-17
Third Qualifying Round (Southeast, West), Fourth Qualifying Round (Central, Northeast): Nov. 20-21
Fourth Qualifying Round (Southeast, West): Dec. 18-19
Below is a summary of every game from the opening week of the tournament.
All games are Round 2 unless otherwise noted
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2021
Peak Eleven FC (USASA/Colorado Soccer Association)
FC Denver (USASA/Colorado Soccer Association)
Peak Eleven advances, 4-3 in penalty kicks
Peak Eleven FC poses for a team photo after the club’s 4-3 PK win over FC Denver in the 2022 US Open Cup qualifying tournament. Photo: Peak XI
Two-time US Open Cup qualifiers FC Denver came out and looked like the more experienced of the two Rocky Mountain sides, controlling possession for the better part of the first half; though Peak Eleven (out of the Mountain Premier League) did create some chances of their own on the counter. FC Denver forward Cesar Castillo had multiple clear chances on goal, but ultimately neither side could convert and halftime came with no goals scored.
Denver kept up the pressure coming out of the break and created several more threatening chances, but failed to capitalize. Castillo, a former United States national arena team player, continued to threaten Peak’s backline, but momentum began to swing towards Peak Eleven around the 50th minute and Denver picked up multiple yellow cards as frustration began to set in. Both sides would have chances to put the game away late, but neither could convert and extra time came calling.
An extra 30 minutes still could not separate the sides and penalties were required to decide who would advance. Denver converted two of their first three, while Peak could only convert one of their first three. But Peak dug deep and would go on to score their last four in a row to move on to the next round of qualifying in October. (Full recap by Jim Coppock)
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2021
FC Union Jerez (USASA/Colorado Soccer Association)
Harpos FC (USASA/Colorado Soccer Association)
In a rematch of a 2020 Colorado Super League semifinal, three-time US Open Cup qualifiers Harpos FC took down FC Union Jerez 1-0, courtesy of a 39th minute tap-in from Cody Stratton. Stratton scored after Jerez goalkeeper Samuel de Jesus Benitez Tovar bobbled an incoming cross. The lone goal proved decisive.
Jerez, in their third attempt at qualifying for the US Open Cup, were awarded a penalty in the 10th minute after Harpos goalkeeper Jacob Lissek collided with Jerez’s Marco Antonio Ochoa Gutierrez, Jr. Lissek left the game after being knocked unconscious and was believed to have suffered a concussion. But his backup, Hayden Rus, was able to save the ensuing penalty and Jerez would not manage to find an equalizer as the match went on.
Harpos won their opening round qualifier for the sixth consecutive year and will advance to the third round of qualifying in October. (Full recap By Jim Coppock)
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2021
Ukrainian Nationals (USASA/USL of Pennsylvania)
Philadelphia Lone Star FC (USASA/UPSL)
Saturday’s first match of the day also featured the most goals scored as Philadelphia Lone Star saw five different players put their name on the scoresheet in their 9-2 victory over fellow Philadelphia side Ukrainian Nationals. The 3 p.m. kickoff at John Bartram High School in Philadelphia didn’t appear to phase either side.
Lone Star started the match at a blistering pace and never looked back from there. 23 minutes into the first half, four goals had already been scored with the Stars leading 3-1 thanks to goals from Patrick Singbah, Anthony Allison and Kanibah Kutu-Akoi. That scoreline held until halftime, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long.
Bill Walleekendeh and Sean Murray added second half goals for Lone Star, who held a commanding 5-1 lead in the 60th minute and would not let it slip away. Ukrainian Nationals managed to pull one back via Mikhail Krauchuk (who scored the first goal as well), but it would prove futile as Lone Star found the net four more times to win it going away. In the end, Walleekendeh finished with a hat trick, while Singbah and Kutu-Akoi each added a pair themselves. Lone Star advances to next month’s third round of qualifying. (By Matt Ralph of BrotherlyGame.com – Full match report here)
IASC Boom (USASA/Rochester District Soccer League)
Pittsburgh City United FC (USASA/UPSL)
NOTE: IASC Boom are an entry that is a combination of two separate clubs: Roc City Boom of the UPSL and the Italian American Sports Club. The IASC has a rich history that dates back to at least the 1950s (1948?). The club also won the 1963 Amateur Cup under the name Rochester Italian-American.
In a battle of newer clubs with contrasting styles and backgrounds, it was the team with more experience and one that exercised more patience, the Roc City Boom who would advance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup qualifying round, handing upstart Pittsburgh City United FC a humbling 4-0 defeat at No Offseason Sports Field in Russellton on Saturday afternoon. The venue was a late change after the game was originally scheduled to play in the nearby town of Monroeville, Pa.
After a scoreless first half with both sides struggling to find their form, Roc City made some halftime adjustments, then took command of the match in the final 45 minutes, as Anthony Rozzano capitalized on an early second half penalty kick opportunity, then Austin Gerber took it from there, scoring the next three goals to complete an Open Cup qualifying hat trick.
“They say patience is a virtue,” Marc Mandel, Roc City Boom’s head coach said after the match. “We played to our strengths, held the ball, moved it around, then capitalized on our chances.”
It was the first Open Cup win for Roc City Boom, a club that was founded in 2019, and has already earned some hardware in Western New York based competitions.
In its first-ever appearance in the US Open Cup qualifying tournament and as the lone amateur outfit from the Pittsburgh region to enter the competition, City United struggled to sustain its attack and lost its legs late in the match, leading to a harsh and humbling scoreline. United began play in its first-ever season in the UPSL just a month ago, amassing a 3-1 record.
“Our most consistent thing we did all day was our inconsistency,” City United’s head coach Michael Monsour said when offering his modest assessment of his club after the match. “And that can happen with a young team. Some of our veterans were inconsistent as well. And I was too. I probably made some changes that we probably didn’t need to do. They’re going to learn from it. They’re going to grow from it. I am going to grow from it. And I am going to learn from it too” (By John Krysinsky – Read his full recap at Pittsburgh Soccer Now)
New York Pancyprian Freedoms (USASA/Eastern Premier Soccer League)
New Amsterdam FC 2 (USASA/Eastern Premier Soccer League)
NY Pancyprian Freedoms advance after New Amsterdam FC 2 withdrew
A little more than five hours before kickoff, New Amsterdam FC 2 posted to social media that the club was withdrawing from the US Open Cup qualifying tournament. No reason was given. This means, three-time US Open Cup champion New York Pancyprian Freedoms advance to Round 3. The Freedoms are seeking the club’s first US Open Cup berth since 2016.
Alianza Futbol Club (ANFEEU/Woodbridge Soccer League)
Districtonia Futbol (ANFEEU/Woodbridge Soccer League)
Districtonia Futbol advances after Alianza FC withdrew
According to the host Districtonia Futbol, their fellow Woodbridge Soccer League rival Alianza FC withdrew from the competition. The reason given was that Alianza was set to take part in the semifinals of the Copa Megamart that same day, and were unable to reschedule. The Copa Megamart is a competition that gives the champion $6,000 and sends the team to El Salvador to play against professional teams. (NOTE: Alianza would advance to the final of the Copa Megamart, 3-0 on aggregate)
Miami Sun FC (USASA/UPSL)
City Soccer FC (USSSA/NSL)
NOTE: This game was originally designated a “First Qualifying Round” match. However following Miami Beach CF’s removal from the competition the game was re-designated a “Second Qualifying Round” match. Miami Sun FC will next play in November’s Third Qualifying Round.
City Soccer FC wore down Miami Sun FC and won, 3-2, in the only match involving Florida teams to actually play out. The two first-time US Open Cup qualifying entrants tallied up multiple fouls with three of the five goals coming from the spot.
The visitors got on the board first in the 9th minute. A free kick from the right side, just outside the box, was knocked just past the line by Matias Perez Chacon. City goalkeeper Fernando Cortes Jr. and others argued it never crossed but the sideline official stood firm. Ten minutes later while on an attack one of City’s players was taken down just over the penalty area line and while his teammate was running down the right side. Jesus Escobar calmly converted straight down on net to even the score in the 20th minute. The home side took the lead not long after Ricky Tapia finished a sliding shot on net right in front of the keeper in the 29th minute. His team held the lead for the rest of the match.
The Sun goalkeeper took down a City attacker on a breakaway in the 34th minute resulting in another penalty. Escobar once again converted from the spot two minutes later to make it 3-1. Overall both teams tried to use speed to their advantage. When that failed, Sun FC employed a more physical approach in an attempt to either slow down or drag down City Soccer.
As the game progressed the sky darkened with both the sun setting and storms rolling in. In the distance cracks of lighting joined the field lights illuminating West Palm Beach. Both teams played on and the Sun converted their own penalty in the 82nd minute, scored by Inaki Barroso, but could not equalize.
The 30 or so fans at Gaines Park celebrated with the victors before everyone tried to leave before the storm arrived. (By Michael Battista)
Corinto FC (ANFEEU/Woodbridge Soccer League)
DC Cheddar (USASA/District Sports Premier League)
After a back-and-forth first half, DC Cheddar used three second half goals to advance with a commanding 5-1 victory over Corinto FC.
Both teams managed to put one on the board mid-way through the first half and DC Cheddar tallied one more just before halftime to take a 2-1 lead; a lead that they would not relinquish. Cheddar needed less than 30 minutes of the second half to put the game away. By the 71st minute they had increased their total to five and that was all that was needed to see them through to next month’s third round of qualifying. DC Cheddar goals were scored by Quinn Conner, Jon Okafor, Tristan Schnader, Andrew Blickle (PK), and Manu Reinert.
D’Feeters Kicks SC (USCS/The Roja League)
Lone Star Republic (USSSA/Dallas Soccer Alliance)
D’Feeters Kicks SC advance after Lone Star Republic withdrew from the tournament
Lone Star Republic saw the writing on the wall earlier in the week. They were unable to register enough players for the weekend’s qualifier against D’Feeters Kicks SC. So they withdrew from the competition so that they could cancel their field reservation. Later in the week, USASA president John Motta tweeted that the “USSoccer will NOT require teams to complete the 1st registration forms for all of the players for this weekend’s @opencup games.”
Unfortunately, that tweet was posted on Sept. 14, and Lone Star had already canceled their field reservation. After unsuccessfully trying to find a new venue, Lone Star announced that they would forfeit.
Springfield FC (ANFEEU/Woodbridge Soccer League)
Northern Virginia FC (USASA/Eastern Premier Soccer League)
On a steamy night in Virginia, Northern Virginia FC (NoVa) brought the heat, downing Springfield FC 2-0 to book their spot in the next round of US Open Cup Qualifying.
Despite the two sides’ history of goal-scoring prowess, the first half saw both sides play a much more conservative style. Playing against a side that were focused on counter-attacking and playing ten men behind the ball, NoVa used the experience of midfielder Brandon Williamson to try and draw out their opponents. It nearly paid off in the 45th minute when Williamson’s cross found a wide open KJ Nadeau who fired a strong shot on target. Springfield goalkeeper Alejandro Sosa responded with a diving stop, knocking the ball out of play.
Springfield’s best attacking chance came in the 32nd minute when Jairo Guevara broke past the NoVa midfield and into their defensive third. The speedy midfielder gave the NoVa defense a bit of a scare but was unable to connect with a teammate for a shot on target. Credit to NoVa defender Aaron Etienne for matching Guevara’s movements and forcing him into the inside to end the attacking chance.
In the second half, NoVa came out of the gate swinging looking to build off of the momentum gained in the first forty-five. In the 48th minute, Williamson laced a high curving ball into former James Madison University standout Brandon Clegg who headed home the go-ahead goal. NoVa would put the match away in the 83rd minute when Eric Calvillo took advantage of an opening in the Springfield defense, burying a twisting strike from just inside the eighteen yard box.
Northern Virginia FC, who also has a team in USL League Two, hasn’t qualified for the US Open Cup since 2000, when they were known as the Northern Virginia Royals and were members of the D-3 Pro League (Div. 3 professional). In 1999, the Royals made their Open Cup debut, but were one-and-done. (By Sean Maslin)
San Antonio Runners (USSSA/NSL)
Southwest FC (USASA/UPSL)
After an unseasonably hot afternoon, the temperature in El Paso dropped into the high 70s by kickoff time between Southwest FC and the San Antonio Runners. The San Antonio side, a club team that originated from the University of Texas San Antonio, had made the ten-hour drive that same day, arriving in El Paso around 3p. With so many clubs deciding to not participate this year, that level of dedication may seem surprising from the small central Texas club, but for Mason Rankin, GM for Runners, “playing in the US Open Cup is one of the big, fundamental principles of our club … the main goal is to play San Antonio FC at Toyota Field in the Open Cup.” But once the match kicked off, that goal would quickly slip out of the visiting team’s grasp.
Just minutes in, with San Antonio working the ball into an attacking position, Southwest stole possession and quickly broke up the right side of the field. The ball slipped through to Alex Medina who slotted the ball past the keeper for the opening goal. That became the story of the first half, Runners attempting to maintain possession and Southwest quickly counterattacking, oftentimes through long direct passes that seemed to catch the visiting side off-guard. Alexis Gomez would score twice in the first half, on quick counters which really exposed the speed differential between the two sides.
Leading 3-0, the second half was more of the same, as Southwest could smell blood in the water. At the 57-minute mark Arturo Chairez scored on a one-on-one with the keeper, who got a hand to the ball, only to watch it trickle into the goal.
With the score at 4-0, Southwest continued to dominate the ball and the scoring chances as Pedro Marquez scored in the 61st minute. San Antonio did manage a goal soon after when Southwest’s keeper made a crushing tackle in the box that was deemed a foul. Jonathan Esquivel took the penalty kick and slotted the ball to the keeper’s right and into the net.
The 5-1 scoreline would only hold for a few minutes as Gomez completed his hat trick for Southwest. That would prove to be the final score in El Paso with Southwest winning in front of around 100 home fans, 6-1. (By Dan Vaughn of Protagonist Soccer)
Davis Legacy SC (USASA/UPSL)
FC Davis (USASA/NPSL)
FC Davis, the lone NPSL club competing in the opening weekend of 2022 US Open Cup qualifying, kept the league’s flag flying with a 4-3 win over local rivals Davis Legacy SC.
After a scoreless first half, the second half was an offensive explosion on both sides beginning with former Reno 1868 FC player Onah Power breaking the deadlock with a penalty kick goal for FC Davis in the 47th minute.Three minutes later, the Legacy answered back with a goal from Gabe Padilla off a corner kick.
Around the 75th minute, FC Davis took control of the match with back-to-back goals, one by Jorge Negrete and another by Wumi Aldetimi. The game appeared to be coming to a close with an FC Davis win, but Legacy managed to score two goals (one by Mike Mazzoni and another from former pro Anthony Grant) in the final few minutes of regulation to send the match into extra time.
FC Davis would restore order in the first period of extra time with a Ty Shikashio goal, assisted by Jacob Rudolph. The FC Davis defense would hold strong in the second extra time period and advance to Round 3 of the qualifying tournament which is expected to take place the weekend of Oct. 16-17.
Rebels SC (USASA/UPSL)
Gremio FC San Diego (USASA/UPSL)
In the final match of the US Open Cup’s opening day of qualifying, Rebels SC defeated Gremio FC San Diego in convincing fashion, slotting seven goals into the home team’s net. Hat tricks from both Arturo Hoyos Olvera and Marco Gutierrez led the way for their team in the battle of UPSL SoCal South Division sides.
After a relatively slow-paced opening in the first half, the match’s referee pointed to the penalty spot in the 27th minute in response to a Gremio FC foul in their box. Hoyos then converted from 12 yards out, securely placing the ball into the bottom-left corner, leaving no chance for Gremio’s goalkeeper.
This led to an onslaught of goals from the away side, where Rebels added four goals in quick succession, seeing Gutierrez, along with Julio Arreola adding to the scoresheet with a well-placed, curling shot from outside the box.
Despite adjustments made by Gremio FC in the second half, Rebels FC scored two more goals in the closing 45 minutes, one of which was a cheeky chip seeing the goalkeeper lobbed from nearly 30-yards-out. Finally, in the closing 10 minutes of the match, Gremio FC’s Matthias Solabode salvaged a goal for his side, ending the match with a 7-1 score.
Coming out of a short 2020 USOC campaign where Rebels SC fell to Chula Vista FC on penalty kicks in the Qualifying’s First Round, Saturday’s triumph marks Rebels first USOC competition win ever, making history for the club. Now, the team eagerly awaits their opponent for the second round of qualifying, hoping to be one of the few teams from the San Diego region to participate in the 2022 edition of the tournament.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2021
Unations FC (USASA/UPSL)
Brockton FC United (USASA/Bay State Soccer League)
The last time Brockton FC United participated in the US Open Cup qualifying tournament, they fell one win short of punching their ticket in 2020 (the tournament was ultimately canceled due to COVID-19).
They began their second qualifying run on Sunday with a 5-3 win over Unations FC at Randolph High School in Randolph, Mass. The two teams traded goals in the opening 10 minutes (Busuulwa scored for Unations in the opening minute, followed by Rilton Carvalho’s equalizer off a rebound 10 minutes later), but Brockton would quickly take control with three straight goals before halftime.
Leonardo Teixeira gave Brockton the lead in the 19th minute, followed by Carvalho’s second goal of the game in the 35th minute. Former New York Cosmos player Geo Alves made it 4-1 just before halftime.
Unations showed some signs of life in the second half as Mohamed scored in the 51st minute. But that momentum shift was short-lived as Alves scored his second of the game on an assist by Carvalho.
Unations would pull one more back when Gurung scored in the 67th minute, but the score would remain 5-3 as Brockton moved on to Round 3 (Oct. 16-17).
Vereinigung Erzgebirge (USASA/USL of Pennsylvania)
United German Hungarians (USASA/USL of Pennsylvania)
Vereinigung Erzgebirge (VE) went up early with goals from Kevin Smolyn and Derek Antonini and despite bending quite a bit, they didn’t break in closing out a 2-1 win over the United German Hungarians (UGH). It marked the start of their journey back to qualifying after not getting the opportunity to play in the Open Cup proper despite qualifying for the 2019 US Open Cup, which was ultimately canceled due to COVID-19.
Combination play early for the visitors at Temple University’s Ambler Campus was key in unlocking UGH’s defense. A cross off a quick restart from the right flank from Devlin Mettee ended up in the path of Smolyn, who opened the scoring just eight minutes in. The goal sparked some controversy because the referee was issuing a warning to the defender when the restart occurred, taking him out of the play.
Antonini, one of the standouts in the last successful qualifying run, doubled the lead in the 30th minute when Smolyn played a ball to Alec Neumann that he hit first time into the path of Antonini, who deposited it in the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Up 2-0, VE sat back and started to absorb more and more pressure as the game wore on. UGH found a goal in the 76th when Finn Reese stepped up to convert from the spot after a foul went against VE in the box. Reese nearly found an equalizer off a corner kick but his headed attempt hit off the right post and went out. Numerous other chances for UGH were near misses or wild shot attempts nowhere near frame in a game that went down to the wire.
VE, which was founded in 1969, will advance to Round 3, which is scheduled to take place the weekend of Oct. 16-17. (by Matt Ralph of BrotherlyGame.com)
Aegean Hawks FC (USASA/Washington Premier League)
Lynchburg FC (USASA/UPSL)
Lynchburg FC advances after Aegean Hawks FC withdrew from the tournament
Early Sunday morning Lynchburg FC announced on social media that it had advanced due to Aegan Hawks FC withdrawing from the competition. The reasoning, according to LFC, was due to the Hawks having “roster complications” and not being able to compete later that night. The D.C. based side became the fourth team to leave the competition and confirm it was due to these circumstances.
Lexington Landsharks (USCS/Ohio Valley Premier League)
FC Maritsa (USASA/Metro East Football Association)
FC Maritsa advance after Lexington Landsharks withdrew from the tournament
FC Maritsa advanced to the Third Qualifying Round after Lexington Landsharks forfeited their Sunday match. According to Maritsa leadership they were informed on Saturday that their opponent was having issues registering players ahead of the match. When reached for comment a representative from the Ohio Valley Premier League expressed frustration and promised more details would be coming forward.
NY Greek American SC (USASA/Eastern Premier Soccer League)
Oyster Bay United FC (USASA/UPSL)
Oyster Bay United advances 3-2 in a PK shootout
(Match broadcast, 2nd half only)
Oyster Bay United showed up at Darcy Field in Rockville Centre, NY with a big task in front of them. They arrived with just nine field players and two goalkeepers and standing across from them was four-time US Open Cup champion New York Greek American SC.
Oyster Bay asked goalkeeper Kevin Shannon to play as a forward and they began the game.
Despite playing without subs, OBU managed to keep the game scoreless for 120 minutes which sent the match into penalty kicks. In the end, they managed to advance in their Open Cup qualifying debut, 3-2 in the PK shootout, which leaves the Greeks winless in three qualifying attempts (0-3-0) since 2015.
Athletic Club of Sloan’s Lake (USASA/Colorado Super League)
Colorado Rovers (USASA/Colorado Super League)
Colorado Rovers defeated AC Sloan’s Lake 2-1 in a hot and testy affair at Victoria Sports Park.
The Rovers would open the scoring in the 6th minute on a beautiful run up the middle by Jordan Brandel. Rovers would continue to run the game at their pace as Sloan’s Lake attempted to find their footing. After the half-hour mark Sloan’s Lake would build several good attacks, but none would result in a shot. Jordan would continue to keep the Sloan’s Lake back line busy directing attack after attack up the right side.
The result of the continuous build up would culminate in a Sloan’s Lake own goal in the 23rd minute by Joe Esrock. The half would end 2-0 to Rovers.
The second half started with Rovers on the front foot, but that would be short lived. Sloan’s Lake quickly grew into the game, testing the Rovers’ defense through all channels. Three dangerous free kick opportunities, in the span of five minutes, near the hour mark would signal game on.
Just six minutes later, Sloan’s Lake player Isaac Smith sent in a cross but a coming together of three Rovers players in front of goal resulted in a second own goal of the day, cutting the Rovers lead to 2-1. The remainder of the game was fast and furious from end to end as both teams sought another goal. Second half stoppage time saw each team put a shot off the post.
With the victory the Rovers remain the only team left standing from the Colorado Premier League to advance to the Third Qualifying Round, the weekend of Oct. 16-17, against an opponent yet to be determined.
The Rovers are attempting to qualify for the US Open Cup for the first time since they punched their ticket to the 2013 and 2014 tournaments. (By Jim Coppock)
Gam United FC (USASA/Colorado Super League)
Boulder United FC (USSSA/Colorado Premier League)
Gam United’s hot start and strong defense gave them the cushion they needed as they defeated Boulder United FC, 3-0 at Broomfield Commons Grass Field in Broomfield, Colo.
They scored a pair of goals in the first 10 minutes of the match to set the tone. Former Colorado Super League Best XI player Zidani Baptiste scored in the 5th minute, only to see Felix Agyemang Jr. adding another four minutes later. Fabricio Baran coski scored the third goal in the 38th minute.
Gam United is attempting to qualify for the US Open Cup for the first time after three previous attempts. Their best run came in 2019 when they reached the third round where they fell to FC Denver.
Rockville SC (USASA/Maryland Major Soccer League)
CA United (ANFEEU/Woodbridge Soccer League)
Rockville SC poses for a team photo on the day of their 2022 US Open Cup qualifying match vs. CA United on Sept. 19, 2021. Photo: Rockville SC
Rockville SC overcame a brave performance from Woodbridge Soccer League side CA United, with a 2-1 extra time win. CA United played the entire match with just 10 players and managed to take Rockville to extra time.
The underdogs scored five minutes into the game and held the visitors scoreless for a majority of it. But Rockville’s Paul Tabe was able to find the back of the net in the 50th minute, off an assist from Brian Nolasco, to tie the game at one goal each. A deadlocked fourty minutes lead into extra time, where Bryan Navas Arguetta played hero. The Rockville man scored the game winner, assisted by Brian Nolasco, in the 100th minute.
After all the preparation he and his teammates put into preparing for the match Tabe was ecstatic that it all paid off.
“When you put in the work on the training ground, it will show under the bright lights on matchdays when the whole world is watching,” he said postgame. The group is also gearing up to open it’s season in the Maryland Major Soccer League Division 2 Capital Beltway Conference later this month.
Rockville advances to Round 3 (Oct. 16-17) in the club’s inaugural entry in the US Open Cup qualifying tournament.
Westchester United FC (USASA/UPSL)
New Jersey Alliance FC (USASA/UPSL)
Five unanswered goals lifted Westchester United FC over UPSL Northeast Conference rival New Jersey Alliance FC, 5-2. Coincidentally the two teams will meet again in league play this Saturday where New Jersey is currently undefeated in the young Fall season.
In the first half, the Alliance controlled the game. While WUFC was making better passes, their finishing and even getting close to the net was hampered. Meanwhile the home side had both speed and the ability to catch United on fast breaks. In the 12th minute, Toheeb Shodimu converted a penalty to give NJAFC the lead. Fifteen minutes later Jose Huerta, while being pressured on the right side, struck low and slipped a shot into the opposite side netting to make it 2-0.
Just before halftime, almost without warning, the game slowly began to shift. In the 45th minute, midfielder Ali Sami Deeb launched a long pass into the box. In the sea of players, the ball redirected off Christopher Ribet’s head and into the net to cut the deficit in half.
“That goal at the end definitely gave us a wake up call,” said WUFC head coach Antonio Corrado. “I think it put us back into the competition. And our halftime speech was very clear; ‘we have to go out there and play (this as if it was) a championship game.’”
From there his team took total control. Ribet, a former professional with the Los Angeles Force, scored again in the 49th minute to tie it up. The three other goals from Adetayo Adefioye (59’), Chris McGovern (61’), and a final nail by Teofilo Chavez (90+2’) were all deserved as the visitors remained clinical and tore apart Alliance’s lines.
Of note, Ribet was involved in a serious collision midway through the second half and needed to be helped off the field. He was in good spirits after the match, head wrapped up and all. While this was NJAFC’s “first” USOC match, the team absorbed Clifton Elite FC earlier this year (with the team kit still boasting Elite’s logo on the chest). That club was one-and-done in their qualifying debut back in 2020, losing to Lansdowne Yonkers FC, 4-2, on the same field. (by Michael Battista of Once a Metro – Full match report here)
Virginia United (USASA/Eastern Premier Soccer League)
Toros FC (ANFEEU/Woodbridge Soccer League)
Despite Toros FC’s best efforts, Virginia United held on in extra time to earn the 4-2 result and punch their ticket into the next round of 2022 US Open Cup qualifying.
In the first half, Virginia United started off strong using their speed on the outside to create attacking chances. That, in turn, led to a few nervy moments for the Toros FC defense but credit to their back four for maintaining the 0-0 scoreline early on. But the continued pressure forced the Toros defense out of their shape as the half wore on, giving the Virginia United space inside to operate. In the 39th minute, they exploited that additional space with forward Santos Pacheco squeezing in between the center-backs and knocking home the first goal of the match.
After falling behind late in the first half, Toros started the second 45 with a bit more urgency. Led by Iker Bustamante (a former DC United Youth Academy product) and Cristhian Osorio, Toros began weaving passes through the Virginia midfield looking for an opening to exploit. In the 70th minute, they found it with Osorio finding Bustamante deep in the Virginia box for Bustamante to net the equalizer.
Although both sides tried to pull some last-minute heroics, neither side could get their second and extra time came calling.
As they had done in the first half, Virginia struck first with Luis Aguilar scoring in the 93rd minute. But Toros struck back quickly with Hristo Bustamante finding space to score his second of the match. In the second period of extra time, Virginia pulled away. First with Pacheco getting a brace with a shot from just inside the eighteen. Before Toros could respond, Virginia put the match away with Thomas Corral hitting a shot from about thirty-five yards out.
Virginia United are attempting to qualify for the US Open Cup for the third year in a row, although they were denied a chance to compete in the tournament proper when the 2020 US Open Cup was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Recap and photos By Sean Maslin)
Athletic Katy FC (USSSA/NSL)
Houston Hotshots (USSSA/NSL)
(Match Broadcast – Part 1 & Part 2)
The Houston Hotshots (also known as Greenspoint FC Gunners) needed extra time to defeat Athletic Katy, 3-1 in a battle of Houston area clubs.
Athletic Katy, who were making the club’s second straight qualifying appearance, opened the scoring nine minutes into the match courtesy of Jhonaton Velasqez. The visitors would hold that lead until the halftime break but Houston would level the match two minutes into the second half on a goal from Hanif Mohammad.
Mohammad’s goal would be the last goal of regulation as the match went to extra time. However, just like the start of the second half, the Hotshots would score just a few minutes after emerging from the break. Jordan Velasco would give Houston a one goal lead in the 93rd minute and Julian Pavon would add the final goal of the game in the 107th minute to send Houston to the next round in their qualifying debut.
It was a physical match with 40 fouls between the two clubs (24 for AKFC, 16 for Houston). Another notable stat is that Houston had nine corner kicks, while Katy didn’t have a single one. The Hotshots will play in the Third Round the weekend of Oct. 16-17 against an opponent to be announced.
Azteca FC (USSSA/Colorado Super League)
Colorado Rush (USSSA/Colorado Super League)
Colorado Rush hosted Colorado Super League rivals Azteca FC at Long Lake Regional Park on Sunday. Azteca was notable, pre-pandemic, for having never lost a US Open Cup qualifying game until the final round of the 2020 competition. Azteca FC would take advantage of a shorthanded Colorado Rush side, beating them 4-1 to earn their eighth qualifying win in nine matches in club history.
The Rush side had only 10 players available for this game and they fought for the entire 90 minutes. They challenged every ball and seemed to win at least half of them. While the Rush were short a player on the field, Azteca had challenges of their own, having played six games over the weekend. Sunday’s evening match was their fourth of the day.
Beginning in just the 3rd minute, Koltyn Leitzinger would register the game’s first shot in anger, a short run up the center. Five minutes later, Azteca’s Eric Hernandez scored the first goal; an in-swinging ball from the left wing beating Lewis Wilcox to the back post.
A mere two minutes after that, Rush’s Brennan Austin leveled the score. Rush refused to back down, despite being shorthanded. Azteca regained the lead in the 18th minute when Jovany Herrera buried a 22-yard free kick.
After a 26th minute Azteca corner kick, a minor scuffle broke out at the top of the Azteca penalty area. Shoves, words and finger pointing were exchanged but when the dust settled, only yellow cards were issued to Tristan Austin (Rush) and Eric Hernandez (Azteca) — were handed out. The game would slow down significantly after this as Azteca imposed their pace on the game.
Thirty seconds into the second half, Rush would register another shot on goal, signaling they were not done trying to get back into the game. Azteca continued to try to control the pace as much as possible. In the 78th minute, Azteca took the contest a step too far when Jovany Herrera scored his second of the night beating Wilcox, who got fingers to the ball, from the right side of goal. The final nail came two minutes later when Adrian Gutierrez found a goal to make it 4-1.
Rush did put the ball in the net in the 88th, but it was ruled off for a foul on an Azteca defender.
Azteca Manager, Andy De La Rosa, said it was his boys that were trying to keep up with the 10-man Rush after playing six previous games that weekend.
Rush Manager, Joe Webb, said that his team played with incredible heart despite being down a man from the start.
With the win, Azteca FC advances to the third qualifying round, currently scheduled for Oct. 16-17, against an opponent still to be determined. (by Jim Coppock)
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2021
Deportivo Lake Mary FC (USASA/UPSL)
Orlando FC Wolves (USSSA/NSL)
Match originally scheduled for Sept. 18 at East Orange District Park; Christmas, Fla. (6:30 p.m.)
Orlando FC Wolves beat Deportivo Lake Mary FC 4-0 in a U.S. Open Cup qualifying battle between two Central Florida teams.
The match, held at a neutral location at East Orange District Park in Christmas, Florida, was originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, September 18. Heavy rain and lightning rolled in as both teams were warming up and the game was postponed.
Two goals for the Wolves came off corner kicks. An own goal came off Deportivo No. 5’s head in the 62nd minute and JP Lopez headed it in from a corner in the 77th minute. Orlando opened the scoring with a Cristian Serrano left-footed goal from 18 yards out, assisted by Joe O’Sullivan in the 23rd minute. O’Sullivan added a goal to his resume in the 84th minute as well, tapping-in a well placed cross from Hank Morton to make it 4-0.
This was the second year in a row Wolves beat Deportivo. In 2020, Wolves pulled out an extra-time winner against Lake Mary, 2-1, before falling to Nashville United in the next round. OFC Wolves most recently competed in the USASA Region 3 Amateur Cup this past year. The team reached the regional final but fell to, coincidentally, Nashville United.
This is the third year in a row that Lake Mary has taken part in the qualifying tournament, with the team still searching for it’s first USOC win. (by S.T. Cardinal, Ben Cohen contributed in the reporting)
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2021
Newtown Pride FC (USASA/Connecticut Soccer League)
Kendall Wanderers FC (USASA/Bay State Soccer League)
Match originally scheduled for Sept. 18 at Pine Banks Park; Malden, MA (4:00 p.m.)
Kendall Wanderers FC took its first step in qualifying for a second US Open Cup tournament as it defeat Newtown Pride FC, 1-0, off an extra time goal. This match was originally scheduled for last Saturday but was postponed due to roster clearance issues. Additionally the game was moved thirty minutes west to James P. Falzone Memorial Park in Waltham, MA from it’s original venue in Malden.
Neither team was ready to give up an inch during regulation. Kendall goalkeeper Bjorn Kammholz contended with Newtown set pieces all game and made multiple saves against them. Meanwhile his offense had a great look on net in the 49th minute when a corner kick was headed by Stephan Nkom just over the Newtown crossbar.
On the other side Newtown tried to play high and fast, which earned multiple set-pieces but not many convincing chances on net. The seven-time defending Connecticut Soccer League champions were lead by former National Premier Soccer League champion Tavoy “Bull” Morgan but were without normal team captain Mauro dos Santos. The Brazilian striker was not listed on the roster even as “not dressed”. Without him or not the team struggled to make deep runs into the Wanderers end without getting stuffed out for a goal kick.
After 90 minutes the teams entered two 15 minute extra time halves with penalty kicks looming. Kammholz made a huge save in the 101st when he charged out to stop an advancing Alencar Ventura, Jr. Under pressure and cutting towards the middle, Junior launched a shot towards net which Kammholz blocked out with his extended right arm. Five minutes later former Brown University soccer star Mitch Justus scored the lone of the game to give his team the lead. The final Pride chance to tie came in the 117th minute when a lose corner kick was headed on goal by Mohammed Kourouma. The shot from five yards off was directed right at Kammholz who smothered it.
The Wanderers last reached the tournament proper in 2018 after finishing a qualifying gauntlet against all Massachusetts teams. The group lost it’s first round match against PDL side Seacoast United Phantoms, 2-2 (6:5 pks), after forcing extra time with a 90th minute goal while down to ten men. Newtown Pride, winner of the 2019 USASA Amatuer Cup and a regular in qualifying dating back to 2013, was denied the club’s first-ever trip to the US Open Cup in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (by Michael Battista)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2021
Jackson Lions (USASA/Garden State Soccer League)
EFA Metro (USASA/UPSL)
After originally advancing via a forfeit, Jackson Lions FC finally reached the Third Qualifying Round after defeating EFA Metro, 3-0, at Lyndhurst Recreation Center. An own goal and red card for EFA sent the United Premier Soccer League side spiraling and goals from Daniel Pizzimenti & David Nigro sealed the win for the Garden State side.
The tale of the match went beyond the 90 minutes with EFA winning an appeal after having issues getting players registered for the original game on September 18. After the Lions agreed to a replay they nearly couldn’t field a full squad. Last minute calls and pleas to competition organizers smoothed things over with only a few hours left.
The back and forth contest could have gone either way but the young Metro squad made too many mistakes. Thomas Miazga, brother to USMNT player Matt Miazga, sent in the own goal in the first half and was later sent off after pulling down an attacking Jackson player early in the second half.
Jackson advances in the qualifying tournament for the third time ever (2017, 2019). They have played all but one of their eight tournament matches within their home state, with the lone exception being their first against Pennsylvania side Vereinigung Erzgebirge in 2017 qualifying. (Full recap By Michael Battista)