Contra Costa FC outlasted San Francisco Metro FC 8-7 in a penalty shootout to qualify for the US Open Cup for the first time in club history, after the match ended in a 1-1 draw. It was played on a cold, overcast Sunday afternoon at Salesian College Preparatory in Richmond, Calif.
As in previous Open Cup qualifying rounds, CCFC’s roster was largely made up of players from the club’s National Soccer Leaguue (NSL) affiliate, Atlético East Bay. Their starting lineup on Sunday averaged 20 years of age, while Metro fielded a more experienced squad, with an average age of 26.5.
Contra Costa appeared to be the stronger team early in the first half, but Metro’s Matt Fondy opened the scoring in the 24th minute, muscling his way through a crowd of players in the box. The 32-year-old striker had a 10-year pro career and helped Olympic Club of San Francisco qualify for the 2020 Open Cup, but their first round match vs. FC Davis was canceled due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Metro had several other chances in the remainder of the first half and the first few minutes of the second, including a shot in the 46th minute that hit the post and another effort from Fondy nine minutes later that went wide.
CCFC got on the board in the 61st minute, when Roberto Gonzalez scored on a penalty kick. Contra Costa also had a shot carom off the post in the 74th minute. Fondy had one last chance to win the match for Metro in regulation time in the 88th minute, but his shot was off target.
Contra Costa’s younger squad had the clear advantage in the extra session, but Metro’s goalkeeper Brian Ginell made a diving save on a shot by Octavio Munoz in the 103rd minute and stopped a shot from Cristian Garcia from point blank range in the 107th minute. Gonzales had one final opportunity in the 118th minute, on a curving free kick from close range that cleared Metro’s wall, but hit the side netting.
The penalty shootout was also evenly matched, with Ginell and Contra Costa goalkeeper Carlos Herrera making key saves and Herrera being yellow carded after his second infraction for coming off of the line too early.
Finally, in the 10th round, it was Ginell’s turn to take a kick and his shot went wide. Fernando Lara converted his kick for the win.
The victory capped off an eventful year for Contra Costa FC, which was founded in 2015 and recently completed its first season in the NPSL’s Golden Gate Conference. They were allowed to participate in local qualifying because the conference’s teams had no pathway to the Open Cup since they only played seven regular season matches last season due to the pandemic.
In addition to their ascension to the NPSL, CCFC’s ownership enhanced their player development program this year by acquiring majority ownership of a Liga 3 team from Portugal, Sporting Clube São João de Ver (SCSJV), as well as an interest in Thisted FC of Denmark’s Second Division. CCFC players will have an opportunity to be scouted by and potentially play for both of these European clubs.
Metro FC began playing in the San Francisco Football Soccer League in 2017 and recently completed its first season in the SFSFL’s Premier Division. Head coach Rose Shoen was hoping to achieve a major milestone, becoming the first woman to manage a team in the recorded history of the 107-year-old US Open Cup. While the historical records are not complete, TheCup.us has no record of a woman managing a team in the US Open Cup proper.