Creating a large lead in the first half of the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup would place the Los Angeles Football Club in the next round after defeating Orange County Soccer Club, 5-1.
“Yeah, one round, which was the objective tonight is happy with the goals we scored, the quality of the football, and the goals were excellent. Something we’ve been working on and wanting to improve, not just playing successfully, meaning giving around further getting three points in the league, but scoring beautiful goals,” LAFC head coach, Steve Cherundolo said.
At the sound of the whistle, LAFC came onto the pitch full force and within the first minute had their first shot straight shot on goal. While that opporunity passed, the momentum for that moment did not lighten up.
However, OCSC would return the same energy and a shot from almost mid-field would barely brush the fingers tips of LAFC goalie John McCarthy and go over the post thus losing OCSC’s closest opportunity to being first on the board.
In the 13th minute, LAFC in its offensive push at the top of the box Danny Musovski would complete a pass from Jose Cifuentes and hit the lower far corner of the post that was just out of reach of the OCSC goalie’s hand.
Following the goal, OCSC didn’t lose sight of its energy and was quick to try and make a turnaround. OCSC held off the LAFC offense for as long as they could and tried to create meaningful offensive strides.
Yet, in a breakaway move during LAFC’s offensive advance a volley from Diego Palacios into the mid of the goalie box would find the foot of Cristian Arango and back into the net.
By the 34th minute, the 2-0 score would be in LAFC’s favor.
Now trailing behind, OCSC began to lose its formation just a bit and would continue to fend off the LAFC offense.
In the final minute of the half, OCSC goalie, Patrick Rakovsky stepped to the side of the post to block a potential shot. However, Musovski saw the chance to pass the ball to his teammate Arango who had a clear shot of the unguarded side of the goal.
Arango would gain his second goal of the night and lengthen the lead to 3-0.
As the second half was underway, both teams entered the field with the same determination and aggression. It was evident that LAFC wanted to keep a clean slate but OCSC was eager to get at least one goal in.
However, that heated play would only lead to a card being awarded during the play in the 55th minute. In a defensive move, LAFC Palacios would commit a foul that would give him the first and only yellow of the match.
In a round of substitutions in the 63rd minute, LAFC Cal Jennings and Carlos Vela would be assets for the team.
Just a few minutes later in the 68th minute, Jennings would be added to the list of scores after a pass from fellow teammate Franco Escobar led him to in front of the box, for a clean shot.
“It was awesome. It’s something you know that when I signed here, I was dreaming about, you know, scoring in front of a crowd and the 3252 and it happened to me so I’ll take it. Whether it’s one in the six-yard box or outside the box, every goal counts,” Jennings said.
LAFC would lead 4-0, but that would change again in the next few minutes.
In the 71st minute, in another swift offensive push, off the right side of the field, Vela would make a short pass to the center of the goalie box where Musovski would claim his second goal of the night.
With the lead now 5-0, OCSC still battled to at least get one goal and their efforts would finally be awarded in the 73rd minute.
OCSC Erick Torres would find himself in front of the goalie and take a shot that was passed to him by his teammate Tommy McCabe and make the score 5-1.
“We want to play our game and put the game on our terms. And every minute, that doesn’t always work out,” Cherundolo said. “But I’m not too concerned with the scoreline, we want to play our style of play and we’re trying to do that at every moment possible.”
The goal seemed to put a fire into the OCSC and put more pressure on LAFC’s defense. However, that would not be enough to even out the score.
The match would conclude with a score of 5-1, in LAFC’s favor and eliminate OCSC from the competition. It was the most goals scored by LAFC in the club’s brief history that includes two previous Open Cup appearances.
LAFC’s next opponent in the U.S. Open Cup will be determined in the next drawing on Friday, but until then they return their focus back on their spring season.
“In terms of who we play next. We’ll just have to wait and see the draw. I don’t think we’re thinking too much about it yet until we see who we’re playing and then we’ll do our preparation after that,” Musovski said.