In a nail-biting end in Round 4 of the U.S Open cup qualifier, Capistrano FC pulled off a 3-2 win in a penalty shootout over Orange County FC.
“I thought it was wide open ; it’s back and forth. They had big moments, and we had some big moments, but it just felt like the team that made the least mistakes would win the game. It’s just one of those games you hold your breath,” Capo FC’s head coach Peter Carey said.
As the first half commenced, it was evident that both teams were motivated to gain the lead. With time winding down on the clock, it was a possession battle between both teams. However, OC FC maintained possession more in the first 25 minutes with several close opportunities but could not finish them.
Slowly the match turned into a 50/50 possession, with both teams taking any opportunity to make offensive plays, only to end with a save or loss of the ball. Any mistake could have let either team gain the upper hand; however, defensively, both teams were working to keep the score at a draw.
Any close chance either OC FC or Capo FC would miss just added to the game’s intensity. Minor fouls were made, but it wouldn’t be until the 29th minute that Capo FC’s Brayan Herrera would be given a yellow card.
A second yellow card would be given out in the 37th minute to Capo FC’s Marcos Cervantes.
OC FC regained possession in front of Capo FC’s goal for three minutes but failed to make a goal because Capo FC’s goalie Nathan King made back-to-back saves to end their offensive push.
Nearing the end of the half, the score would remain 0-0, and a final yellow card would be given for this half to Capo’s FC Oliver Caprine in the 44th minute.
The second half was much like the first half. The consistency of possession remained between the two teams; the only difference that could be seen was the aggression and intensity the Capo players had come into the half with.
“We had enough to pull it off. And that we’ve, we felt we wanted a little bit more. And so you know, we were working hard for the golden calm, but we were able to keep them from scoring too,” Carey said.
Tempers slowly began to flare between players, and minor fouls became more frequent. This led to OC FC’s Cody Shelton being awarded his team’s first and only yellow card in the match.
There would be no goals made by either team as they reached the end of the regulation period; the match headed to overtime.
The tension is now at all-time high between the teams to score and claim their spot in the U.S. Open Cup.
However, that was still a challenging quest as play continued to be a struggle for possession. The first 15 minutes of overtime remained scoreless. It was in the second half of overtime that OC FC would be able to change the score.
In the 115th minute, on a run, an OC FC player was fouled inside the goalie box, which was quickly awarded a penalty kick, creating the opportunity for what could have been the game-winning goal. However, a minute before, the sideline referee called offside on the OC FC player who made the initial run, thus retracting the penalty call.
Remaining scoreless in overtime, the teams now faced a penalty shootout. The first two players from OC FC and Capo FC made their shots. The following third player for both teams had their shots blocked by the goalie, still leaving the score at 2-2.
With the final two players left for both teams, the tense atmosphere loomed over the players and the crowd. Capo FC’s Hevany Ramos would make his goal, ultimately the game-winning goal. OC FC would miss the final three penalty kicks losing their chance to be in the U.S. Open Cup.
“We’ve created a platform for guys to play at a high level and continue to chase a dream … Everything’s positive with the Group. We’re a tight group … We come from a small community, so it’s a tight group of guys. It’s exciting because of all the work and commitment and stuff we make these guys do, and it’s paying off..” Carey said. “We’re enjoying the ride right now. We’re gonna keep pushing.”