In its first ever US Open Cup match, Capistrano FC enjoyed a veteran-like second half to come-from-behind and advance to the Second Round of America’s oldest soccer tournament.
Hevany Ramos-Mota’s two goals and an assist led Capo FC in its 4-1 win over Ventura County Fusion in the First Round of the 2023 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Wednesday at Ventura College Sportsplex.
The game-winning goal was scored by Ramos-Mota in first half of stoppage time after the Fusion attack hit the post three times in the first 45 minutes.
“To walk out of here with a 4-1 result is an unbelievable result and a huge win for us,” Capo FC head coach Peter Carey said. “We have a youth club, and these guys are inspiring a bunch of kids back home.
“It’s bigger than just a game for us so we’re enjoying the moment we’re having right now.”
The hosts started the game on the right foot, scoring the game’s first goal just six minutes into the match through Jerry Desdunes’ back-post tap-in. For Desdunes, it marked the second tournament in a row that he has scored a goal. Last year, he scored the game-winning goal for the Northern Colorado Hailstorm (USL League One) in the 96th minute as they knocked off the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (USL Championship).
Just 10 minutes later, Capo FC equalized against the run of play when Ramos-Mota, surrounded by three players, surged into the box and crossed the ball to Joshue Gallardo for the close-range finish.
“It was a shitty start from us to be honest,” Carey said. “They had a lot of chances and it could have been a different result. But I think as the game went on, we found our rhythm and confidence, and I told these guys at the beginning of the game, ‘if we score our chances, we’ll win the game,’ and that’s what we did.”
Hevany Ramos Mota was the provider for @capistrano_fc‘s first … this time he is provided for the second and the 1-2 lead at the break!— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) March 23, 2023
B/R App » https://t.co/67qTSjohoj
B/R YouTube » https://t.co/qlQyFgXEKA#USOC2023 pic.twitter.com/7WT4VJ74oL
The Fusion ended the half in frustration after leading the shot column 9-2 after 30 minutes of play.
In the final 15 minutes of the first half, Ventura went on to hit the bar on three occasions while Capo FC equalized and brought the shot tally to 9-6.
Ramos-Mota went from provider to scorer three minutes into first half stoppage time when Sergio Vega nodded a cross back across the six-yard box for the former to knock the ball beyond the line for the lead.
“We were aware of that,” Ramos-Mota said postgame about his team’s underdogs tag going into this game. “No one believed in us, but we believed in us so we came here and we believed. We say every day in practice to believe so we came here and left with a win.”
In the second half, Capo FC went from looking like the timid newcomer, lucky to be ahead after 45 minutes, to showing that they belong in the US Open Cup.
What a performance!????⭐️— USL League Two (@USLLeagueTwo) March 23, 2023
The unplayable Mota controls and volleys into the bottom corner to give Capo FC a demanding 4-1 lead!???? pic.twitter.com/ja4VCyacFi
Just eight minutes into the second frame, Capo FC extended its lead via Parker Scalzo.
The forward lost his marker and pounced on a loose ball inside the box to make it 3-1 with 37 minutes left for Capo FC to hold onto and advance to the next round.
“We had our chances just didn’t put them away,” Fusion head coach Mike Elias said. “It could have been 4-0 before they scored their first and it’s a different game.”
With 13 minutes left, Ramos-Mota capped off his man of the match performance with his second goal of the night.
He received the ball with his back to goal, set himself up to turn and shoot in one motion, and finished past Ventura goalkeeper Matthew Escareno.
My player of the match, Hevany Ramos-Mota, 2 goals, 1 assist for the Capo FC striker against the Fusion:— Ignacio Cervantes (@ignaciocerva07) March 23, 2023
“We were aware of that,” Hevany said about the underdog tag his team got before the match. “No one believed in us, but we believed in us.”@opencup @usopencup @capistrano_fc pic.twitter.com/4Qts17DhqL
The loss for Ventura means five consecutive home losses in the Cup, tying the record for most consecutive losses at home in the tournament.
Up next for Capo FC is a meeting with USL Championship outfit Orange County Soccer Club in the Second Round.
“It’s obviously a big fish for us,” Carey said about facing OCSC. “We’ve been surprising people so far now let’s try our best to surprise again and see what happens.
“We’re excited to get here and we’re going to work hard to prepare for that.”