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USOC SOCCER: Round One Recap and Round Two Match-ups

Have you managed to catch your breath yet?

By Seth Biddulph | May 9, 2019 | seekandstrikecollective@gmail.com

The 2019 U.S. Open Cup began play on Tuesday, May 7th and over the past two days has provided some incredible moments. We’ve seen #Cupsets and we’ve seen some true dominance by clubs. The most important thing that we’ve seen though is some fantastic football. The Cup is a chance for football fans across the nation to see clubs they wouldn’t normally have a chance to see and all of this exposure, especially since every single match is now being shown on ESPN+, is huge for our sport. I do want to compliment ESPN and the Open Cup for the coverage of the tournament, each match that I’ve been able to watch has had very good commentary and the live streams have looked great.

Before I jump into the recaps, I want to share a few things I took away from the first round. Across 19 matches between Amateur, USL League 1 & 2 and NPSL clubs there were:

  • 62 Goals
  • 5 matches were decided by penalties – 42 penalties were converted
  • 4 Red Cards
  • There will be upsets

There’s no way for me to do an in-depth recap of every match. I wasn’t able watch them all, I mean a guy has to sleep at some point.

Richmond Kickers 6 (USL1) – 2 Virginia United: Charles Boateng led the way for Richmond with 4 goals on the night. Boateng became the first player do accomplish this feat since Dom Dwyer in 2015.

New York Red Bulls U23 4 (5) – 4 (3) FC Motown: RBNY U23 was able to advance after being pushed to penalties against the NPSL side. Each of the eight goals in regulation was scored by a different player. With goals scored from the 3rd minute until the 119th, the match was nonstop action.

FC Baltimore 1 (4) – 1 (5) West Chester United: The Predators advance on penalties in what was their fifth straight knockout match away from home. Predator forward Troy Amspacher opened the scoring early in the first half, but Baltimore was able to pull level in the 56th minute when defender Jake Dengler struck from distance and found the back of the net.

Erie Commodores FC 1 – 2 Dayton Dutch Lions: Dayton went up early after a mistake from Commodore Craig Quinn managed to knock the ball into his own net. Erie battled back and leveled the score when Curtis Strolley put their only shot on target for the night past the keeper. Tate Robertson would put the Lions back up for good with a goal in the 73rd.

Lansing Ignite FC 2 – 1 AFC Ann Arbor: In their Open Cup debut, Ignite striker Njeta Nfor bagged a brace, scoring in the 29th and 72nd, and keeper Kyle Ihn made a stunning one handed save late to preserve the lead. Alex Alexis had pulled the visitors level in the 66th.

Reading United – Philadelphia Lone Star FC: Jeremy Rafanello managed two first half goals for United which proved to be the difference in the match. Lone Star was able to score in the 67th on the back of a rebound from Shawn Genus. I’ve read a report stating there were red cards for both clubs, but I can only see one officially anywhere so far.

New York Cosmos B – 1Black Rock FC: In what appeared to be a match headed to extra time, Bledi Bardic found a header six minutes into stoppage time to snatch victory for the Cosmos.

Lakeland Tropics 1 (7) – 1(8) The Villages SC: The two Central Florida squared off in what was one of the most even matches of the first round. Ultimately, The Villages prevailed on penalties.

South Georgia Tormenta FC 2 3 – 0 Chattanooga Red Wolves SC: In their first match of the year, upset-minded Tormenta FC 2 dominated the USL League One side Chattanooga. Jarvian Wigfell, Luca Mäyr-Falten and Adrian Billhardt all scored for Tormenta.

Greenville Triumph SC 1 – 0 South Georgia Tormenta FC: Unlike their League Two counterparts, Tormenta FC was unable to find the goal as they lost to League One rivals Greeville Triumph. In what was a fairly even match, Greenville finally struck home in the 75th on a goal from Cole Seiler.

Miami FC – 2 Florida Soccer Soldiers: In another upset, the amateur club Florida Soccer Soldiers pulled out the win over Miami FC. Ariel Martinez put Miami up in the 6th after a close-range finish. Out of the break, Soccer Soldiers’ William Stamatis was able to capitalize on a mistake from Miami in the first minute of the half to pull level. Carlos Freire scored the game winner in the 87th, overcoming a fantastic effort from FC keeper Mark Pais.

Bavarian SC 0 – 2 Forward Madison FC: The national amateur champions were unable to upend Forward Madison. On the strength of two early goals from Brandon Eaton and Jiro Barriga Toyama, Forward Madison was able to comfortably ride out the rest of the match.

Laredo Heat SC 1 – 0 Brazos Valley Cavalry FC: Laredo Heat outlasted the Cavalry after a penalty in the 60th. Francois Sakou was tasked with the shot and was able to put the ball past Cavalry keeper, Andy Rios. In a very physical match, each side received a red card and Laredo will be without Jose Luis Hincapie in their next match.

Little Rock Rangers 2 (2) – 2 (4) NTX Rayados: Featuring in their eighth consecutive Open Cup, Rayados had a tough road to even get to the match. After a cancelled flight, a four-hour drive and a flat tire, they were finally able to play. Reece Wilson opened the scoring in the 8th to put Rayados up 1-0. The Rangers would fight back with goals in the 27th and 40th. There was a reported red card in this match in the 88th for Rayados. Rayados would level the score 2-2 five minutes into stoppage time to force extras. The match was ultimately decided on penalties, with Rayados prevailing.

Des Moines Menace 1 (3) – 1 (1) Duluth FC: The Menace took the lead in the 9th minute as Ignacio Goya de Anca was able to volley home a shot inside the left post. Duluth was able to pull level as Carlyle Dos Santos converted from the spot in the 35th. The Menace were more composed from the spot during penalties and are moving forward.

Midland-Odessa Sockers FC 1 – 2 FC Denver: In another upset, FC Denver scored in both the 34th and 89th minutes by way of Cesar Castillo and Kyle Crouse. Grant Mobley scored for The Sockers in the 64th to give them a shot, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Academica SC 1 – 2El Farolito: Two first half goals from Miguel Ángel Garduño and Leonardo Fredes were all El Farolito needed to finish off Academica. Despite a red card to Walter Mazzolatti, Academica were unable to take advantage of being up a man and only managed one goal in the 72nd from Jorge Carmoa.

Cal FC – 1FC Mulhouse Portland: Led by multiple former MLS players, the California club dominated from the start. After falling behind 3-0, Mulhouse was able to pull one back, but couldn’t manage any more than that.

Orange County FC 2 – 0 FC Golden State Force: OCFC secured two goals from Cody Shelton and Aaron Lombardi going against a very good Golden State defense.

Short, sweet and to the point. The first round had a lot of action and there are going to be some interesting pairings in round two. I will not be including a preview of the New Mexico United match here; we’ll be doing a separate piece on that.

Second Round Schedule

Northeast Region

Date Game (home team listed first) Time Venue
May 14 Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (USLC) vs. Dayton Dutch Lions (USLL2) 7 p.m. ET Highmark Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pa.
May 14 Hartford Athletic (USLC) vs. New York Cosmos B (NPSL) 7:30 p.m. ET Al-Marzook Field (Univ. of Hartford); Hartford, Conn.
May 15 Indy Eleven (USLC) vs. Lansing Ignite FC (USLL1) 7 p.m. ET Sellick Bowl (Butler Univ.); Indianapolis, Ind.
May 15 North Carolina FC (USLC) vs. Richmond Kickers (USLL1) 7 p.m. ET Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
May 15 Louisville City FC (USLC) vs. Reading United AC (USLL2) 7 p.m. ET Lynn Stadium (Univ. of Louisville); Louisville, Ky.
May 15 Memphis 901 FC (USLC) vs. New York Red Bulls U23 (USLL2) 7 p.m. CT AutoZone Park; Memphis, Tenn.
May 15 Birmingham Legion FC (USLC) vs. West Chester United (Pa.) 7 p.m. CT BBVA Compass Field; Birmingham, Ala.

Southeast Region

Date Game (home team listed first) Time Venue
May 14 Charlotte Independence (USLC) vs. Florida Soccer Soldiers (Fla.) 7 p.m. ET Mecklenburg County Sportsplex; Matthews, N.C.
May 14 Tampa Bay Rowdies (USLC) vs. The Villages SC (USLL2) 7 p.m. ET Al Lang Stadium; St. Petersburg, Fla.
May 14 Nashville SC (USLC) vs. South Georgia Tormenta FC 2 (USLL2) 7:30 p.m. CT Dean A. Hayes Track & Soccer Stadium (Middle Tennessee State Univ.); Murfreesboro, Tenn.
May 15 Greenville Triumph SC (USLL1) vs. Charleston Battery (USLC) 7 p.m. ET Legacy Early College Field; Greenville, S.C.

Central Region

Date Game (home team listed first) Time Venue
May 14 OKC Energy FC (USLC) vs. NTX Rayados (Texas) 7:30 p.m. CT John Crain Field (Univ. of Oklahoma); Norman, Okla.
May 14 Austin Bold FC (USLC) vs. Tulsa Roughnecks (USLC) 7:30 p.m. CT Bold Stadium; Del Valle, Texas
May 14 San Antonio FC (USLC) vs. Laredo Heat SC (NPSL) 7:30 p.m. CT Toyota Field; San Antonio, Texas
May 15 Des Moines Menace (USLL2) vs. Saint Louis FC (USLC) 7:30 p.m. CT Cownie Soccer Park; Des Moines, Iowa
May 15 Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (USLC) vs. FC Denver (Colo.) 7 p.m. MDT Weidner Field; Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 15 El Paso Locomotive FC (USLC) vs. Forward Madison FC (USLL1) 7 p.m. MDT Southwest University Ballpark; El Paso, Texas
May 15 Phoenix Rising FC (USLC) vs. New Mexico United (USLC) 7:30 p.m. MST Casino Arizona Field; Tempe, Ariz.

West Region

Date Game (home team listed first) Time Venue
May 14 Las Vegas Lights FC (USLC) vs. Cal FC (Calif.) 7:30 p.m. PT Cashman Field; Las Vegas, Nev.
May 15 El Farolito (NPSL) vs. Fresno FC (USLC) 2:30 p.m. PT Boxer Stadium; San Francisco, Calif.
May 15 Sacramento Republic FC (USLC) vs. Reno 1868 FC (USLC) 7:30 p.m. PT Papa Murphy’s Park; Sacramento, Calif.
May 15 Orange County SC (USLC) vs. Orange County FC (NPSL) 7:30 p.m. PT Orange County Great Park – Championship Soccer Stadium; Irvine, Calif.

Matches to Watch

North Carolina FC vs Richmond Kickers (May 15, 5:30 p.m. MT): Richmond Kickers are no strangers to U.S. Open Cup competition; they won the tournament in 1995. North Carolina will have their hands full.

Nashville SC vs South Georgia Tormenta FC 2 (May 14, 5:30 p.m. MT): Admittedly I’m a bit biased here. I went to school in Statesboro and to find out that they have two clubs this may come across as me being a huge homer. Tormenta FC 2 looked very impressive in their first-round match. I think they could cause some issues for Nashville. I haven’t seen Nashville play this season, but they currently sit 6th in the Eastern Conference and look to be a solid club.

OKC Energy FC vs NTX Rayados (May 14, 5:30 p.m. MT): This could be a trap match for OKC. They actually lost to Rayados last year in the Cup and will be looking to get some payback. OKC are looking solid this year, sitting 5th in the Western Conference.

Cal FC vs Las Vegas Lights FC (May 14, 5:30 p.m. MT): In a battle of the Wynalda clubs, this one could be a real slugfest. While Las Vegas has struggled some this year, both clubs have the ability to put together a solid 90 minutes. Eric Wynalda’s fingerprints sill remain on the Cal FC club and their roster has a lot of MLS experience.

Before the second round kicks off though, we’ll know the possible third round pairings. Those will be announced on May 13th. Round two will be played on May 14th and 15th and all matches will be available to be streamed live on ESPN+.

Image Credit: U.S. Soccer

Seth Biddulph is a beat writer for Seek & Strike Collective covering the beat on New Mexico United. Follow him on Twitter and join in on the conversation@SethBiddulph

Twitter: @SeekandStrikeNM Instagram: @SeekandStrikeNM

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