Colorado Rush remain unbeaten by Club El Azul as they sneak out a 2-1 victory in the first qualifying round of the U.S. Open Cup and will move on to the next round.
The history between these two clubs goes back to the spring UPSL season. They met twice last season and each time was an extremely physical, but Rush managed to win the first and tie Azul in the second.
Azul didn’t see any of the UPSL Colorado conference playoffs during that season and came out looking to knock Rush down a bit and get a victory this season. They faced each other at the beginning of the Fall UPSL season and despite the game being far cleaner than the previous two, Azul fell once again 1-0 to Rush.
The Open Cup match was the fourth time they would square off and for both clubs; the most important meeting to date. Rush made it to the through the first two qualifying rounds last tournament but were bounced by FC Tucson in the first actual round of the Open Cup.
Azul hadn’t made it into the Open Cup previously and were looking for an opportunity to represent Colorado.
Right from the beginning of the game it was apparent that Azul had fallen back on old habits and the reckless and aggressive play had returned. Rush was able to move the ball quickly but late tackles were frequent and testing the patience of the Rush starting eleven.
Once again Rush dug themselves a hole to dig out of in the first half when middy Colin Clark went to send the ball out of the box and deflected the pass off of an Azul player into the net.
Rush wasn’t be able to find the equalizer until midway through the second half when they were awarded a penalty kick that Clark would convert to tie the game 1-1.
The match would find it’s way into overtime and be deadlocked for the majority of the time. Finally, Rush found their break on an amazing diving header goal by middy Chayce Moinz to give them a 2-1 lead and the win over Azul.
During the match, Rush lost their new goalkeeper Cooper Erickson to a red card in the second half. Garrison Goodner the Rush backup keeper stepped up and played an outstanding second half of football and OT to help Rush to the win.
Rush is now advancing onto the second qualifying round of the Open Cup where they will be meeting another stout opponent Azteca FC.