The final two 2017 U.S. Open Cup second round qualifying matches took place in Southern California in recent days, after unusual weather delays caused the postponement of the matches.
La Maquina, who made a memorable run in the 2016 Open Cup tournament, defeated Santa Ana Winds FC 3-0, with Edwin Borboa and Jose Montes de Oca (with a brace) chipping in the goals. That means La Maquina advance and the Winds will have to wait until next year for their next chance at the USOC.
Meanwhile, another 2016 Open Cup entrant, LA Wolves FC, thrashed Inland Empire FC 9-2 in the other postponed qualifier, on Sunday. Former LA Galaxy and Chivas USA player Paolo Cardozo scored four goals for the Wolves. As U.S. Open Cup blog TheCup.us noted, that score ties the highest one of the qualifying round.
So La Maquina and LA Wolves will join fellow Southern California sides Chula Vista FC, Moreno Valley FC and Outbreak FC in the third round of qualifying.
U.S. Soccer announced a scheduling shift in that round. Originally expected to be played this week, the federation has moved the third round of qualifying to March 11-12, 2017. The five teams still vying for a shot in the big dance will have some downtime before that rolls around.
U.S. Soccer has promised the match-ups for the third qualifying round, as well as the broader structure of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup tournament, will be announced in January. They have carved out space for a potential fourth qualifying round, which would take place in early April, but that would depend on how many amateur teams will be entered into the tournament proper, and the federation has not yet determined if the fourth round of qualifying will be needed.
The tournament itself is expected to kick off in May 2017. How many local teams will enter in the first round? That is yet to be determined, but hope remains alive for the five SoCal teams still in the running.