The second round of the 2016 U.S. Open Cup is here, and three local teams are in the mix. One game is an all-SoCal showdown, while the other keeps it in the state of California.
First, the SoCal vs. NorCal match-up. Orange County’s La Maquina will host NPSL side Sacramento Gold at Lake Forest Sports Complex in Lake Forest. Kick off is scheduled for 6 pm PT.
La Maquina sprung one of the first-round upsets to advance, beating the Portland Timbers U-23s up in Portland by a 2-0 scoreline. The UPSL outfit, whose name is an homage to Liga MX side Cruz Azul, will look to continue their run in their first ever Open Cup participation. They’ll have to get by the Gold, who defeated the Burlingame Dragons 3-1, coming from behind to ultimately grab the victory. Considering La Maquina won’t have to travel for this game, will that tip the balance in their favor?
In the all-SoCal match on Wednesday, it will be another UPSL side, LA Wolves FC, hosting USL’s Orange County Blues at Banning High School in Wilmington. Kick off is scheduled for 8 pm PT in that match.
This game, of course, comes with plenty of controversy in the run up. The Wolves lost their first-round game, 2-1 to Ventura County Fusion, but after lodging a protest based on the fact Ventura County fielded a cup-tied player, U.S. Soccer overturned the result, reinstating the Wolves and knocking the Fusion out of the 2016 edition.
So the Wolves, in their first-ever USOC tournament, host the OC Blues, who have been knocked out of the tournament in their first game the last two years. And considering they don’t have to go far, one would expect them to be the favorites in this game.
But it’s the Open Cup. Upsets are not unusual, so it should make for an exciting match.
And the winner of these two games will face each other in the third round, to be held on June 1. One Southern California side is guaranteed to advance tonight, with the possibility of another all-local match-up should La Maquina advance this evening.
We’ll have more coverage of tonight’s action, so check out a local game in the oldest soccer competition in the U.S. if you can, and we’ll fill you in on the rest.