Weekend of April 12-14
I’m going local for my quick kicks today. Not that there’s not national matches worth going out for, always support your local soccer clubs. So this weekend I’ll be tied up on Sunday morning, but my local club will be playing a friendly against a local university. On Sunday the 14th, FC Grande will make the short trip up the road to play against the University of Texas - El Paso at 10am at University Soccer Field in El Paso. The match will probably be closer to a scrimmage than a true match, but I always welcome a local club trying to expand their footprint, especially when it comes in the home town of a rival club, Southwest FC.
But one match I will be attending, even if it’s outside of my normal interest, will happen Saturday night. El Paso Locomotive has been working their butts off to gain fans in our city and are doing really well at bringing in the die-hards. I’m not a USL guy, but the fans have won me over. The supporters group, 8th Notch, showed up to the Southwest FC’s 4th Qualifying Round of the USOC and I can’t help but feel good about the supporters of one club showing up to back another. This Saturday they will be taking on Phoenix Rising in El Paso and I’ll be there with 8th Notch, putting my voice to good use. Locomotive hasn’t been great in their first season, only getting one win so far, but I’m down to support a local club and a SG.
Once upon a time, in a soccer landscape not so different from ours today, there was a competition that surpassed them all. A competition that pitted any team in the country against another, no league biases, just soccer. That competition is called the US Open Cup. This once shiny and decorated gift has become rusted and tainted with time.
Today's Open Cup isn't so open. It is the carrot on the stick for any club not affiliated with MLS and SUM. Long are the days where a group of amateurs could come together and achieve glory, now those amateurs are casted aside and considered inferior. The real truth is that those same amateurs are the backbone of American soccer. The ones who fight to keep the dream alive.
Maybe now is the time that grassroot soccer realizes its worth. Maybe now is the time that the lower divisions choose not to conform to how soccer is developing in this country. Maybe now is the time that amateur/ semi-pro soccer rejects the “Open” Cup and focus on something else. What is that something else? Maybe it's the amateur cup, maybe it's regional cups, but let's make a decision and let's make it for us.
El Farolito vs Academica SC (NPSL, Western Region, Golden Gate Conference)
The season is a little over a month along for both El Farolito and Academica SC of NPSL’s Golden Gate Conference. Both teams are stick in the middle of the pack. After winning their Conference last year, with 32 points from 14 matches, El Faro are siting on two losses and a win—only able to punch in three goals so far; two for Ronaldo Herrera and one for Leonardo Fredes. Head coach Santiago Lopez will be looking to convince his troops that its not to late to turn things around. They will host Academica SC at historic Matthew Boxer Stadium in San Francisco, Saturday April 13th at noon.
Academica SC, who recently scraped past non-league competition in the US Open Cup qualifier, head to El Farolito for this league match just days after having drawn them for their first-round opponent in the Cup. This matchup will serve as a bit of a preview for the USOC game, scheduled for May 7th. Head Coach Sergio Sousa is getting a lot more scoring out of his side, however, and may be looking forward to this match as a way to see how El Faro set up and give some fresh legs a runout. Academica SC has six different goal scorers; Edwin Rodriguez, Marco Torralva, Gerardo Cazares, Fermin Chaidez, and Cody Golbad all have one. Who will add to their total this weekend?
Oakland Stompers vs Real San Jose (UPSL, Western Conference, Wild West Division)
Three weeks in for both Oakland Stompers and Real San Jose of the UPSL’s Wild West Division and neither have any points in the table. Which sets up a compelling, “Somebody’s gotta win” scenario for Saturday night. Oakland had kept it close in their first two matches to AFC Hearts SF and Nevada Coyotes, losing by only one match in both of those; however, their last game away to JASA ended in a tragic 1-6 scoreline and a -7 goal differential headed into week four. Sometimes its too early to call a match a “must-win” but for Oakland, they need to get it rolling.
For Real San Jose, the stakes are even more dire; they last time they even scored a goal was opening day away to Pajaro Valley, a match which the eventually lost 2-3. They have been shutout since, in losses to Vacaville Elite and league leader Contra Costa FC. (There might be a result missing from the league’s website, 0-0 draw with San Leandro United but its not accounted for in the table). Head coach Markus Kothner will need his veteran players like Juan Rojas, Mohanad Elshafie, or Jonathan Arellano to provide direction and leadership on the pitch. Despite having only scored a pair of goals, they’ve only given up four from 3 (or 4) matches and the defense seems solid. This match is listed on MyCujoo as available for streaming this Saturday, live from Raimondi Park in Oakland, at 7:00 pm.