Round 1: LA Wolves FC (0-4) vs Santa Ana Winds FC

The first round of qualifying for the 2019 U.S. Open Cup kicked off this weekend. Santa Ana Winds FC started their Open Cup campaign off with a huge victory over UPSL rival, L.A. Wolves FC. The Winds would go on to win 4-0, showing up their neighbor to the north and eliminating them from another playoff competition. Winds striker Jordan Gorman contributed to every goal, scoring three and assisting one for Mark Cruz. The match was physical and at times challenging for the referee, who did his best to control the emotions of the players on the pitch.

Play was dominated by the Winds in the first half. They attacked both wide channels consistently and used their fullbacks to help overload the scrambling Wolves backline. When Los Angeles was in possession they would continuously play through the open spaces in the interior of the midfield, but this looked like a trap set by the Winds coaching staff. As the ball would be played in, the Winds midfield would collapse on the ball forcing the Wolves to either pass back and start the play over, or get  dispossessed leading to a counter attack from Santa Ana.

At the start of the second half possession was switched, the Winds dropped back towards their own goal and allowed Los Angeles to possess the ball. SAWFC defended as a team and allowed fewer scoring opportunities then in the first half. The Wolves press was disjointed, one player would apply pressure, but when they would cause a mistake or an errant pass, no other player was available to find the loose ball. Gorman would finish off his hat trick late in the second half off a beautiful tumbling scorpion kick.

- Steven Ramirez

Lola Vaughn