Can't Miss Matches of the 2nd Qualifying Round of USOC

1200px-U.S._Open_Cup_logo.svg.png

Headed into this weekend’s second round of USOC qualifying matches, the staff of Protagonist Soccer decided to again pick our favorite matches of the weekend. Enjoy!

Josh Duder

International Portland Select FC vs Nevada Coyotes

Both International Portland Select FC and the Nevada Coyotes had a bye through the first round of qualifying matches in the 2019 US Open Cup—but they face off against one-another this week in the second qualifying round. IPSFC are set to host the UPSL side Nevada Coyotes on Rob Strasser Field at Delta Park in Portland, Oregon—kickoff is 7:00 PM

IPSFC have played in the Oregon Premier Soccer League (OPSL) for nearly 30 years, and despite being an amateur regional league, the club itself is know for producing talented players which move on to the likes of the NPSL, UPSL and college ranks. The Portland-based side has participated in the Lamar Hunt USOC for three years running and plan to improve upon previews forays into the competition. They’re coming into the match in very fine form as well, having won their last three matches on the trot; outscoring opponents 15-0.

The Coyotes, who come from the UPSL Wild West North Conference, visit Portland this weekend on the back of the first poor result of their fall season, losing 0-1 at home to conference foes Napa Sporting. Despite that, Nevada Coyotes sit atop their table with 4 wins from five and a goal differential of +11. I fully expect head coach Christian Patiño to be aggressive from the onset and put the home team on its heels. It will be interesting to see how IPSFC coach Harvey Hurst responds and if their leading goal getter Nathaniel Pogue can find any cracks in the visitor’s defense.

Other Notable USOC Matchups in The West

JASA RWC vs Napa Sporting

UPSL Western Division clubs JASA RWC and Napa Sporting come together for a non-league Wild West shootout. JASA of Redwood City, who are in first place in the UPSL Wild West North will host Napa Sporting of Wild West South Division. Napa sit in second place, just behind Nevada Coyotes and are coming into the match with good momentum after having shutout their last two opponents in league play. JASA RWC most recently played to a draw against Oakland Stompers.

Oakland Stompers vs Real San Jose

Former Santos Laguna, Sporting KC and Chicago fire man, Benji Joya recently signed with UPSL side Oakland Stompers and they’ll surely be looking to play him at home against Real San Jose. San Jose will be travelling up from the South Bay Area, where the most recently drew with San Ramon Dynamos to remain unbeaten in league play. Oakland’s last game ended in a 1-1 draw with JASA RWC and with their big signing in place, they’re looking to send San Jose back down the 101 and out of the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

Dan Vaughn

THIS MATCH HAS BEEN POSTPONED TILL 11/11 DUE TO WEATHER

Celtic Cowboys Premier vs Motagua New Orleans

Check out Celtic Cowboys’ Premier website and you’ll see a list of accomplishments by the Austin-based soccer club. Over the last 10 years, it’s been competitive in multiple tournaments, finishing top 4 in 7 of those. CC Premier play its matches in the Austin Men’s Soccer Association. One of the oldest leagues in the state, it features 6 competitive divisions plus a host of age-based leagues. In all, 130 teams play within the AMSA and CC Premier is in the top division and won the league just 2 seasons ago. This season the team is currently undefeated in league play early into the season.

Celtic’s first qualifying match was against newly formed UPSL side San Antonio Runners, who CC Premier beat 3-1. Chris Wright, Taylor Peoples, and Sam Jackson all scored for CCP in the match. Wright’s goal was his first ever for the club. Certainly a good start for the tournament for the Austin club.

Opposing Celtic in this second qualifying round is Motagua New Orleans. Playing in the Gulf Coast Premier League, Motagua had a solid 2018 season, finishing the regular season 8-1-1, tops in the Central Conference. That record tied it for second place in the entire GCPL, only three points back from Boca Knights. For Motagua, this is another season of the status quo: excellence. Motagua has won 3 titles in the league since 2014. It’s also added to that with 2 national amateur titles. Motagua NOLA is no club to ignore in this competition. For more background on the New Orleans’ club, see this article.

Motagua topped fellow GCPL team, Port City FC, 5-2, in the first qualifying round. The match featured 2 goals apiece in regular time, before Motagua got 3 goals in extra time. This upcoming match with CCP should be a good one, with two strong regional clubs facing each other. Add to that some of the prematch jawing about playing conditions and you have a match that should have some emotion thrown in with some great soccer.

I’m predicting Motagua advances, 2-1.

Aarik Long

Boise Cutthroats FC vs. San Juan FC

The two best teams in the UPSL Mountain Conference face off as Boise Cutthroats FC host San Juan FC. Last season, the clubs split their two games before meeting in the final of the Conference Playoffs with a berth in the National Semifinals on the line. Boise won that match and went to Colorado to try and win a UPSL National Championship. This season, the Cutthroats opened their season with a match in Salt Lake City against this same San Juan squad. The game was among the most entertaining you’ll see with seven goals being scored in total. San Juan FC would pick up the win, 4-3.

Boise head coach Jeromy Tarkon is definitely looking forward to this matchup. “San Juan is a phenomenal team with a ton of talent. With that said, we expect to win this game. We are also a dangerous team and let’s not forget, that we are yet to be beaten on our home turf.

“This game means so much to our club, our community, and our state. To have a home game in the second round of the US Open Cup is a really cool thing. In all honesty, Hector has done a wonderful job with what little support he has received thus far. Hopefully this will excite some of the locals to come out and support their local semi-pro soccer team. We plan on putting on a show this Sunday!”

This US Open Cup match will also serve as the final match of the regular season for each club. The two sit on top of the three-team table with nine and six points respectively. A win for Boise would get them even on points, but they would need to win by six goals to get even on goal differential. No matter what the score is after ninety minutes, you can rest assured knowing that this will be an incredible game, as it always is between these two clubs.

Phil Baki

Sporting AZ FC vs. Southwest FC

The matchup on paper is a run of the mill repeat of Southwest Conference matches from last season. Conference Champions Sporting AZ FC did manage to navigate last season with only one loss and outlasted the El Paso club 3-2 in the Southwest Conference Semifinal en route to a National Final and Runner Up status. Both teams would tell you to be careful to avoid that characterization.

Sporting AZ is a club that has burst into the national consciousness in amateur soccer, having pushed Milwaukee Bavarians to the very limits in a thrilling UPSL National Final in the Spring Season. It also just received back their manager, Tom Hurdle, and players who represented the United States at the 6v6 World Cup in Portugal. This level of competition is sure to push Sporting AZ to perhaps even greater heights.

SWFC are not sitting back though. It is attacking this Open Cup run as a chance to raise its profile and the players know that they have competed with AZ before. The post about the squad list for the match read, “History will be made.” It will likely take a historic performance to get the win away at Sporting, but this club has no shortage of ambition and it may just be able to pull it off.

Lucky for you, there will be live coverage and hopefully tons of other stuff right here on Protagonist as myself and Dan will be present.

Prediction- Sporting AZ 2-1 SWFC

Steven Ramirez

Outbreak SC vs. Cal FC

The second round of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup qualification kicks off in Southern California with a batch of incredible matches. Travel to Orange County and you'll get to see Outbreak SC vs. Cal FC, which will be an intense battle between two strong clubs who stand at the top of their respective leagues.

Outbreak SC currently sits in second place in the SoCal Premier league. With two wins and one draw, Outbreak Soccer Club has been able to outscore its opponents 9-6. In its most recent match, it tied 3-3 against FCGS Brea Steau. The club hopes it can continue its scoring prowess against a tough Cal FC defense. In the first round of qualification, Outbreak went down thanks to a penalty converted by the LA South Bay Monsters. Outbreak stayed resilient, earning and converting its own penalty before the end of half. The tie-breaking goal came in the second half from a diving header.

Cal Football Club is off to a perfect start in its first season back in the UPSL. After four victories it has scored twelve goals while only allowing two. The club has shown an ability to score multiple goals per game and just unleashed a 7-0 beatdown of division rival Lionside FC. In its last qualification match, Cal FC played a shorthanded San Nicholas FC and won 3-1. But that win did not come without controversy; after the match it was made public that San Nicholas FC played the match under protest, claiming violation of multiple sections of the U.S. Open Cup rulebook.

Based on discussions with the U.S. Open Cup governing body, San Nicholas was tasked with playing the match first and filing a protest afterward. This seemed like an automatic win for San Nicholas ownership, which led to the team only bringing 12 players and leaving some of its stronger players at home. Unfortunately for SNFC, the protest was denied and Cal FC continued to the second round. With the controversy behind it, Cal FC looks to add another win under its belt, but will be met by a strong Outbreak SC side. Tune in at 7:15 PM Pacific on Saturday the 20th to see this incredible matchup between these SoCal powerhouses.

Shawn Laird

America SC vs Central Florida FC Spartans

America SC looks to continue its winning ways and continue marching toward U.S. Open Cup glory this weekend when it faces the Spartans of Central Florida FC. Make no mistake about it, America SC is absolutely tearing through its opponents in the Florida Central Division of UPSL and it looks to do the same to the Spartans. Currently, America sits on a record of 6-0-0, scoring an astounding forty goals while giving up only two. Yes, you read that right. Two goals against America in league play through six matches. That leaves them with a mind boggling plus 38 goal difference.  Meanwhile, the Spartans languish in fifth place in the Central Florida Soccer League with a 3-1-2 record and an even goal difference. It looks like this could be a rough weekend outing for the Spartans, as they attempt to stop the high flying offense of America SC. Early prediction? America SC wins this handily 4-0.

Lola Vaughn