The excitement of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup continued on the second night of the First Round as New York Cosmos B advanced to the Second Round in pursuit of U.S. Soccer’s national championship.
The magic of the U.S. Open Cup continues next week when 25 Division II professional sides enter Second Round action on May 14 & 15. All the games will be available to watch on ESPN+ with the first contests of the round kicking off at 7:00 pm ET on Tuesday.
New York Cosmos B 2, Black Rock FC 1
Bledi Bardic scored off a header six minutes into stoppage time to lift New York Cosmos B to a 2-1 victory over Black Rock FC at Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium in New York City. Black Rock FC, a team composed of prep school and college players, kept it close and equalized on Komar Martinez-Paiz’s goal in the 87th minute. It appeared the game was heading to extra-time. The Cosmos had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 12th minute after Black Rock FC was called for a hand ball in the penalty area. Captain Danny Szetela took the ensuing penalty kick and sent a shot to the lower right corner that goalkeeper Leland Gazo dove to his left to knock away. Cosmos B took the lead in the 28th minute as forward Aaron Dennis slotted home a left-wing cross from Giuseppe Barone from the goalmouth past Gazo for a 1-0 lead and his third goal in as many matches. Cosmos B advanced to the second round as they will meet Hartford Athletic at Al-Marzook Field at the University of Hartford in Hartford, Conn. next Tuesday at 7:30 pm.
Erie Commodores FC 1, Dayton Dutch Lions 2
Tate Robertson’s low bouncer through the box in the 73rd minute proved to be the game-winner as Dayton Dutch Lions squeaked past Erie Commodores, 2-1, at McConnell Family Stadium on the campus of Erie, Pa.’s Gannon University. Georgios Charkoutsakis scored in the 11th minute to give the Dutch Lions an early lead, but Erie Commodores netted an equalizer in the opening minutes of the second half to set up the heroics from Robertson, the Dutch Lions’ No. 10.
Reading United AC 2, Philadelphia Lone Star 1
Jeremy Rafanello’s two first-half goals were enough to push Reading United AC past Philadelphia Lone Star, 2-1, at Reading, Pa.’s Alvernia University Stadium. Rafanello rifled in a long-range effort as Reading grabbed a lead in the 18th minute, and calmly placed a penalty kick into the back of the net just two minutes later to double the lead for the home team, which has won a USOC game for the second consecutive year. In the second half, Shawn Genus slotted home a rebound in the 67th minute to get Lone Star on the scoreboard before the game got physical and both teams finished with 10 men.
Lansing Ignite 2, AFC Ann Arbor 1
Playing in their first U.S. Open Cup match as a club, Lansing Ignite found the cutting edge in striker Njeta Nfor whose brace fired the capital-area side to the second round at the expense of in-state rivals AFC Ann Arbor (themselves competing in just their second Open Cup match). Lansing found their footing first with Nfor being played in on goal where he tucked a rolling shot beneath the onrushing ‘keeper in the 29th minute. The hosts kept their 1-0 lead until midway through the second half when a long ball over the top of the ignite defense resulted in goalkeeper Kyle Ihn racing out to block an initial attempt from Jacob Rufe at the top of the box. The rebound fell to Alex Alexis who threaded a shot through traffic for the equalizer in the 66thminute. Six minutes later, Nfor bagged his second with a clinical headed goal courtesy of a pinpoint Lewis Jones cross. The hosts made that 2-1 lead stand up with help from Ihn, who made a one-handed point-blank save late in the match to deny Ann Arbor their best late chance and push the Ignite to a Second Round match.
Miami FC 1, Florida Soccer Soldiers 2
In perhaps the biggest upset of the First Round, Florida Soccer Soldiers got two second-half goals to come from behind and defeat Miami FC, 2-1, at Buccaneer Field on the campus of Miami Shores, Fla.’s Barry University. Former Cuban international Ariel Martinez finished from close range in the 6th minute to give Miami FC an early lead, and end-to-end action in the 20 th and 21st minutes highlighted a fast-paced game in which the 2018 NPSL Champions found themselves face-to-face with an amateur side. A mistake on the backline led to an equalizer for Soccer Soldiers’ William Stamatis in the first minute of the second half, and despite several world-class saves from Miami FC goalkeeper Mark Pais, Soldiers’ winger Carlos Freire put the game-winner across the goal line in the 87th minute.
Little Rock Rangers 2, NTX Rayados 2, 2-2 AET, 2-4 PKs
The omens were not good for NTX Rayados – Dallas-based amateurs back for their eighth straight Open Cup. Their flight to Little Rock, Arkansas, where they were meant to take on Little Rock Rangers (NPSL) was cancelled, forcing the squad to make the four-hour drive the day of the game in driving wind and rain. Word has it they picked up a flat tire along the way and had to change it on the side of the road. But the Rayados thrive on adversity and Reece Wilson opened the scoring in the eighth minute from close range to give the visitors – who reached the Fourth Round last year top play against eventual champs Houston Dynamo – a 1-0 lead. The host Rangers, the first team from the State of Arkansas to reach an Open Cup proper, responded in kind, with Alex Guadron’s deflected shot nestling in the back of the net after 27 minutes. Then they went one better when Sabelo Hlongwan put the home side into a 2-1 lead where it looked like it would stay to the end. But the Rayados, not a side to know when they’re beaten, scored an equalizer through Lucio Martinez with the last kick of regulation to force extra-time. Reduced to ten men for the next 30 minutes, Rayados hung on and scored all of their penalties in the shootout to book a date in the Second Round.
Des Moines Menace 1, Duluth FC 1, 1-1 AET, 3-1 PKs
The Des Moines Menace ultimately prevailed via the penalty mark after a hard fought 1-1 draw through 120 minutes with Duluth FC and booked their ticket to the Second Round of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup. The Iowa side opened the scoring in the ninth minute when a cross from the left of goal arced down toward the center of the box and Ignacio Goya de Anca was on hand to volley a peach of a shot back across goal and inside the left post for the 1-0 lead. A foul in the box opened the door for Duluth to draw level in the 35 th minute via a Carlyle Dos Santos conversion from the spot. After the second 45 coupled with 35 minutes of extra time yielded no more goals, it was the Menace who were more clinical from 12 yards out. Des Moines goalkeeper Jordan Bell did his part as well, making a critical save to help send the Iowans to a Second Round matchup.
Midland-Odessa Sockers 1, FC Denver 2
Kyle Crouse’s dramatic 89th-minute long-range blast made the difference for FC Denver against the Midland-Odessa Sockers at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, Texas, setting up a derby matchup in the next round against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. Crouse capitalized as the Sockers failed to clear a long ball, gaining possession on the right wing, taking a touch and teeing off with the outside of his foot to finish from 30 yards into the far left corner. FC Denver took advantage of a defensive mix-up to open the scoring on Cesar Castillo’s 34th minute goal. After John Lister headed on a Jacob Peterson goal kick, defenders Michael Agboola and Owain Hoskins collided, leaving Lashaw Salta with an open shot. Brin Lapuh’s kick save sent the rebound directly to Castillo, who finished into an empty net from just inside the penalty area. Substitute Grant Mobley equalized off a 64th-minute corner kick, finishing a rebound after Agboola’s header was cleared off the line at the near post.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Gonzalez and Laredo Heat SC