El Farolito Advances to U.S. Open Cup’s Second Round with 2-1 Win

By Sherrilynn Rawson/NPSL.com

In the first round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, National Premier Soccer League side El Farolito bested MLS Next Pro side Timbers2, defeating the Portland squad 2-1 in front of 562 fans at Providence Park on March 19th.  Portland scored first, capitalizing on a goalkeeper error, and had better touches on the ball overall, but El Farolito kept their heads.  They wound up on top by remaining calm and focused, and by taking advantage of the opportunities they were given, with two second-half headers making the difference in the end. 

The Timbers2 squad lined up in a 4-2-3-1.  El Farolito essentially approached the match with a 3-5-2 lineup, while also sometimes simply man marking the Portland’s Kyle Linhares.  At the outset, El Farolito consistently took the attack to Timbers2 up the left side of the field. Several sequences in the first 15 minutes had Heribert Soto, Dembor Benson, and Edgard Kreye repeatedly working the ball up the field to the left, but ultimately without success. 

The first goal of the game went to Portland.  In the 30th minute, Timbers2 earned a free kick about 30 yards out, which was taken by Harvey Neville, son of Timbers first team head coach Phil Neville.  El Farolito goalkeeper Johan Lizarralde read it well and was in position to field the ball, but eventually he lost control of it.  Portland’s Keesean Ferdinand deftly spun 180 degrees and promptly buried the loose ball in the back of the net, putting El Farolito down 1-0.

After the half, though, the match quickly became El Farolito’s. In the 52nd minute, El Farolito earned a free kick from the left, which was sent straight into the mix.  Halftime substitute Judas Higuera fielded the ball on the right, rounded Timbers2 defender Blake Pope, and centered the ball to defender Jhoann Yabour, who headed it in for the equalizer.  And in the 67th minute, it was Jonatan Valdivia’s turn to beat Pope in the corner.  Valdivia then popped the ball to Dembor Benson, who headed it home to put El Farolito ahead for good.

The match was certainly a chippy one. The first yellow card appeared in the third minute when El Farolito midfielder Gabriel Arias was carded for a foul on Linhares.  Neville was carded twice, once in the 19th minute for stomping on a player and then again in the 54th minute for tripping.  From that point on, Timbers2 were down a man for the remainder of the match, and never managed to recover.

After the match, El Farolito coach Santiago Lopez talked about his halftime speech, and how he addressed the keeper error that led to the Timbers goal. 

“With high performance athletes you just have to focus on the next play, the next sequence,” Lopez said. “We just had to focus on scoring…and if they scored one goal, we just had to focus on scoring two.”

Lopez also addressed the importance of the U.S. Open Cup to El Farolito, the team who famously won the trophy as an amateur side in 1993. 

“It’s a great experience to be back in the Cup. Last year was the 30-year anniversary of the Open Cup championship in ‘93, so…you never know about winning the Cup again but we definitely want to keep the tradition alive and be performing at the highest level.”


Photo Credit: Richard Ybarra/NPSL.com


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