Eight NPSL teams won in the First Round of the U.S. Open Cup and earned the opportunity to play on in North America’s oldest soccer competition. Those teams played on Tuesday, May 16th and Wednesday, May 17th against a new group of opponents in the event’s Second Round.
Summaries from each match can be found below:
Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL) 3, Jacksonville Armada U-23 (NPSL) 0
Missing a handful of their regular starters – including three-time FA Cup winner and skipper Joe Cole – the Rowdies were in firm control of the contest from the opening whistle. It took the home side just three minutes to open the scoring when Canadian Kyle Porter fizzed in a long, looping effort from out near the touchline, a few yards over the midfield stripe. It looked like Jacksonville’s goalkeeper Juan Fajardo back-peddled fast enough to keep the ball from going over the goal-line, but the referee pointed to the center-circle and the Rowdies were a goal to the good early on. They then kept possession of the ball for the vast majority of the first-half and it was no surprise when Michael Nanchoff picked Nurdin Hrustic’s pocket and worked himself a little space to hit home with his left foot from a tight angle in the dying moments of the opening period. The second goal of the game gave the USL side a well-deserved 2-0 lead at the break against their amateur opponents who failed to get much going in attack.
The Armada showed some pep early in the second-half, but it was little more than a false dawn. Their uphill climb became even steeper 20 minutes in when Dener Dos Santos was shown a straight red card for a tussle with Nanchoff on the touchline. Up a man and the better side even without the numerical superiority, the Rowdies took full advantage in what was left of the contest. In the 69th minute, stocky striker Martin Paterson made it 3-0 when he got on the end of a low Darwin Jones cross to hammer home from close range.
The 3-0 victory sees Tampa Bay move on to the Third Round of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup, where they will meet the NASL’s Miami FC.
Atlanta Silverbacks (NPSL) 1, Charleston Battery (USL) 2
Charleston’s early pressure led to the game’s first goal 20 minutes in. After a foul at midfield, Ryan Arambula sent a well-placed free kick towards the left post where Forrest Lasso rose above his mark to head home his fifth of the season. A 43rd minute injury forced the goal scorer out of the match, but just a minute later Charleston bagged their second marker when Ricky Garbanzo crossed for Jeffery Otoo, who won the ball in the area before burying his first goal in a Battery shirt to take the USL side into the half up 2-0. Atlanta worked to pull back into the match and cut into Charleston lead when Alex Harlley converted a penalty in the 73rd minute, but the NPSL couldn’t find an equalizer. With the victory, Charleston has now won 12 straight tournament openers and advanced to at least the Third Round for the sixth consecutive time. They’ll next pay a visit to Jacksonville Armada in the Third Round.
Boston City FC (Mass.) 1, GPS Omens (Mass.) 2
GPS Omens took down cross-town rival Boston City FC 2-1 at Della Russo Stadium on Wednesday night. GPS’ Keith Caldwell opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a curling shot from the top of the box. The visitors doubled their lead in the 60th minute when Charles Romero finished with a diving header. Boston City forward Jhonata Batista dented the score with a low blast past the ‘keeper with 15 minutes to play, but the comeback fell short. GPS goes on the road for a Third Round date at Rochester Rhinos.
Miami United FC (NPSL) 1, Jacksonville Armada (NASL) 2
Hosting their second-straight Open Cup match, the amateur side ran out to a dream lead in the 31st minute when captain Ezequiel Tejera lobbed a ball into the path of Jacopo Capilli. The Miami United forward controlled before hitting a perfectly-weighted effort that beat Armada ‘keeper Kyle Nasta. The lead was short-lived however as Aaron Pitchkolan took advantage of a bobbled corner kick and cleaned up the rebound in the 35th. The pro side then jumped ahead seven minutes last as Jack Blake powered his penalty kick into the top of the net. A physical second half saw Miami United give the NASL side a good run, but come up shorthanded as Jacksonville advanced to a Third Round home date against the Charleston Battery.
FC Cincinnati (USL) 1, AFC Cleveland (NPSL) 0 (a.e.t.)
A defensive struggle saw the two sides play nearly two hours of back-and-forth soccer before the underdogs finally conceded. With penalties looming, Djiby Fall broke the deadlock by heading Andrew Wiedeman’s cross to the back post. Before the game-winning strike, Cleveland goalkeeper Alex Ivanov had turned away 15 shots on goal. Dallas Jaye turned in the clean sheet for the home side by stopping three shots. Cincinnati’s reward for outlasting the NPSL foe is a date with Louisville City FC in the Third Round.
FC Wichita (NPSL) 3, Saint Louis FC (USL) 4 (a.e.t.)
Saint Louis FC hailed as victors in an intense back-and-forth game chock full of second-half action against nearby foe FC Wichita, winning 4-3 after extra time. Wichita took its first of three leads in the sixth minute when Leonardo Sosa buried a penalty kick past the diving ‘keeper. Saint Louis leveled with an Alec Cochran header in the 33rd minute, sending the game to the half tied 1-1. Wichita and Saint Louis traded goals in the 61st and 71st minutes, respectively, but the second-half excitement had just begun.
Nineteen-year-old Deri Corfe scored a stunner from distance in the 81st minute, putting Wichita ahead 3-2 with limited time left in regulation. Doing all they could to maintain their lead, Wichita’s Colton Haskin was sent off with a straight red card for preventing a goal in stoppage time, but Saint Louis’ penalty attempt sailed over the crossbar. Possessing a man-advantage, the visitors notched an equalizer thanks to a Tyler David header five minutes into stoppage time. Saint Louis’ Jose Angulo gave his side its first lead of the game with a shot from distance four minutes into extra time, proving to be the difference after 120 minutes of play. Led by former U.S. international Preki, Saint Louis FC will visit the Michigan Bucks in the Third Round.
Dutch Lions FC (NPSL) 1, San Antonio FC (USL) 2
San Antonio FC journeyed down Interstate-10 for a Second Round match at Dutch Lions FC. Victor Aruajo’s free kick goal opened the scoring for SAFC in the 17th minute and Aly Alberto Hassan’s solo effort doubled the lead before halftime. The hosts came out strong in the second and got a goal back in the 62nd minute when Nathaniel Coons pounced on a loose clearance. Dutch Lions pushed for a late equalizer but San Antonio closed the match strong to hold on for the 2-1 victory. San Antonio will play USL rival Tulsa Roughnecks FC in the Third Round.
OSA FC (NPSL) 1, Reno 1868 FC (USL) 1 (3-4 PKs)
Ninety minutes wasn’t enough to determine a winner in this tilt from the Pacific Northwest. Eli Gordley put the home team on the board first in the 17th minute before Dembakwi Yomba leveled the score for Reno in the 29th. Cameron Vickers found the striker alone at the top of the box for the goal. Reno hit the crossbar multiple times in the dying minutes of regulation but was unable to find the breakthrough in the first 90. Following another 30 minutes of scoreless action, the match went to penalties. Reno goalkeeper Russell Klabough made a pair of clutch saves and Junior Burgos sent home the winner to lift the visitors to a dramatic victory. Reno 1868 will face Sacramento Republic FC in the Third Round.