CHICAGO – The first round of the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night brought back the 109-year-old tournament, after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A variety of outcomes from blowouts to seesaw extra-time thrillers determined the first six clubs that moved on to the second round. Ten additional winners will claim their place in the next round during Wednesday night’s action, which begins at 5:45 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and U.S. Soccer YouTube.
The highlights of the night were a pair of extra time thrillers that saw West Chester United SC claw back a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in New Jersey vs. FC Motown, and Cleveland SC similarly come from behind with a dramatic late equalizer that they then capitalized on in the extra period for a 2-1 win against visiting Chicago FC United.
The evening’s only other one-goal-game featured the first upset of the competition as D’Feeters Kicks Soccer Club won 3-2 down in Texas against the reigning NPSL national champions Denton Diablos.
The three remaining games were lobsided affairs as Southern States SC Stars dispatched Georgia Revolution FC 3-1, Oyster Bay United FC knocked out Hartford City FC 3-0 and The Villages SC put on a 6-0 show to down Orlando FC Wolves.
The first round concludes with 10 matches being played across the nation on Wednesday night. The games will be available to watch on ESPN+ or U.S. Soccer YouTube. The action begins when the first contest of the night, featuring San Fernando Valley FC (Calif.) vs. Escondido FC (Calif.), kicks off at 5:45 p.m. ET/2:45 PT on U.S. Soccer YouTube.
The 16 victorious first round sides will be joined by 46 professional Division II (USL Championship) and Division III (USL League One, NISA, and MLS NEXT Pro) clubs in the competition’s second round. The 31 second round contests, which will air on ESPN+, begin on Tuesday, April 5 (with 11 matches) followed by another 13 games on Wednesday, April 6. The round concludes on Thursday, April 7 with seven more contests.
FIRST ROUND RECAPS:
FC Motown (NPSL) 2, West Chester United SC (USL League Two) 2, 2-3 AET
In the first Open Cup game in 939 days – since 2019 – West Chester United SC overcame a two-goal deficit in the second half to post a dramatic extra-time victory. Jacob Gosselin snapped a 2-2 deadlock as he slotted home a Carter Burris feed in the 94th minute at MSU Soccer Park in Montclair, N.J. It looked like FC Motown was going to run away with the match in the first half. Nerlin St. Vil had the honor of scoring the first goal of the 107th edition of the competition in the 10th minute as he took advantage of a poor clearance and fired a shot into the lower right corner past goalkeeper Cameron Sanders. Two minutes into first half stoppage time, Joseph Fala doubled the hosts’ advantage, striking from outside the area. West Chester, however, changed the momentum in the second half. Levi Maruca cut into the lead, connecting for a spectacular goal from the corner of the box in the 56th minute before Blaise Milanek struck for the equalizer via a six-yard header. FC Motown played the final six minutes a man down after Fala was issued his second yellow card in the 114th minute. West Chester will meet Division III pros AC Syracuse Pulse (National Independent Soccer Association) in the Second Round in West Chester, Pa. on April 6 at 7 p.m. ET.
Cleveland SC (NPSL) 1, Chicago FC United (USL League Two) 1, 2-1 AET
Only seconds away from elimination, Cleveland SC tied up the game in the 90th minute and won it in extra time in the rain at George Finnie Field in Berea, Ohio. Vinny Bell’s header from point-blank range broke a 1-1 deadlock in the 107th minute. Goalkeeper Conor Cable was outstanding, making several stops to keep Cleveland in the match and producing a kick save on Ezau Millan’s header in the 120th minute to fend off a penalty kick shootout. Chicago grabbed the lead in the 17th minute when a shot deflected off the leg of Cleveland defender Boban Cancar’s leg and into the net. It looked like Chicago was going to advance, but Michael Derezic ran across the box before depositing the ball inside the far right post for the dramatic equalizer. Cleveland will take on Forward Madison FC (USL League One) in the Second Round in Madison, Wis. on April 6 at 7 p.m. CT.
Hartford City FC (NPSL) 0, Oyster Bay United FC (N.Y.) 3
Oyster Bay United FC got off to a hot start, rolling past a National Premier Soccer League team on the road at Dillon Stadium in Hartford, Conn. Junior Rosero scored one goal and set up two others to lead the United Premier Soccer League side, which scored all of its goals in the opening half. Rosero drew first blood in the 16th minute, intercepting a clearance by goalkeeper Carson D’Ambrosio and scoring from 21 yards. He assisted on Franco Paz’s goal from the left side in the 32nd minute and Sebastian Ruiz’s effort two minutes into injury time as the latter chipped D’Ambrosio from close range. In the Local Qualifying Round last fall, Oyster Bay eliminated a pair of former Open Cup champions, the N.Y. Pancyprian Freedoms and N.Y. Greek Americans. Oyster Bay outshot the hosts, 15-4 and the Long Island-based team will now face Division II pros Hartford Athletic (USL Championship) in the second round in Hartford, Conn. on April 7 at 7 p.m. ET.
The Villages SC (USL League 2) 6, Orlando FC Wolves (Fla.) 0
Jose Victor France and Rafael Barba combined to fill the plate for The Villages SC, while the Buffaloes’ 18-year-old goalkeeper starved the Orlando FC Wolves. France and Barba scored two goals apiece, and young goalkeeper Andrew Muller posted a shutout in his first career start as The Villages SC remained unbeaten at its home complex in Summerfield, FL in the U.S. Open Cup. France opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a left-footed strike, and Barba gave the Buffaloes a 2-0 lead in the 22nd minute when he heeled in a cross from Caleb Franke. Daniel Oliveira put the home side up 3-0 before halftime, and France and Barba added goals within the first 20 minute of the second half. Cale Saunders hit the post with a shot in the second half, but that was as close as Orlando FC Wolves came to scoring as they could not find the back of the net in the club’s first tournament appearance. Muller totaled five saves, and Payton Roush finished off the scoring in the 84th minute for The Villages SC, which moves on to play Tampa Bay Rowdies in a Second Round match at 7:30 p.m. ET on April 5 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Southern States SC Stars (NPSL) 3, Georgia Revolution FC (NPSL) 1
A new Star of the South is rising among NPSL clubs competing in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Jean Lucas Rivera Murillo unleashed a first-half wonder strike, and Thomas Shepherd guided Southern States SC Stars to its first tournament victory with a pair of second-half goals in a match that was delayed by weather at The Oaks in Hattiesburg, Miss. Murillo’s volley opened the scoring in the 26th minute, and Shepherd added goals in the 65th and 73rd, respectively, as the tournament first-timers opened up a 3-0 lead. Karim Tmimi got a goal back from a well-worked free kick for Georgia Revolution FC in the 82nd minute, but it was too little, too late. Goalkeeper Hector Grajeda made four saves in the second half for Southern States, which advances to play Birmingham Legion FC in a Second Round match on April 7 at 7 p.m. CT in Birmingham, Ala.
Denton Diablos FC (NPSL) 2, D’Feeters Kicks Soccer Club (Texas) 3
It was a hot first half for D’Feeters Kicks Soccer Club on what turned out to be a cold night for Denton Diablos FC in North Texas. Sebastian Mendez scored twice, and Miles Byass added to his lower-league legend with a goal as the local qualifiers upended the defending NPSL national champions at University of North Texas Soccer and Track & Field Stadium in Denton, TX in the first upset of the tournament. Mendez ran onto a loose ball and his calm finish gave D’Feeters a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute. Luis Hernandez got to the goal line before crossing into the box to Byass, whose one-touch finish gave the visitors a shock two-goal lead. Byass, the recent UPSL Finals MVP, nearly assisted on a third goal that was ruled offside, but Mendez tacked on his second a few minutes later. Brandon Cerda laced a daisy cutter into the back of the net in the 40th minute to get one back for Denton Diablos FC, and Steven Chavez got a second for the home team on the stroke of halftime. Both sides had players sent off in the second half, but the Diablos were unable to take advantage of more than 15 minutes with a man advantage before losing their cool and receiving two red cards in the final 20 minutes. Goalkeeper Anthony Rodriguez made a number of close-range saves in the win for D’Feeters, who now travel to play San Antonio FC in the Second Round at 7:30 p.m. CT on April 5.