The qualifying process for the 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup has reached the third-round stage, and with a place in the 2018 Lamar Hunt Open Cup, there is all to play for in this match.
Having defeated Strikers FC South Coast comfortably 5-1 away from home, Chula Vista FC were in confident mood ahead of the second-round draw. On completion of the draw, Chula Vista FC was handed another away draw, this time at Valley United DC.
The match was played at North Hills, California and was always going to be a closely fought game. The U.S. Open Cup is the most prestigious cup competition in US soccer and teams would give anything to make it through the qualifying stages and into the first round of the main draw, which sees some of the bigger clubs in U.S. Soccer enter the fray.
Chula Vista FC produced a solid performance and claimed a good 1-0 victory. With the match so tight, keeping discipline at the back was always going to be important, and Chula Vista FC did very well to keep a clean sheet.
The opening goal of the game was always going to be crucial, and it was Chula Vista FC who got it and progressed to the third round of the US Open Cup qualifying.
Standing in Chula Vista’s way to a place in the 2018 U.S. Open Cup is La Maquina. A quick trip down memory lane for Chula Vista FC supporters will bring back thoughts of the last time the club met La Maquina, and that match was also in the U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Rounds.
However, that was the second qualifying round of the 2016 US Open Cup, and the 4-0 defeat from that game will be used as a motivational tool to try and get over the line with a win in the 2018 edition of the tournament.
In many ways, La Maquina is the perfect example of what can be achieved by a small team in the U.S. Open Cup. During the 2016 tournament, La Maquina progressed to the fourth round of the main competition and had a dream draw which saw them travel to the StubHub Centre to take on LA Galaxy.
La Maquina, a semi-professional soccer club like Chula Vista FC, were expected to be brushed aside by their professional opponents. However, the visitors produced a tremendous performance and the match finished level at 1-1 and went into extra-time.
The superior fitness levels of the LA Galaxy players showed in extra-time, and they went on to win the match, but this example shows what semi-professional soccer clubs can do in the U.S. Open Cup.
This season, Chula Vista FC will once again be the home team for the tie and will be welcoming La Maquina on the 19th of November in what will be one of the biggest matches in the club’s history.
Who knows what could lie in wait in the fourth qualifying round and beyond? A potential trip to play LA Galaxy, like both La Maquina and Orange County have enjoyed in the past two years is certainly not out of the question if Chula Vista FC can negotiate their way through the qualifying process successfully.
However, first things first and Chula Vista FC must concentrate fully on the match with La Maquina and eliminate any thoughts of what could happen if they qualify for the next round. La Maquina has shown what they are capable of in this tournament and Chula Vista FC will need to make better use of the home advantage than they did in 2016.
Playing at home can make so much difference to the chances of success in a one-off cup game, and hopefully, the fans will turn out in big numbers to cheer on the team.
Can Chula Vista win the match and keep the dream of reaching the first-round proper of the 2018 U.S. Open Cup alive?