The 2018 US Open Cup final may only just have been played at the end of September but for some teams, the battle to reach the first round of the 2019 US Open Cup had already started.
With teams including NTX Rayados reaching the fourth round of the 2018 tournament, the 2019 US Open Cup gives Chula Vista FC an opportunity to shine with the big players of Major League Soccer. Reaching the main round of the US Open Cup draw is nothing new for Chula Vista FC having reached the third round of the tournament in 2015.
Will the 2019 US Open stir up memories of that great run and can Chula Vista FC write another exciting chapter in their history?
The first qualifying round draw was kind to Chula Vista FC and the club received a bye to the second qualifying round. The draw for the second round of qualifying in the 2019 US Open Cup has taken place and Chula Vista FC have been paired with California United FC II.
This match will be the second of possibly four qualifying rounds for teams to reach the first round proper of the 2019 US Open Cup. However, the dream has already started for Chula Vista FC but the draw has not been kind. Not only have Chula Vista FC been handed tough opposition in the draw, they have been drawn to play away, with the game scheduled to take place at Orange County Great Park on the 21st October.
California United FC II play in the Western Conference of the UPSL Pro Premier in the SoCal South Division. The team was originally due to play in the NASL, until the league lost its second division sanctioning and was put on hold. Therefore, the California United FC II squad contains some players who were being added with the NASL in mind, making them stronger than the average team in their division.
One glance at recent results highlights what a big test this second qualifying round match is going to be for Chula Vista FC. At the time of writing, California United FC II have played three matches in the Western Conference of the UPSL Pro Premier SoCal South Division. Not only have they won all three games, they have done so in style.
California United FC II started with a huge 8-0 win over San Diego Zest FC and as if that wasn’t enough, they demolished Gremio FC SD 11-0 away from home. California United FC II did not stop there and they defeated San Diego Premier Pros 7-1 on home soil to cement what has been a superb start to their league season.
Ahead of the 2019 US Open Cup second round qualifying game with Chula Vista FC, California United FC II have played three matches, scored 26 goals and conceded only one goal, which is a fantastic record.
They certainly have plenty of experience in their team, with the average age of their players at 27 while Chula Vista FC continue to promote younger talent, with an average age of just 22 years old. California United FC II may have the edge in terms of experience but nothing matches the belief and fight of a young group of players with something to prove and that’s exactly what Chula Vista have in their ranks.
Despite being a club that promotes youth soccer through several boys and girls teams in the United States, Chula Vista also have some experienced players of their own to call upon. Alberto Diaz, Angel Gonzalez, Oscar Hernandez, Angel Pinal, and Francisco Ramirez all played in the famous 2015 US Open Cup run and are ready to make another assault on the competition this season.
Alberto Diaz was one of the stars of the 3-0 second round upset win against the USL’s Arizona United, scoring 2 goals in the game. Diaz was voted as TheCup.us Player of the Round and is the younger brother of the manager at the club, Hector Diaz.
Alberto Diaz is still only 24 years old but the memory of that win over Arizona United makes him one of the most experienced players in the Chula Vista FC team ahead of the clash with California United FC II.
If Diaz could find the back of the net against California United FC II in 2018 as he did three years ago, we could be in for a very special night in the US Open Cup. Chula Vista have caused a great upset once and are primed to stage a repeat in their quest for place in the 2019 US Open Cup.