L.A. Wolves FC Advance to Third Round of U.S. Open Cup
L.A. Wolves FC earned their ticket to the Third Round of the the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night with an overtime effort over Chula Vista FC. The Wolves will now take on Orange County SC of the USL at the end of the month.
L.A. Wolves FC midfielder Pablo Cruz earned a penalty in the 111th minute with Paolo Cardozo converting to defeat Chula Vista FC, 1-0.
“All in all it was a very good game,” said L.A. Wolves FC head coach Eric Wynald, the American soccer hero who is now a hot commentator on Fox Sports.
“I think Chula Vista FC is a great team,” said Wynalda. “We had to make some adjustments and we were lucky to win tonight. They represented themselves really well. Playing Orange County SC next is going to be a great challenge and a real battle.”
L.A. Wolves FC pushed Chula Vista FC into a defense hold, sending five shots at Chula Vista goalkeeper Sebastian Ortiz in the first 15 minutes.
Wolves FC came closest to scoring in the 11th minute, but Miguel Sanchez’s shot was cleared mid-air off the line by a Chula Vista defender just moments after Ortiz saved a shot from Gonzalo Salguero.
The Wolves outnumbered Chula Vista in shots on goal, 9-0, over 90 scoreless minutes.
Led by midfielder Alberto Diaz, Chula Vista made a few late attempts into attacking positions and produced the club’s first shot on goal, which was easily saved by Wolves FC keeper Lucas Nascimento in the first half of overtime.
“The good news is we didn’t get scored on,” Wynalda said. “Nascimento made a couple of good saves that kept us in the game, but we should’ve done better with our chances.”
Cruz, who came in the game as a substitute at the start of the second half, drove the ball deep into Chula Vista’s penalty area before turning on the touchline and being brought down by a defender.
The referee pointed to the penalty spot in favor of Wolves FC, and Cardozo calmly struck the ball into the net as Ortiz got his fingertips on the ball but could not stop the effort. The goal in the 111th minute proved decisive as the home team played out the final minutes until the whistle.
“We are all very pleased with the win,” said L.A. Wolves FC President Yan Skwara.
“Both teams fought hard and hats off to Chula Vista as they came in with a game plan and made it hard to break through and get that first goal,” said Skwara.
“At the end of the night, the boys found a way and we got the job done in OT so it’s on to the next round. We face OCFC whom we played last year in the Cup. We know we have a hard match ahead of us and we will prepare accordingly as our coaches and players look forward to the challenge,” said Skwara.
“Again, Pablo Cruz comes in the game and wins it for us. It was that way last week and it’s the same thing this week,” said Wynalda, who also brought Cruz in at halftime of Wolves’ 4-2 U.S. Open Cup first-round victory on May 10th.
The victory advances L.A. Wolves FC in the U.S. Open Cup as they play Orange County SC (USL) in a Third Round matchup at Azusa Pacific University’s Cougar Soccer Complex (701 E. Foothill Blvd., Azusa, CA 91702) at 7:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday, May 31.