U.S. Soccer

#USOC2018 Qualifying Round Three: Time to Dream for the Fabulous 14

The third and final round of qualifying for the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup wrapped up over the weekend with 14 Open Division Local Amateur sides booking places among the big boys at next year’s tournament – U.S. Soccer’s annual national championship.

The 14 amateur qualifiers will join a field from across the American soccer landscape (PDL, NPSL, NASL, USL and MLS) when the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup kicks off next May. Follow all the action and keep your finger on the pulse of the #USOC2018 on Twitter and Instagram @OpenCup and ussoccer.com.

2018 U.S. Open Cup Open Division Qualifiers:
Northeast Region:
Christos FC (Md.), Kendall Wanderers (Mass.), Lansdowne Bhoys FC (N.Y.), Rochester River Dogz (N.Y.)
Southeast Region:
FC Kendall (Fla.), NTX Rayados (Texas), Red Force FC (Fla.
Mountain Region:
FC Denver (Colo.), Azteca FC (Colo.), Sporting AZ FC (Ariz.)
Pacific Region: El Farolito (Calif.), La Máquina FC (Calif.), L.A. Wolves (Calif.), Santa Ana Winds (Calif.)

Cosmopolitan League heroes Lansdowne Bhoys had no trouble against the youngsters from Philadelphia, Junior Lone Star U23s, at Tibbets Brooke Park in Yonkers, N.Y. Two goals from Daryl Kavanagh set the reigning U.S. Amateur Cup champions and Northeast Region powers on their way to a 3-1 win that was never in doubt. One of the Irishman’s goals was a close-range finish after an inventive set-piece routine from the left side.

(Lansdowne Bhoys of NYC's Cosmopolitan League are the top amateur side in the country - and into the 2018 Open Cup)

Kendall Wanderers of Massachusetts made history by reaching the Open Cup proper for the first time in their long history with a tight 2-1 win against Mass United of Lynn at a rain-soaked Dilboy Stadium in Somerville. Veteran winger Dave Sheehan scored first for the Cambridge-based club – founded back in the early 1970s – that boasts three teams throughout the Bay State Soccer League (BSSL) divisions as well as Over-30 and 40 editions. Ian Sweeney added a second before the Wanderers weathered heavy pressure near the end to see out the result.

Everyone’s favorite Cinderellas from the 2017 Open Cup, Christos FC, booked passage to their second straight tournament with a simple 5-1 win over Pennsylvania’s Phoenix Soccer Club in Anne Arundel County, Md. Daniel Baxter, a tireless midfield engine who shows no signs of fatigue even after working long nightshifts as a medical tech at Baltimore-area hospitals, scored a pair of goals, and so did Elton Joe. Former University of Maryland standout Cody Albrecht, a veteran of Christos’ run to the Fourth Round of last year’s Open Cup, assisted on no fewer than three of the goals as the men from Baltimore, sponsored by a local liquor store, now get set to make waves for a second year running in American soccer’s oldest and most venerable competition.

(Back in Black: Christos FC of Baltimore County will hope to match their run to the 2017 USOC Fourth Round)

“This justifies everything we did last year,” said Christos’ passionate and hard-working head coach Larry Sancombe. “And now we are here moving forward and I think we have a good enough group to make another run.” Joe, scorer of two on the day, was in high spirits after the final whistle: “Goals can come from anywhere in this team. Our plan is to get the first one and the rest will follow. We have a special team.” 

Rounding out the action in the Northeast Region, Stegman’s SC’s long trip to Upstate New York proved a fruitless one in the end as they lost out 2-1 in a competitive affair to home side Rochester River Dogz.

Tense Times in Florida and Colorado
Miami amateur power Red Force FC
were in dramatic mood en route to grabbing a place in their second straight U.S. Open Cup. Down a goal against South Florida FC with two minutes to go in regular time, their outstanding playmaker Stiven Salinas swooped in late to force extra-time. Gabriel Vega’s side then took over to seal the result 2-1. “The chemistry in this team is so important,” said Vega, the man who devotes his life to the club. “A lot of these guys have been playing together since they were little kids and you can’t overestimate how important that is.”

Another Florida side, FC Kendall, will join Red Force in the 2018 competition after a goal-littered 4-2 win on the road in the rain against Nashville United. Martin Nunez, Gonza De Mujica, Santi Schmid and Jona Andrade grabbed the goals on a famous night for the club. The third and final qualifier in the Southeast Region was a far tighter affair as the lone-remaining Texas side NTX Rayados reached their second Open Cup in a row thanks to a 2-1 win over Motagua New Orleans by scoring the equalizer and winner inside the last ten minutes. “It was a good game, but not one you want to happen to you,” said Rayados coach Tito Salas after the tension-fuelled affair.

(FC Denver booked a place in their first Open Cup with a derby win over Indios Denver this weekend)

Up in the high Rockies, the Mountain Region was a festival of Colorado amateur soccer, which has exploded in recent years. Boulder-based Harpos FC, who were tipped before qualifying to make a deep run, fell short with an unconvincing 4-3 loss to Azteca FC, who sent them out of the running for a second straight year.

Over in the Denver derby, FC Denver came out on top with a 2-0 win against Indios Denver in extra-time. Mark Wallace and Alex Bernhardt were the scorers for the side that now reaches the Open Cup proper for the first time in their history. There was another derby in Arizona, but it lacked the competitive edge on display in Denver. Sporting AZ FC stomped all over Galati FC, winning out 6-1 in Chandler, Arizona, thanks to a hat-trick from Costa Rican Alejandro Aguilar, who head coach Aidan Davison calls “the consummate professional.”

Blowouts Reign out West
With edgy contests in the East and Central Regions, California’s four final round qualifiers were a glut of lopsided results. L.A. Wolves, Amateur Cup semifinalists, brought the hammer down on Buena Park FC 4-0 in La Palma. “We’re a confident team,” said coach Yan Skwara, who took over from former boss Eric Wynalda. “We make sure we always have a pipeline of new players coming in and the best players want to play for us.”

(Great game and a great view too - El Farolito hammered Cal Victory FC 8-0 in San Francisco)

There were a pair of 4-1 wins, the first in Lake Forest where Santa Ana Winds blew by the San Pedro Monsters. Kramer Runiger (2) and Jordan Gorman (2) did the scoring for the Winds, an ambitious club looking to make a mark in their first-ever U.S. Open Cup. “We did the same things we’ve been working on in the last three to four months,” said Coach Jose Lopez after the game. “We were mentally strong, we didn’t have to make any changes, and we were confident coming into this match.” 

The other 4-1 result came in Chula Vista, where home side Chula Vista FC were battered by Open Cup regulars La Máquina, who got a pair of goals from Resendo Castro.

The biggest rout of the round came up in the hills surrounding San Francisco, where El Farolito, who won the Open Cup in 1993 under their then-name CD Mexico, slammed Cal Victory FC 8-0. Carlos Montes scored his second hat-trick of the qualifying campaign in a game where Cal Victory played for a long stretch with ten men.

2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Open Division Local Qualifying Results
Third Qualifying Round – Nov. 18-19

Northeast Region


Game (home team listed first)



Nov. 18

Mass United FC (Mass.) vs. Kendall Wanderers (Mass.)


Dilboy Stadium; Somerville, Mass.

Nov. 18

Lansdowne Bhoys FC (N.Y.) vs. Junior Lone Star U23s (Pa.)


Tibbetts Brooke Park; Yonkers, N.Y.

Nov. 19

Christos FC (Md.) vs. Phoenix Soccer Club (Pa.)


Anne Arundel Community College; Arnold, Md.

Nov. 19

Rochester River Dogz (N.Y.) vs. Stegman's Soccer Club (Minn.)


Thornell Farm Park Turf Field; Pittsford, N.Y.


Southeast Region


Game (home team listed first)



Nov. 18

Nashville United (Tenn.) vs. FC Kendall (Fla.)


E.S. Rose Park; Nashville, Tenn.

Nov. 18

NTX Rayados (Texas) vs. Motagua New Orleans (La.)


Premier Park; Balch Springs, Texas

Nov. 19

Red Force FC (Fla.) vs. South Florida FC (Fla.)

1-1, 2-1 AET

Kendall Soccer Park; Miami, Fla.


Mountain Region


Game (home team listed first)



Nov. 18

FC Denver (Colo.) vs. Indios Denver FC (Colo.)

2-0 AET

Aurora Sports Park; Aurora, Colo.

Nov. 18

Harpos FC (Colo.) vs. Azteca FC (Colo.)


Broomfield County Commons Park - Stadium Field; Broomfield, Colo.

Nov. 18

Sporting AZ FC (Ariz.) vs. Galati FC (Ariz.)


Chandler-Gilbert Community College; Chandler, Ariz.


Pacific Region


Game (home team listed first)



Nov. 18

Santa Ana Winds FC (Calif.) vs. San Pedro Monsters FC (Calif.)


Lake Forest Sports Park; Lake Forest, Calif.

Nov. 19

El Farolito (Calif.) vs. Cal Victory FC (Calif.)


Boxer Stadium; San Francisco, Calif.

Nov. 19

Chula Vista FC (Calif.) vs. La Máquina FC (Calif.)


Chula Vista Elite Training Center; Chula Vista, Calif.

Nov. 19

Buena Park FC (Calif.) vs. L.A. Wolves FC (Calif.)


Orange County Great Park – Championship Soccer Stadium; Irvine, Calif.


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U.S. Open Cup Nov 20, 2017

U-17 WNT Defeats Mexico 4-0 in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (Nov. 18, 2017) – The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team rebounded from a 1-1 draw with Mexico on Nov. 16 to defeat its counterparts 4-0 in the second of two friendly matches at Mexico’s National Team Training Center. Midfielder Croix Bethune scored twice, sandwiched between single scores from forwards Isabella D’Aquila and Jordan Canniff.

The two matches served as excellent preparation for both teams ahead of the 2018 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship. That tournament, to be held in Nicaragua next spring, will qualify three teams for the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay.

"Obviously, we are very happy with the 4-0 result,” said U.S. U-17 WNT head coach Mark Carr. “We made several changes from the first game and our players responded with a very disciplined performance. Coming out of this experience in Mexico, we know that we have a lot of work ahead of us as we continue to improve leading into World Cup qualifying next year."

The age cutoff for the next U-17 Women’s World Cup is players born on or after January 1, 2001. For these games U.S. U-17 WNT head coach Mark Carr named 19 players born in 2001 and three born in 2002.

As in the first match two days ago, the USA scored early. Midfielder Hannah Bebar played a ball over the back line to Sunshine Fontes, who crossed into the middle for D’Aquila to finish first-time. It was D’Aquila’s third international goal in four U-17 appearances.

Unlike the match two days ago, the USA piled on three more goals to put the game away. It took the young Americans until the second half to score a second, but it came as part of a two-goal flurry from Bethune in a six-minute span.

Her first score came when the ball popped out to the top of the penalty box and she side-footed her shot into the top corner in the 51stt minute. She made it 3-0 in the 56th when she evaded a few defenders and hit a blast from outside the penalty area that flew into the upper left corner. The goals were Bethune’s second and third at the U-17 international level in 10 caps.

Bethune also created the fourth and final score, slipping a through ball into the path of Canniff, who dribbled along the end line and showed patience before beating the goalkeeper at a tough angle for her eighth U-17 goal in 18 caps.

U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team Match Report

Match: United States U-17 Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: November 18, 2017
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Centro de Alto Rendimiento; Mexico City, Mexico
Weather: 70 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F         
USA                             1          3          4
MEX                            0          0          0

USA – Isabella D’Aquila (Sunshine Fontes)               8th minute
USA – Croix Bethune                                                  51
USA – Croix Bethune                                                  56
USA – Jordan Canniff (Croix Bethune)                      80                       

USA: 12-Angelina Anderson; 17-Smith Hunter, 15-Natalia Staude, 16-Michela Agresti (capt), 2-Makenna Morris (3-Kate Wiesner, 54); 14-Hannah Bebar, 24-Croix Bethune, 20-Sophia Jones (21-Samantha Kroeger, 65); 19-Kalyssa Van Zanten (9-Jordan Canniff, 46), 13-Isabella D’Aquila (11-Lia Godfrey, 46), 18-Sunshine Fontes (10-Mia Fishel, 78)

Subs not used: 1-Cayla White, 4-Tori Hansen, 5-Kennedy Wesley, 6-Astrid Wheeler, 7-Samantha Meza, 8-Maya Doms
Head Coach: Mark Carr

MEX: 20-Jaidy Gutierrez; 16-Reyna Reyes, 2-Tanna Sanchez, 15-Julieta Peralta, 5-Ximena Rios (11-Esmeralda Zamarron, 57); 8-Nicole Perez (capt), 6-Mariana Elizondo, 4-Arely Salcedo (14-Nayeli Diaz, 40), 19-Natalia Mauleon (17-Yolanda Jimenez, 77); 10-Alison Gonzalez, 9-Vanessa Buso (21-Fernanda Rosales, 75)
Subs not used: 1-Clarissa Ramirez, 3-Nicole Soto, 7-Fatima Arellano, 12-Dayan Tellez, 13-Noemi Granados, 18-Valentina Oviedo, 22-Valeria Perez, 23-Valeria Reza
Head Coach: Christopher Cuellar

Stats Summary: USA / MEX                        
Shots: 11 / 5
Shots on Goal: 5 / 3
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 4 / 1
Fouls: 6 / 1
Offside: 5 / 3

Misconduct Summary:

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U-17 WNT Nov 18, 2017

U-18 MNT Closes Out 2017 With Early Start to New Player Cycle

CHICAGO (Nov. 18, 2017) – The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team will finish 2017 with a training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. from Nov. 19 to Nov. 26. Although it’s the U-18s’ fifth event of the year, the 24 players called into camp by head coach Omid Namazi are a mixture of 2001 and 2002 birth years, marking the start to the 2018-2019 Youth National Team player cycle across all age groups.

The player pool, transitioning from the U-16 Boys’ National Team, comes into camp after most recently participating in June’s 2017 International Dream Cup in Japan. Across the Pacific, the U-16 BNT fell to Guinea 2-1, Japan 4-2 and Netherlands 5-2. Ten of the 24 players on this roster return from U-16 head coach Sean Tsakiris’ squad at the tournament.

MORE: Tsakiris Calls 20 Players to 2017 International Dream Cup

The trip to Chula Vista marks the fifth gathering of 2017 for the pool of players born in 2001 or later. Namazi got an early, first-hand look at the age group in April, when he led the U-16s for twelve days at the prestigious Tournament of Montaigu while Tsakiris assisted the U-17 MNT during its World Cup qualifying campaign in Panama.

At the Tournament of Montaigu, the USA started with a 1-0 victory over Belgium before falling to France 3-2, two days later. In their final group stage game, the Americans defeated rival Mexico 3-0, behind a brace and one assist from forward Stefan Stojanovic.

Although it’s every player’s first appearance on a U-18 roster, five players are making their debuts with the player pool in 2017: Jerry Ayon, Luis Hernandez, David Mendoza, Owen Otasowie and Alex Rando.

George Bello, the only player on the roster born in 2002, is age-eligible for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Bello signed as a M.L.S. Homegrown player for Atlanta United FC in June and he’s the most recent U.S. Soccer Development Academy national champion on the roster, as Atlanta took home the 2016-2017 season’s U-15/16 hardware this past July.

Of the 24 players brought into camp, 22 have registered at least one season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; Herriman, Utah), Alex Rando (New York City FC; New York, N.Y.)
DEFENDERS (6): Julian Araujo (Barca Academy; Lompoc, Calif.), George Bello (Atlanta United FC; Douglasville, Ga.), Nico Benalcazar (New York City FC; Wilton, Conn.), Luke Hansen (Colorado Rapids; Littleton, Colo.), David Mendoza (Chicago Fire; Chicago, Ill.), Leonardo Sepulveda (LA Galaxy; Corona, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Oscar Cervantes (LA Galaxy; Indio, Calif.), Cameron Duke (Sporting Kansas City; Overland Park, Kan.), Justin Haak (New York City FC; Brooklyn, N.Y.), Luis Hernandez (FC Dallas; Mesquite, Texas), Nelson Martinez (D.C. United; Woodbridge, Va.), Aidan Morris (Crew SC Academy; New Albany, Ohio), Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC; Merryhill, Wolverhampton, England), Marcelo Palomino (Houston Dynamo; Houston, Texas), Thomas Roberts (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas)
FORWARDS (7): Luis Arriaga (Real Salt Lake; Herriman, Utah), Jerry Ayon (Monarcas Morelia; Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico), Azriel Gonzalez (Seattle Sounders FC; Renton, Wash.), Jose Rivas (Crew SC Academy; New Albany, Ohio), Gabriel Segal (Bethesda-Olney; Bethesda, Md.), Stefan Stojanovic (Sockers FC; Des Plaines, Ill.)

UPDATE: Following the release of the roster, the LA Galaxy informed U.S. Soccer that forward Ulysses Llanez was unable to join the U-18 MNT in Chula Vista due to injury.                                                                             

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U-18 MNT Nov 18, 2017

Weston McKennie Nets First Goal in First Cap | Milestones, Presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance

In this episode of Milestones, Presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance, U.S. MNT midfielder Weston McKennie made his senior debut against Portugal. He became the third youngest U.S. player to tally in his first cap when he put home a clinical finish to open the scoring in the 21st minute. Read more
MNT Nov 17, 2017

Competitive Year Comes to an End as WNT Sets Sights On World Cup Qualification in 2018

A year that featured much experimenting, successes and struggles, but in the end, significant growth, has come to an end. Through 16 games in 2017, the U.S. WNT finished with 12-3-1 record with the three losses coming to the third, fourth and sixth ranked teams in the world. While U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis and her staff knew that this year would be challenging due the difficult schedule c Read more
WNT Nov 17, 2017

Alex Morgan Scores Six Goals in WNT's Final Six Games of 2017

The Alex Morgan that has become familiar to fans worldwide is the one who is constantly creating danger in front of the net. Fortunately for the USA and the Orlando Pride, and unfortunately for opponents, that’s the Alex Morgan everyone has been seeing over the past several months. Since Aug. 3 she scored, or had an assist, in almost every game she played for a total of 15 goals in 17 ma Read more
WNT Nov 17, 2017

The WNT Experiment Paying Off for Ellis and the USA

A layman’s way to describe an experiment would probably be something like this: let’s try some things, and some more things, in a detailed and conscientious way, until we can find out some answers to our questions that are based on facts. Following the cycle of the 2015 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis knew that for this team to be successful in 2019 and Read more
WNT Nov 17, 2017