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Cal FC, the team best known for their upset of the Portland Timbers back in 2012, is back in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup after a 2-1 win over fellow Southern California UPSL side Oxnard Guerreros. Goals from William Raygoza and German Alfaro clinched Cal FC a spot in the 2020 US Open Cup, the club’s second straight trip to the tournament, and their fifth all-time (2012, 2014, 2015, 2019).
Cal FC made the trip about 20 miles west from Thousand Oaks, Calif. to Del Sol Stadium in Oxnard, Calif. The visitors wasted very little time getting on the scoreboard as they struck first within 90 seconds of the opening kickoff. Oxnard played the ball back to their goalkeeper who attempted to boot the ball up the field. Unfortunately for the Guerrerors, his clearance was hit hard and low where an Oxnard player was unable to bring the ball down and Cal FC’s Romario Lomelli was at the right place at the right time. The ball fell to him about 35 yards from goal and he immediately played a through ball into the box on the left side where William Raygoza ran onto it, hit it one-time with his left foot and beat the keeper. For Raygoza, a former Los Angeles Galaxy academy player, it was his sixth goal of the competition, which ranks second among all players in the qualifying tournament.
In first half stoppage time, Oxnard was putting pressure on the Cal FC goal, only to see a set piece off a corner kick miss the target. After the Cal FC goal kick, the ball found its way down the right wing to German Alfaro who was tripped up deep in Oxnard territory, near the sideline. Alfaro took a low-driving, in-swinging free kick with his left foot, avoided the three-man wall, and found its way into traffic in front of the goal. Art Aghasi led the charge toward the low-driving cross, but after reviewing the video, it’s unclear if Aghasi got a piece of it before it took a bounce and ended up into the side netting. The official scorer credited Alfaro with his second goal of the competition.
The home team was given some new life midway through the second half. In the 72nd minute, Oxnard launched a counter attack after a clearance of a Cal FC corner kick. With Cal defenders on their back heels, Raul Gonzalez of the Guerreros delivered a ball from the right wing to the opposite side of the box where Carlos Arriola snuck a header just inside the near post to cut the lead in half. But the Cal FC defense held strong for the remaining 20 minutes to advance to the tournament proper for the second year in a row.
“It’s always hard to get a win on the road,” said Cal FC owner and head coach Michael Friedman. “I’m always impressed how our players response to pressure. They kept their poise and remain focused on closing out the game. We only had 13 available players and we were able to manage the game with just 1 substitution.”
Cal FC punches their ticket after Saturday’s win, and earlier round wins over Quickening (9-2 in Round 1) and Alta California Sol (3-1 in Round 2).