LAFC vs Orange County SC
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Banc of California Stadium - Los Angeles, CA
RADIO: 710 AM ESPN, ESPN App (Audio), KFWB 980 AM
It is the oldest soccer tournament in North America. A unique, football extravaganza filled with underdog stories and intriguing matchups. The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is back after a two-year layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic. LAFC is making its third-ever appearance in the Cup, beginning Wednesday when they host the defending USL Champions Orange County SC from the United Soccer League (USL) in the third round at 7:30 p.m.
This is the 107th edition of the tournament, featuring a record-setting 103 teams, including amateur and professional affiliated teams from all levels.
LAFC advanced to the semifinals of the tournament in 2018 before losing a heartbreaker on penalty kids to the Houston Dynamo. The Black & Gold were eliminated in the quarterfinals in 2019 by Portland, 1-0.
This is a tournament and a Cup that LAFC takes seriously – the Club is rolling through the first seven games of the MLS season with a league-best 5-1-1 (16 points) record, and is looking to keep that momentum from a 3-1 win over Kansas City on Sunday rolling.
ORANGE COUNTY SC IN-DEPTH
Orange County is the defending USL Championship Champions, as the team put together a scintillating run to the 2021 title after a midseason coaching change. They are off to a slow start this season, sitting in 11th place with a 1-2-2 (5 points) record. OCSC defeated the Los Angeles Force 5-2 in the Second Round to advance to face the Black & Gold and owns a 6-7-2 overall record in the competition.
OCSC has advanced to the fourth round of the Open Cup two times, last advancing in 2017 where they lost to the Galaxy, 3-1.
OCSC brings some familiar faces with MLS experience to the Banc, including Erick “Cubo” Torres who appeared in 34 games with Atlanta United last season, and has also played for the Houston Dynamo (2015-17) and Chivas USA (2013-14) in MLS, and has experience with Tijuana, UNAM and Cruz Azul in Mexico. A Mexican international, Torres played for Mexico at the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2017 Gold Cup.
Defender Michael Orozco also played in MLS with the Philadelphia Union in 2010, and spent time with Tiguana and Pueblo in Mexico. Other players to watch for OCSC include Daniel Pederson, a native of Denmark who has played in the Norwegian First Division, German-born goalkeeper Patrick Rakovsky who has experience in Germany, Belgium and Finland, and 17-year-old phenom Kobi Henry, a product of the Inter Miami (MLS) Youth Academy who has participated in training camp with the United States U-20 National Team and the senior National Team in December.
LAFC WILL WIN IF
They are able to maintain their focus in the midst of a busy stretch of games on a quick turnaround. LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo has said he will rotate his team against OCSC, showcasing the depth of his Club and giving several players opportunities to shine. If these players are able to breakdown the OCSC defense, LAFC could be through to the next round.
ORANGE COUNTY SC CAN WIN IF
They are successful in slowing the game down and limiting big chance opportunities and LAFC set pieces. OCSC will look get a moment of brilliant finishing from Torres to sneak out of the Banc with the points.
Inspired by the band Bad For Brains.