Story Of The Match: Open Cup Qualifying Round 3 vs GAM United 12/2/18
Qualifying for the Open Cup in the Rocky Mountain region can be tough due to a multitude of factors. Matches in the third and fourth rounds can be tricky to due adverse weather conditions. Our first attempt at this match up on Saturday, November 17th, needed to be rescheduled because of player safety. The track surrounding the pitch was completely iced over. The match was cancelled twenty minutes before kick off. One week later we got confirmation that the match would be rescheduled at Metro State’s new athletic complex, the Regency. This gave us more time to prepare and nail down our tactics.
We knew going into this match how GAM United’s tactics were going to be played. Our plan was to make sure they could not hit us on the counter, having extremely high pace up front. We dominated possession and kept creating chances. Eight minutes in, Cesar lofted in a perfectly weighted ball to Alex, who hit a Zlatan-esque volley with the outside of his right boot to put us on the score sheet. A perfect start. We kept our heads and stayed organized as a team, not rushing our chances.
At twenty two minutes, Cesar orchestrated play beautifully, slotting a threw ball into Lashaw down the left flank. Lashaw put a perfect ball in, finding Fernando who chested the ball down with ease. With seconds to spare, Nando hit the ball on the half volley, putting it right in the side netting to get our second.
Five minutes later Alex made an incredible run across the 18 yard box and was hacked by a GAM United player. Cesar picked up the ball right away, signaling his intent to take the free kick. In typical fashion, Cesar curled the ball into the far corner, bending it outside the wall, to score our third goal within thirty minutes of the first half.
In the fortieth minute, what we tried to prevent GAM from doing eventually happened. GAM won the ball in the middle third and put in a ball over the top for their forward to chase. He rounded Moberg to slot in their first goal.
The whistle blew and we went into half time satisfied with our performance thus far. Taking 4 shots and scoring 3 goals was a huge boost to our confidence. We knew GAM would come out flying in the second half, trying to shorten the gap. As expected the start of the second half was extremely quick. Challenges flew in and the injuries and stoppages started to accumulate.
The second half was back and forth with us holding more possession. In the seventieth minute, we were awarded a penalty for a late challenge in the box. Cesar calmly stepped up but his first effort was denied. The rebound ricochet directly back to him. Trying to hit it first time with no time to compose himself, the second effort was directly at the keeper again. The scor remained unchanged.
As tensions started to rise, the fouls started to come in on both sides of the pitch. We were awarded a free kick by the touch line. Cesar put in a ball to Alex, who was on the near post. Alex flicked the header to the back post, where Jake Lister smashed in the redirected ball in from a volley. The remainder of the match did not see any clear cut chances. After three minutes of injury time were added to the second half, the final whistle blew.
Celebrations roared as we qualified for the fourth round of the US Open Cup for the second year in a row. We should expect to see an announcement for the upcoming fixtures from USA Soccer in January. The match will be played in Spring of 2019. As soon as the fixtures are announced, we will have updates on every one of our social media outlets.