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Thursday, March 29, 2012
Fullerton Rangers near Open Cup

By Scott French

The Fullerton Rangers are one game from a berth in the U.S. Open Cup and can claim passage to the nation's oldest soccer tournament with a victory Friday night in San Diego.

The Rangers, a longtime youth club that joined the fourth-division National Premier Soccer League this season, take on NPSL Western Division rival San Diego Boca at Balboa Stadium at 7 p.m.

Fullerton rallied for a 2-1 victory Tuesday over Thousand Oaks' FC Hasental in an NPSL Open Cup qualifying semifinal on goals  by Cal State Dominguez Hills' Andre Turoldo (Torrance/North Torrance HS) and former CSUDH standout Julio Madrigal (Inglewood/Inglewood HS and L.A. Harbor College). Boca upset archrival San Diego Flash, 1-0, in overtime in the other semifinal.

The NPSL has 6.5 berths in the 64-team field and enters the competition in the first round, scheduled for May 15. Clubs from the second-tier North American Soccer League and third-tier USL Pro begin with second-round games May 22, and MLS clubs enter in the third round May 29.

This is the 99th year of the tournament.

Local teams in this year's field (all qualified automatically):

Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
Chivas USA (MLS)
Los Angeles Blues (USL Pro)
Ventura County Fusion (USL Premier Development League)