Print and Go Back Los Angeles Soccer [Print without images]

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
OPEN CUP: Blues open vs. local foe

By Scott French

The L.A. Blues await a U.S. Open Cup rematch or a showdown with a crosstown foe in America's oldest soccer competition. The lone matchup of clubs from rival fourth-division leagues will determine which.

U.S. Soccer unveiled on Tuesday afternoon the pairings for the first two rounds of the Open Cup, which kicks off May 15 with 16 matches, as many as three of them involving local clubs.

The Blues, from the third-tier USL Pro league, enter the competition in the second round, on May 22, and will play against the Ventura County Fusion or the Fullerton Rangers at Cal State Fullerton.

The Rangers (from the National Premier Soccer League) and Fusion (from the USL's Premier Development League) will meet in a May 15 first-rounder. It is one of two among 32 games in which a venue was not identified nor the host designated, but Fullerton Rangers NPSL club president Alberto Ochoa said in an email that city permits were being finalized to stage the game at Santa Ana Stadium, the club's home field.

The Blues beat the Fusion, 1-0, in an Open Cup second-round game last year at Ventura College. The Rangers, like the Blues, are, of course, based in Fullerton.

The U.S. Adult Soccer Association's Region IV tournament this weekend at Ontario Soccer Park will determine the final two entrants in the 64-team field, and one will play in the opening round against reigning PDL champion Kitsap Pumas in Bremerton, Wash., and the other will travel to play 2010 PDL titlist Portland Timbers U-23.

Five of eight teams in the Region IV field are from the L.A. area: Manhattan Beach's Doxa Italia, a Coast Soccer League power that lost a tight first-round game to Ventura in last year's Open Cup, plus Thousand Oaks' Cal FC (La Gran Liga), Irvine's PSA Elite (Coast Soccer League) and OC Crew (United Premier Soccer League), and Los Angeles' The Internationalist (L.A. City Municipal Soccer League).

The Galaxy and Chivas USA enter the competition in the third round, on May 29.

Here is the schedule of games (potentially) involving local teams:

Tuesday, May 15

Ventura County Fusion (PDL) vs. Fullerton Rangers (NPSL), at site and time TBA
USASA Region IV TBA at Portland Timbers U-23 (PDL), at Jeld-Wen Stadium (Portland, Ore.), 7:10 p.m.
USASA Region IV TBA at Kitsap Pumas (PDL), at Bremerton (Wash.) Memorial Stadium, 7:15 p.m.

Tuesday, May 22
Ventura County Fusion/Fullerton Rangers winner at L.A. Blues (USL Pro), at Titan Stadium, Cal State Fullerton, 7:30 p.m.
USASA Region IV/Kitsap Pumas winner at Wilmington Hammerheads (USL Pro), at Legion Sports Complex (Wilmington, N.C.), 4 p.m.
USASA Region IV/Portland Timbers U-23 winner at Carolina RailHawks (NASL), at WakeMed Park (Cary, N.C.), 4:07 p.m.

Here are the first- and second-round matchups: Key:
NASL -- North American Soccer League (second division)
USL Pro -- USL Pro (third division)
PDL -- USL Premier Development League (semipro/amateur, fourth division)
NPSL -- National Premier Soccer League (semipro/amateur, fourth division)
USASA -- U.S. Adult Soccer Association (semipro/amateur)
USCS -- U.S. Club Soccer (semipro/amateur)