Thursday, May 30, 2013

30 May 2012 - Cal Cruises Into History

On 30 May 2012, the 99-year old US Open Cup saw one of its biggest upsets when amateur side Cal FC beat the MLS's Portland Timbers.

Based out of Thousand Oaks, California and competing in La Gran Liga de Oxnard of the United States Adult Soccer Association, the fifth tier of the US football pyramid, Cal FC's team included a mix of former professionals and perpetual amateurs. They were coached by US international-turned-commentator Eric Wynalda and his Fox Football Fone-In co-host Nick Webster.

Playing in their first US Open Cup, they started with a 3-1 win over the defending PDL champions Kitsap Pumas in the first round, followed by a second-round rout of the USL-Pro Wilmington Hammerheads, 4-0. That sent them into the third round, where they drew Portland, who were just entering the competition.

The top-flight side hosted the match and dominated it statistically, taking 43 shots to Cal's 11, but that barrage failed to lead to a goal. Their best opportunity came in the 80th minute, when the referee awarded a penalty kick to Portland, but striker Kris Boyd sent the ball over the bar. Then, in extra time, Cal forward Artur Aghasyan--who had played briefly for Real Salt Lake in 2011, making four appearances--found the back of the net, beating Portland keeper Troy Perkins in the 95th minute to secure the 0-1 victory for the underdogs.

Unfortunately for Cal FC, they could not maintain that form and lost 5-0 to the Seattle Sounders in the next round. But their win over Portland remains an iconic moment in the competition.

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