The first round of the 2016 U.S. Open Cup took place on Wednesday night, and of the five Southern California teams that participated, two made it through to the next round.
For the Orange County Blues, the Ventura County Fusion-LA Wolves FC match was the one to keep an eye on, because the Blues will play the winner next week in the second round.
But there may be an unusual twist in this story. The Wolves, a local amateur side playing in the Open Cup for the first time, are reportedly set to file a protest with U.S. Soccer over the game, according to a U.S. Open Cup blog TheCup.us story. LA Wolves contend that Ventura County fielded a player on Wednesday in the game, which finished 2-1, who played in a 2016 U.S. Open Cup qualifier for Cal FC, and that as a result, the player is cap-tied for the competition and was ineligible for last night's game. As a result, LA want the result forfeited.
As of time of publishing, U.S. Soccer had not acknowledged a protest by LA Wolves, as they included Ventura County in the draw for the third round of the Open Cup and list the Fusion as being the upcoming opponents of the OC Blues.
A spokesperson for the Fusion told The Goat Parade on Thursday morning they have not heard anything from U.S. Soccer on the matter and are looking ahead to their upcoming PDL game against FC Tucson on Saturday, as well as next week's Open Cup game against the Blues.
So as it stands, the Blues will go to the Ventura College Sportsplex on Wednesday to face the Fusion. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm PT. But even the Blues didn't mind fanning the flames of TheCup's report on Twitter:
As for the third round draw, U.S. Soccer announced that the winner of the Ventura County Fusion-OC Blues second round game will take on the winner of the Sacramento Gold-La Maquina game. La Maquina is a Southern California side, the other one to win their first round game, so if they advance next week, it will be another all-SoCal match-up. According to the Open Cup's official Twitter account, the host of that third round game is to be determined (aside from obviously waiting for which teams will advance).
So mark your calendars! Wednesday's the day for the OC Blues to enter the Open Cup! And they'll (probably) head to Ventura to see if they can make a run in this year's tournament!
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