Los Angeles Football Club were ahead for technically just one minute in Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 game against Sacramento Republic FC, but it was the right one, as they defeated the USL side 3-2 at Banc of California Stadium.
LAFC, playing a mix of starters and reserves, knew it would be a tougher task, even if they were going against another lower-league opponent in the U.S. Open Cup. And Sacramento, which already knocked off MLS opposition in the previous round, were up for the challenge under first-year head coach Simon Elliott. But LAFC persisted, even through a missed penalty and three shots off the woodwork, and they were rewarded with a win in the penultimate minute.
Sacramento Republic took the lead in the 35th minute, as Jure Matjasic dribbled into LAFC’s box on the counterattack and got a shot off that was blocked by Tyler Miller. But the rebound trickled right in front of goal, and Elliott Hord buried it.
LAFC drew a penalty right before halftime, and it looked like they would tie it up as Benny Feilhaber came up to the spot. But his poor attempt was saved by Sacramento goalkeeper Josh Cohen, and Sacramento went into the break ahead 1-0.
LAFC tied up the game in the 58th minute as Feilhaber atoned for his earlier miss with a nice cut in the box and a nice shot, but Sacramento went back ahead once more just two minutes later courtesy of Villyan Bijev.
Diego Rossi, who had the best performance of the night by an LAFC player, then tied up the game again in the 67th minute, and from there the game was quite open as both sides looked for the dagger to win it.
Rossi nearly scored again in the 85th minute, but his shot went off the post again, and it bounced back along the goal line, never crossing it.
But the capper came in the 89th minute, as Rossi forced a turnover with plenty of space in Sacramento’s half, and sent a low cross on the doorstep that was timed perfectly, with Latif Blessing waiting at the back post to tap in off his run. LAFC went ahead, and held on for the victory.
The win means LAFC are in the quarterfinals of the Open Cup, and they’ll face the Portland Timbers at The Banc, on or around July 18. What a win, and what another great chapter in LAFC’s debut season.
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