Monterey Bay F.C. Douses Central Valley Fuego FC with 3-1 Victory in the Second Round of U.S. Open Cup
FRESNO, California (Wednesday, April 5, 2023) – Monterey Bay F.C. defeated USL League One side Central Valley Fuego FC 3-1 at Fresno State Soccer Stadium in the second round of the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The match remained at a scoreless deadlock after 90 minutes, pushing the match into extra time for the first time in Club history. Christian Volesky scored the breakthrough goal of the match in the 97th minute, followed by goals from Alex Dixon (110’) and Sam Gleadle (120+1’) to seal the second round victory for the Crisp and Kelp and a second first for the Club, the first-ever Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup win for Monterey Bay.
Monterey Bay F.C. earned its first chance of the night in the 6th minute of the match. Following a run down the right sideline, Morey Doner played the back to Walmer Martínez in space above the 18-yard box. Martínez’ shot from was deflected to the right of the post and out for a corner. The ensuing corner kick found Hugh Roberts II in the box, but the header missed over the top of the crossbar. Shortly after following a turnover for Fuego FC in a dangerous part of the pitch, Martínez found himself with a second opportunity – this time inside the box – that resulted in the second corner of the night for the Union to no avail. In the 37th minute, Grant Robinson made a run forward and found Jason Johnson in the center of the pitch. Johnson played the ball right back on the give-and-go to a streaking Robinson, but his left-footed shot was saved at the near post. Fuego FC saw its first look of the half in the 42nd minute, but the shot was denied by Carlos Herrera at the near post and the half ended level at 0-0.
The Union were given a scare seven minutes into the second half as Central Valley looked to score the opener on a header, but the goal was waived off for offside. A minute later, Jesús Enríquez took possession and drove down the middle of the field. He played the ball to Doner on the right side of the box, but the chance was thwarted by the Fuego FC defense. The Crisp and Kelp came close to scoring in the 57th minute, but Johnson’s header inside the box was caught by the goalkeeper to stall the chance. As time wound down in the match in the 84th minute, Fuego FC fired a shot from just outside the box, but a brilliant diving save by Herrera at the far post kept the hosts off the board and brought the match into extra time.
Monterey Bay F.C. found the long-awaited breakthrough seven minutes into extra time when second-half substitute Volesky slipped past the defense and slid the ball into the back of the net to give the Crisp and Kelp the 1-0 lead. The Union extended the lead in the 110th minute of the match with a screamer from outside the 18-yard box by Dixon to put Monterey Bay F.C. in front by a score of 2-0. Central Valley Fuego FC pulled one back in the 116th minute of the match to bring the score to 2-1. Then in the first of three final added minutes in the match, Gleadle sprung the Union on the counter and started a two-on-one break. With the defender stuck in between decisions, Gleadle played the ball to Dixon. Once the defender committed to Dixon, he played it patiently back to Gleadle who then found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper before slotting it home to seal the 3-1 victory for Monterey Bay.
Match: Monterey Bay F.C. at Central Valley Fuego FC
Date: April 5, 2023
Venue: Fresno State Soccer Stadium; Fresno, California
Weather: Partly cloudy and 62 degrees