Sammy Ochoa won the US Open Cup with MLS side Seattle Sounders back in 2011. He has a total of 6 goals in the 11 games he has played overall in this competition.
Las Vegas, NV – The 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is America's longest-running soccer tournament, giving players from every level in the country a chance to dream of having a run to remember. Cashman Field is the place where Lights FC will play for the opportunity to continue advancing in the competition by taking on NPSL amateur side Orange County FC on Wednesday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. The winner will advance to the Fourth Round and face a Major League Soccer opponent.
"This tournament is paramount to us," said Lights FC manager Eric Wynalda. "We've realized that our league play and accumulating points is always going to be important, but the opportunity that we have right now in this competition is something that we also have to recognize."
After having successful experiences in the U.S. Open Cup with Cal FC and L.A. Wolves FC from the amateur ranks, plus with NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks from the professional level, Wynalda wants to surpass that success with Las Vegas. For that, he has established a game-plan both for the match itself and coming into it.
"We've had to rest players for this, that's the complete opposite of what most teams do," stated Wynalda. "We rested players against Tulsa to prepare them for Wednesday. We're going to get after it on Wednesday night and it's going to be very energetic, very offensive."
This match will pit two former U.S. Men's National Team players who were teammates in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, as Paul Caligiuri is Orange County FC's head coach and Eric Wynalda leads Lights FC. “There's a lot of mutual respect that we have for each other as teammates and friends,” said Eric Wynalda. “It’s unfortunate that I have to play against a friend. They have to come here and beat us, which is a tough task that I don't anticipate happening.”
Patience paid off for goalkeeper Angel Alvarez. The Rancho High School grad got his first official start of 2019 in Lights FC's second round Open Cup game against Cal FC, where he had a clean sheet.
WEDNESDAY’S OPPONENT: ORANGE COUNTY FC
OCFC currently sits in second place of their division in the NPSL with a total of 29 points product of their 9 wins, 2 losses, and 9 ties this season.
Cody Shelton is the team's leading scorer with 8 goals, with Dakota Collins right behind him with 7.
Paul Caligiuri's team advanced to this phase of the US Open Cup after defeating Golden State Force in the first round. OCFC was out-shot 22 to 10 in this match while only having the possession during 34% of the game.
Orange County FC followed this victory up with an upset win against their neighbors, USL Championship's Orange County SC. Trailing 2-1 in added time, a header from Ryan Holland found the back of the net to tie the match and send it to extra time and eventually penalty kicks, where OCFC scored their five shots and goalkeeper David Preys blocked a PK to make the difference.
Javan Torre was selected by Eric Wynalda as the team captain for the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
LIGHTS FC NOTES HEADING INTO SATURDAY’S MATCH:
WYNALDA IN THE US OPEN CUP
Las Vegas is the fourth team that Eric Wynalda has coached in the US Open Cup and he's trying to have a great run with Lights FC as he has done with his previous teams. In 2012 he led amateur side Cal FC to the fourth round after defeating the Portland Timbers from the MLS and the Wilmington Hammerheads of the USL.
In 2014 his Atlanta Hammerheads from the NASL advanced to the quarterfinals after getting past a pair of MLS squads in Real Salt Lake and Colorado Rapids. Meanwhile, in 2017 he took the amateur LA Wolves FC from being a local qualifier all the way to the third round.
Las Vegas surpassed their longest undefeated streak at Cashman Field from their inaugural year with 6 consecutive league games without losing at home in the 2019 USL Championship season.
Las Vegas is one of five Western Conference teams in USL Championship that remain undefeated at home in 2019. Lights FC has the highest efficiency while playing at their stadium with their record of 4 wins, 2 draw and no losses (77.7% efficiency).
SHORT WEEK WITH US OPEN CUP
For the second time in three weeks, Las Vegas will play 3 games in an 8-day span. After their scoreless draw against Tulsa on Saturday, May 25, Lights FC will return to US Open Cup action by taking on NPSL squad Orange County FC in the Third Round on Wednesday, May 29 at Cashman Field. Closing out the week will be the first match of the 2019 Silver State Cup by visiting in-state rival Reno 1868 FC.
OCHOA: OPEN CUP CHAMP
Like every player on Lights FC's roster, Sammy Ochoa wants to raise the prestigious Dewar Cup. Unlike his current teammates, Ochoa has already won the US Open Cup to raise that trophy. He has scored six goals in eleven tournament games he has been a part of in his career.
Ochoa played with Seattle Sounders when they were Open Cup finalists in back-to-back years, winning it in 2011 and being runner-ups in 2012. Ochoa scored three goals in the 2012 edition of the tournament, including two in Seattle's 5-0 win against Cal FC in the Round of 16 that ended Eric Wynalda's run with his former team.
Angel Alvarez is the only non-injured Lights FC player that still hasn't made his league debut in 2019, being the backup to Thomas Olsen who has clean sheets in half of Lights FC's matches.
But Angel's hard work day in and day out was rewarded by getting his first official playing time of the year by being in the Starting XI against Cal FC during the second round US Open Cup match, where he got his own clean sheet to continue the stellar play by both Vegas born & raised goalkeepers at Cashman Field this season.
After playing in two regular-season matches as a substitute, Victor Rojas was a part of Lights FC's lineup for the first time when they faced Cal FC in US Open Cup action. He capitalized on the opportunity by scoring the second goal in the 2-0 win for Las Vegas, while being effective in the team's midfield by completing 94% of his passes.
Irvin Parra - OUT - Cup Tied
Cristhian Hernandez - OUT - Cup Tied
Gabe Robinson - OUT - Cup Tied
Kevin Garcia Lopez - OUT - Cup Tied
Eric Gonzalez - OUT - Cup Tied
Jonathan Levin - OUT - Suspended (Red Card vs Cal FC)
Bryan de la Fuente - OUT - Lower Body Injury
HERE IS EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW AHEAD OF WEDNESDAY'S MATCH VS. ORANGE COUNTY FC:
** Wednesday’s match kicks off at 7:30 p.m., start time for all Lights FC home matches in 2019. For on-site ticket purchase at Cashman Field, both the box office and will call open at 4:00 p.m. on gameday. Tickets are available at LightsFC.com/OpenCup and at every La Bonita Supermarket in Las Vegas.
** Tickets are priced at only $10 with all seating for this game at Cashman Field being general admission. Those in attendance are encouraged to enjoy the game pitch-side, fans will be able to bring their own folding chairs or blankets inside the stadium to sit on the field.
** Anyone that purchases a ticket will have access to a special FREE "As Easy As ABC Clinic" for kids ages 5-12, presented by ABC Hyundai. Members of Lights FC's roster will put the kids through drills from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
WHERE TO WATCH LAS VEGAS LIGHTS FC VS. ORANGE COUNTY FC:
Wednesday's game (7:30 p.m. kickoff) will be streamed exclusively on ESPN+, with broadcasters David Gass and Bobby Washaw announcing the action.
Lamar Hunt US Open Cup matches will stream exclusively on ESPN+, which signed a multi-year rights agreement with U.S. Soccer to broadcast every game of the tournament.