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Professional Jul 28, 2022

Orlando City SC and Sacramento Republic FC to face off in 2022 U.S. Open Cup Final

CHICAGO, Ill. – The penultimate stage of the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer’s National Championship, produced a sensational Semifinal spectacle as Orlando City SC earned a thundering 5-1 win against New York Red Bulls to reach the tournament Final for the first time.

The Lions will be met in the championship match by tournament darlings Sacramento Republic FC, who advanced by defeating four-time Open Cup champions Sporting Kansas City 5-4 in a penalty kick shootout.

The two finalists will meet in the 2022 U.S. Open Cup Final Sept. 7 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla. The championship match will kick off at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

Orlando is in the hunt for what would be the club’s first trophy of any kind, while Sacramento seeks its second, having won the USL League Championship in 2014. In the course of this year’s tournament, SRFC has already earned $15,000 as the Division II club with the best record in the competition as well as the distinction of being the first lower division club to reach the Open Cup Semifinal stage since FC Cincinnati in 2017. The Indomitable Club as it is colloquially known, is the first non-Div. I club to reach the Open Cup Final since the 2008 Charleston Battery and will challenge Orlando City for the $300,000 prize and Concacaf Champions League spot that is awarded to the Open Cup champion. The tournament runner-up receives $100,000.

SENSATIONAL SEMIFINALS

Orlando City cruised past New York Red Bulls 5-1 into the 2022 U.S. Open Cup Final. The night’s opening Semifinal began as a high-energy but inaccurate affair as Orlando City and New York traded handfuls of chances that hit the woodwork or screamed just wide of the target. Then as the teams entered first half stoppage time, the Red Bulls opened the scoring through Lewis Morgan only to be pegged back in the final minute by two-goal hero César Araújo. The Lions, playing their fifth match of the tournament at home, roared out of the gate in the second half as captain Mauricio Pereyra scored what stood up as the winning goal two minutes into the second frame. Araújo, whose opener was his first career goal for Orlando, then added the hosts third before Facundo Torres and Benji Michel put exclamation points on the night.

Sacramento Republic battled its way into the 2022 U.S. Open Cup Final with a 5-4 penalty kick shootout win following a 0-0 draw with Sporting KC. Through 90 minutes of regulation and another 30 minutes of overtime, both teams traded chances with the bulk of them falling to the visitors from Kansas who conjured 31 shots, but put only eight on target. SRFC goalkeeper Daniel Vitiello was equal to the task when SKC was able to endanger the Sacramento goal, a harbinger of his heroics in the penalty shootout. For its part the SRFC was resolute throughout the match making timely tackles (15), interceptions (15) and blocks to frustrate their MLS opposition for 120 minutes. The penalty shootout only ratcheted up the tension for the sellout crowd of over 11,500 at Heart Health Park, especially when Vitiello was adjudged to have left his line early on William Agada’s initial attempt. After the making the ensuing retake, Agada’s backflip celebration lit the fire of SRFC’s Maalique Foster who’s audacious panenka drew an audible gasp from the crowd before it nestled in the net to tie the shootout at 4-4. Former USMNT star Graham Zusi then saw his attempt saved by Vitiello, setting the stage for Sacramento captain and tournament Golden Boot leader Rodrigo “RoRo” Lopez to coolly dispatch the penalty kick that sent the Indomitable club to the 2022 U.S. Open Cup Final where it will attempt to become the first non-MLS club to win the competition since 1999.

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