Orlando City SC captures 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title
ORLANDO, FLA. – Before a packed house of 25,527 fans, Orlando City SC won the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer’s National Championship, by defeating Sacramento Republic FC 3-0. A second half Facundo Torres brace fired the club to victory and its first trophy as a Division I (MLS) club.
With the win, Orlando also pockets the $300,000 prize awarded to the tournament champion, sees their name engraved on the historic Dewar Cup and claims a berth in the 2023 Concacaf Champions League. The Lions are only the second team from the Sunshine State to win the Open Cup and they were watched by members of Florida’s last Open Cup champs, the St. Petersburg Kickers, who won American soccer’s oldest competition in 1989. Ten members of the Kickers championship team were honored for their Cup win in a special pre-match ceremony.
For their part, Sacramento also etched their names in Open Cup lore as only the third lower-division side to reach the Open Cup Final since the beginning of MLS in 1996 and first to contest the title game since 2008. The magical run earned the Quails not only a historical mention but $100,000 as a tournament finalist and a further $25,000 as the Division II team that advanced furthest in the competition.
The evening Florida air was heavy in the hours before kickoff and let loose its rain with the game’s opening kick. A cagey first eight minutes of the match began with the visitors attempting to possess the ball and build an attack while their hosts pressed for turnovers, which they ultimately induced only for the first shot to be sent high over the bar as Torres warmed up his shooting boots.
The sold-out crowd echoed the heavens with thunderous support for the Lions with every challenge and half chance. An especially clever bit of play from Orlando in the 20th minute had Sacramento’s defense scrambling – but a header from Ercan Kara that flashed wide of the post let the Quails off the hook.
Enlivened by the near concession, the visitors went close themselves only a minute later when Maalique Foster zipped a low shot agonizingly outside the Lions left post.
A high-paced opening 25 minutes slowly gave way to a slog as the heat and humidity sapped the players’ energy and the game settled into a midfield battle of slow build-ups and sluggish fouls. Two committed by Sacramento in the closing minutes of the half presented the hosts with appetizing opportunities to sneak a goal before the break. But a stern defense repelled both Orlando set piece attempts and sent the combatants to the locker rooms tied 0-0.
The final frame began with Sacramento earning a free kick in the same position as Orlando’s second that came just before the half. Similarly, it came to naught as the game remained a tight affair punctuated by fouls and gamesmanship.
The Lions made the first personnel move, lifting Kara for the speedy Benji Michel on the hour mark. It was a move that would soon pay dividends for head coach Oscar Pareja’s men.
The game turned like a flashing of lightning just before the 75th minute as Sacramento nearly broke through. Only Antônio Carlos dragging back Foster prevented the fleet footed forward from breaking in alone on goal. The resulting free kick earned the visitors a corner on which Quails defender Lee Desmond and Orlando GK Pedro Gallese collided like a thunder clap.
The yellow card Carlos received was likely well worth it. The tactical foul denied Foster a chance to give the underdogs the lead, and Orlando went ahead in the next passage of play. A flowing move down the left wing allowed Michel to cut into the Sacramento box and lay off the perfect ball for Torres to smash home. Torres added his second of the game from the penalty spot with only 10 minutes left in regulation.
Sacramento defender Dan Casey brought down Michel with a sliding tackle to give away the penalty that Torres coolly sent past Daniel Vitiello to make it 2-0.
The tournament’s giant killers who had previously defeated three MLS teams pushed to get a goal back but a Lopez driver that whistled past the post in added time was as close as they could get before Torres turned provider on Michel’s 96th minute strike that cemented the final 3-0 score line and Orlando City as 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Champions.
-LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP FINAL MATCH REPORT-
Orlando City SC (Div. I MLS) vs. Sacramento Republic FC (Div. II USLC) – Final
Sept. 7, 2022 – 8 p.m. ET – 87 degrees, light rain
Exploria Stadium; Orlando, Fla. (25,527 attendance – sold out)
Scoring Summary: 1 2
ORL 0 3
SAC 0 0
Facundo Torres (Benji Michel) 75th minute
Facundo Torres (penalty) 80
Benji Michel (Facundo Torres) 90+6
ORL: 1-Pedro Gallese, 4-João Moutinho, 15-Rodrigo Schlegel, 25-Antônio Carlos, 2-Ruan (24-Kyle Smith, 83), 10-Mauricio Pereyra © (16-Wilder Cartagena, 90+1), 5-César Araújo, 11-Júnior Urso (21-Andrés Perea, 90+1), 77-Iván Angulo (13-Tesho Akindele, 83), 9-Ercan Kara (19-Benji Michel, 61), 17-Facundo Torres
Substitutes not used: 31-Mason Stajduhar, 6-Robin Jansson
Head coach: Oscar Pareja
SAC: 31- Daniel Vitiello, 4-Lee Desmond, 24-Conor Donovan (19-Nick Ross, 88), 5-Dan Casey, 3-Damià Viader, 96-Luis Felipe, 20-Matt LaGrassa (11-Emil Cuello, 78), 2-Jack Gurr, 8-Rodrigo López (c), 99-Maalique Foster (17-Luther Archimède, 78), 7-Keko Gontán (42-Douglas Martínez, 65)
Substitutes not used: 1-Carlos Saldaña, 6-Josh Bauer, 14-Duke Lacroix
Head coach: Mark Briggs
Stats Summary: ORL / SAC
Shots: 15 / 5
Shots on Goal: 3 / 2
Saves: 2 / 0
Corner Kicks: 1 / 2
Fouls: 11 / 15
Offside: 1 / 1
ORL – Antônio Carlos (caution) 69th minute
SAC – Lee Desmond (caution) 74
SAC – Luis Felipe (caution) 77
SAC – Rodrigo Lopez (caution) 79
ORL – Mauricio Pereyra (caution) 91
Referee: Ramy Touchan
AR1 & 2: Kevin Klinger, Ian McKay
4th Official: Jose Da Silva