It’s cup season again, Roots fans! Roots host El Farolito Soccer Club of San Francisco, and the NPSL, in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Cal State University East Bay’s Pioneer Stadium at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4. You can buy tickets from the link in this tweet:
That match will be streamed on Bleacher Report’s youtube channel.
This is a brief post because of the tight turnaround from the league on Saturday, and because there’s not nearly as much available information about El Farolito.
You should, however, read this post on the U.S. Soccer website. El Farolito has competed in the NPSL since 2017, a semi-professional league with 92 teams including two Oakland based clubs, Oakland SC and Oakland Stompers, and a club that would be near and dear to my heart if they weren’t folding and I could actually get to a game, AFC Mobile.
In the first round, El Farolito knocked off International San Francisco. ISFSC was founded in 2021 and earned promotion to the second division the San Francisco Soccer Football League, which has the premier name of all local soccer football leagues (and has apparently been in existence since 1902), and was the home of El Farolito under its prior name, Club Deportivo Mexico. As Jon pointed out on a recent RootsPod, ISFSC features a handful of former Roots players from the NISA days including Nikolai Littleton and Matt Fondy.
El Farolito’s victory over ISFSC can be found in its entirety here. I did find some highlights, but it’s still longer than you’d think. Through the first 90 and a lengthy stoppage time, there appears to have been a red card and a single shot on target. There were two pretty violent elbows caught by the camera, so I’m not wild about the Roots running into that.
El Farolito open the scoring three minutes into extra time (about the 11 minute mark of the highlights) on an emphatic header that deflected off an ISFSC player’s back and wrong-foots the keeper. El Farolito score again in the 99th on another corner (I think, may be a free kick closer in), this time ISFSC fail to clear the ball out of the 6-yard box and eventually it rolls to a Farolito player who can’t miss from one yard out. The third goal comes from #24 (I’m not going to attempt a “players to watch” here, but he’s the one, it would seem, as he also scored the second) breaking free on the right and getting beyond his man, sliding the ball just wide of the back post for his onrushing teammate to finish from close.
Lineup and Score Predictions
The Roots have several players this season who appear on the Roots roster, but are expected to play primarily with Project 510. If a player was on the Project 510 Roster for their match against Crossfire Redmond in the first round of the US Open Cup, that player is not eligible for the Roots. In pertinent part, that means: Timothy Syrel (GK), Etsgar Crus (FW), and Damario McIntosh (DF). Please don’t look at my earlier drafts of this piece in which I had two of those three starting.
I see the Roots playing a mixture of senior players they want to get settled and junior players they want to get game time, but I think Emrah and Johnny still feature because Noah won’t want to send Tamacas out there in this game, and the only options up top really are Johnny and Pelaez (who played 60 minutes on Saturday). I bet he sticks with the same formation, even though he is not running out Rito or Mfeka, because he will want to see how everyone fits in the system to decide how they can be used down the road.
I think this is more than strong enough, but my hope is that if it’s not, Noah will pull out the big guns to get the win.
I don’t think he will need to, Roots take it 3-0 with goals from Reid, Rodriguez and Prentice and we get to see some other guys who have been waiting for a chance.
I’d defer to Jon’s lineup prediction over mine when it comes to the guys we haven’t seen much of. I’m essentially guessing about where they line up.
I’m essentially guessing at RW. My initial thought was perhaps Wolfgang lines up in the attack, but we’ve received previous feedback that he’s been training at right back. I currently have Gomez up top because he has experience at Project 51O and should be more comfortable with the system than some other players–but it’s purely a guess and it is difficult seeing him there. But, in the end, we should see a lot of the guys who haven’t gotten much action yet: like Hackshaw, Wright, Tamacas, Kohler, Murray, and Reid. It should be a lineup capable of a 5-0 win, so I’m going with that, 5-0 Roots.
Look, I don’t know. Some personnel rotation seems a given, but I say we go all in. I don’t see how you replace what Rito is doing out there, so I suggest straight up not even trying, hence the predicted formation change. I think we’ll see a lot of youth out there for this one, so Nane starts, as a stabilizing veteran presence. The guess here is that this will be a good match in which to get some of the newer arrivals 45 to 60 minutes of live game time, which is why I think Hackshaw and Wright get a run out. I’m not terribly confident we see Tamacas, but the most obvious way to compensate for a lack of Rito on the right is Tamacas. Alternately, run the back three with Hackshaw, Murray, and Klimenta, and have Diaz man the RWB spot opposite Wright. Also I see an extra man in midfield because there just aren’t enough forward options available. 3-1 Roots.