An 86th minute goal slipped NTX Rayados past FC Wichita in the third round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The goal gave NTX the 3-2 victory on Wednesday night at Richland College.
FC Wichita fought to the bitter end, putting shots on goal right before the final whistles sounded. FC Wichita, climbed out of a 2-0 halftime deficit did it with heart and determination.
The scoring got started in the sixth minute when Adrian Ramos scored on a deflection that was purely luck. With the boys in red trailing 1-0, they pressed hard, putting shots on goal from near the 18-yard box. Nothing would come of it until the second half.
Mark Weir made a diving save to the left side of the net, denying a penalty kick opportunity for the Rayados. However, minutes later, Christian Escalera would find the back of the net from the center fo the box. FC Wichita faced their largest deficit 2-0.
That’s when head coach Blake Shumaker made his first move, swapping out Luis Vidal Pla for Matt Clare. Clare provide stability into the mid field as Ben Andoh slid back into the backline, helping bring some steady hand.
FC Wichita would lock down and control the momentum for much of the remainder of the match. Franck Tayou had a couple of shots on goal as the second half was under way. Finally, on a wonderful volley from Thomas Wells, leaving a wide open goal for Nelson Landaverde, bringing FC Wichita within 2-1 in the 60th minute.
It was like in a blink of an eye, Andres Ochoa just got a piece of an entry ball, putting it past the NTX keeper, leveling the match at 2-all in the 65th minute.
The yellow cards piled up and so did the delays. Warnings but no real cards for the NTX keeper and his unquantifiable time advantages.
Tayou had a 1-v-1 broken up in the 76th minute but a nice defensive play from the Rayados back line held firm.
FC Wichita may have fallen 3-2 against the Rayados but it wasn’t without the determination and drive that led to the come back.
“The opportunity is still there to win championships,” Shumaker said. “I know it hurts. Let’s take the momentum from the second half and move it onto Saturday.”
FC Wichita will put their undefeated NPSL record on the line against also fellow undefeated and rival, the Tulsa Athletic on Saturday. Kick off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Stadium. Winner takes sole possession of first place in the Heartland Conference and should take over No. 1 in the nation on the NPSL Power Rankings. You can still get three tickets for $15.
FC Wichita was one of four NPSL teams to advance to the third round. The most in NPSL history in the last four years.
Man of the Match
While he didn’t score the goals, it was Clare who appeared to calm his teammates down. His entry in the 37th minute really changed the tide of the game. He had an assist on the Ochoa goal. He had a lot of through balls, a couple of shots on goal and was decent on his corner placements. In his first match with FC Wichita, Clare made a real impact on the pitch.
By the Numbers
There were four players removed from tonight’s match. Kiren Laking and Teylor Cubero for FC wichita and NTX head coach and Tito Salas. Cubero and Salas were hit with on the field red cards for their play. Laking and the NTX head coach were removed for dissent.
FC Wichita controlled the pace for as much as they could despite the early deficit. They owned the pitch, albeit a short pitch, 55 percent of the time.
There were four corner kicks a piece for each teams in this one. FC Wichita had two in the second half, one that led to an Ochoa goal.