A brace from Efrain Alvarez paved the way for a 3-0 LA Galaxy win Wednesday night over NPSL side Orange County FC in fourth-round action of the US Open Cup.
The breakthrough was a long time coming, as the Galaxy applied consistent pressure to OCFC goalkeeper David Preys. But the final product was lacking in the first half, as shots repeatedly sailed over the crossbar.
Then a free kick arose in the 55th minute, and Alvarez curled home a left-footed beauty to open the scoring and halt OCFC’s growing confidence. Hopes of a comeback were then halted when Alvarez tapped into an open net after Argentine signing Favio Alvarez created a turnover in the attacking third.
Leading 2-0, the Galaxy then added a third via SuperDraft pick Emil Cuello. The Southern Methodist University product's left foot found net in the 90th minute for his first with LA.
OCFC finished with just one shot on target, though defender Rayan Holland hit the post in the 86th minute after David Bingham made a meal of a floated cross into the penalty area.
- 55' – LA – Efrain Alvarez | WATCH
- 61' – LA – Efrain Alvarez | WATCH
- 90' – LA – Emil Cuello | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: The final amateur team left standing is out of the Open Cup, as the Galaxy staved up a Cupset that would have rivaled Cal FC beating the Portland Timbers in 2012. It was a valiant run for the Paul Caligiuri-led team, but the gap between amateur and professional was too vast.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The first Efrain Alvarez goal – a bending free kick from 20 yards out into the top corner – was a thing of beauty. When Ema Boateng was fouled left of the goal, the situation set up perfectly for the Mexican U-17 international. In short order, he supplied an exquisite finish.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: With his second-half brace, Efrain Alvarez's name is now etched into the goals-scored column for the Galaxy. He floated into dangerous spaces all evening, as Orange County struggled to track the 16-year-old Homegrown Player's attacking movement.
- LA: June 18-23, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16