Fresno, Calif - After scoring a brace in the USL PDL opener vs. Burlingame FC, Jose ‘Chiva’ Cuevas delivered another two-goal night against La Maquina FC in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Wednesday.
After back-and-forth chances for both clubs, Cuevas opened the scoring in the 19th minute with a right-footed curler to put the Fuego up 1-0.
“I think that was a big time goal, because La Maquina were good,” Cuevas said. “They pressed us, while we were still trying to find our rhythm. After we got that goal, it calmed us down and allowed us to find our rhythm.”
Goalkeeper Agustin Rey was named Man of the Match
La Maquina had a chance in the 34th minute to equalize on a free kick, just outside the box. However, it was blocked and the visitors could not regain possession.
Fuego goalkeeper Agustin Rey denied the UPSL side with back-to-back saves in the 52nd minute to keep the game at 1-0.
However, the visitors would strike 13 minutes later as Jose Montes de Oca buried Edwin Borboa’s pass to level the game at 1-1
Cuevas put the Fuego back in the lead at 2-1 with his second of the night in the 70th minute.
“Sometimes you go through those phases where you're hot and it’s just soccer,” Cuevas said. “I just want to keep scoring for the city, for the club, and for my family.”
Three minutes later, substitute Joey Chica’s touch toward goal, hit the post, and trickled into goal for a 3-1 Fuego lead.
“All I knew was I needed get a goal to calm things down for my team and that was a great ball by Eti,” Chica said. “I thought I missed it to be honest.”
After servicing Chica on the assist, Eti Tavares got a goal of his own in stoppage time, to put the game away at 4-1.
Head coach Brian Zwaschka felt that getting the victory was not only great for his team, but for the community as well.
“It’s massive. La Maquina is such a great team, who had an amazing run last year. Anything can happen in the Open Cup, and with a win, you play bigger and bigger teams. For us to be able to do that and get the win means a lot for the community.”
With the win, the Fuego will host USL side Phoenix Rising FC on Wednesday, May 17 at the Fresno State Soccer Field. The USL side features star players such as Omar Bravo, Shaun Wright-Phillips, and Didier Drogba.
Cuevas is excited to play the trio, but he is even more ecstatic to face his former club.
“I’m very excited, because that’s my old club,” Cuevas said. “I’ll definitely play with a little itch on my back, nothing against them, but it’s always good to play against your old club.”
Kick-off is set for 7pm vs. Phoenix Rising FC with tickets available at the Chukchansi Park box office and online at bit.ly/FuegoTickets. Tickets go on sale Friday, May 12, at noon.
The Fuego travel to Burlingame this Sunday to face the Dragons in PDL play. Kick-off is set for 4 p.m. in the Bay Area.