DENVER, Colo. –The road to being crowned the best adult amateur team in the country continues when Azteca FC 5280 (Colorado) welcomes San Nicolas FC (Cal-South) to Long Lake Soccer Complex in Arvada.
Both teams have an extended club history and have built favorable reputations within the region competing in out of state tournaments, U.S. Open Cup participation and their respective State Cups, but how did they get here?
San Nicolas FC (Cal-South)
San Nicolas comes into this match representing California South Soccer Association. Their journey began on Saturday, March 3rd when they defeated Traviezos in the opening game of the Cal South Adult State Cup with an impressive score of 14 to 1. “San Nico” as they are also known, would then go undefeated in Group A netting a total of 23 goals while only receiving 2 against the already mentioned Traviezos, SFV Scorpions, and Chula Vista FC-Premier.
In the quarter-finals they would face-off against Buena Park FC-Premier, winning 4-1. The semis were no different for them, taking down Lionside FC 5-1 and moving onto the finals. It was no surprise that from the 16-California team competition, they looked like the favorites to win it all. However; it wasn’t until the final where they would meet once again against Group A rival Chula Vista FC, who would claim revenge and take home the Cal-South Adult State Cup trophy. Being finalists, both San Nicolas FC and Chula Vista FC qualified for regionals while Colorado and Arizona each had one representative.
On May 12th, San Nicolas would defeat Arizona State Cup champions Real Jalicience 4-0 in the first regional semi-final match-up, leaving them waiting on either Chula Vista or Azteca FC 5280.
Azteca FC 5280 (Colorado)
Azteca’s journey was not as simple. On March 10th to kick-off the Colorado Adult State Cup, they were surprised by GAM United 2-1 in their first ever encounter. A week later, they would re-establish themselves with a 4-1 victory over Denver Metro FC. In the final group stage game in order to qualify, Azteca just managed to get past FC Greeley in a close game 2-1. April 7th proved to be an even bigger test and not just because it was the semi-finals, but because they were up against longtime rivals and a rejuvenated qualify squad, Guadalajara. That game was just as close as their last, taking down Chivas 2-1. Denver University’s Ciber Field was the site for the state final on Sunday, April 15th. Similar to San Nicolas FC and Chula Vista FC, a group stage match-up repeated itself in the final for Colorado. This time, GAM United did not run with the same luck despite scoring a last-minute goal in regulation and taking Andy De La Rosa’s team to a penalty shoot-out. Azteca were crowned Colorado Adult State Cup Champions.
Just two weeks ago, Chula Vista made the trip to face Azteca FC in the other regional semi-final already knowing that the winner would face San Nicolas FC. That game would end in a 2-0 victory for Colorado.
The Lead Up: Armando Gonzalez
We recently talked with Azteca FC 5280 Captain Armando Gonzalez and asked him a few questions leading up to the Region IV Final.
Q: What has been the key for Azteca to reach the Region Final?
A: “I believe the key to reaching the final has been that we play as a team. Even though we don’t always train together and we all have jobs and families, we have managed to stick together and play smart soccer.”
Q: What do you expect from San Nicolas FC?
A: “I expect the same thing from any other team. They are going to be hungry for the win, but we are prepared and ready to put up a fight in search of the win.”
Q: How are you feeling knowing you are only one game away from reaching the Amateur Cup and not only representing your city and state but the whole region?
A: “I honestly don’t know how I feel, I haven’t thought about that yet. I’m just ready and focused on Saturday’s game.”
USASA Amateur Cup Region IV Championship
Azteca FC 5280 (Colorado)
Vs. San Nicolas FC (Cal-South)
Long Lake East Turf Field
6:00 p.m. Kick-off
17850 W 64thAve.
Arvada, CO, 80403
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