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SPORTING AZ FC QUALIFIES FOR 2018 U.S. OPEN CUP WITH 6-1 VICTORY OVER GALATI FC

By Sporting AZ FC Communications, 11/19/17, 2:15PM MST

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AGUILAR NETS THREE IN ROUT

CHANDLER, Ariz. (November 18, 2017) - Sporting AZ FC got off to a fast start against visiting Galati FC, and never looked back on Saturday night, recording a 6-1 win to secure a place in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The home side dominated the match, registering 16 shots on goal to Galati’s three.

Former Costa Rica international Alejandro Aguilar scored three goals for Sporting and set up a fourth, when in the opening minutes his cross into the area was deflected by Galati into the net.

In the 19th minute, Robert Paul sent a long, arching pass from midfield right into the path of Jose Ramos, who beat his markers and blasted an 18-yard shot into the roof of the net for a 2-0 lead.

Aguilar made it 3-0 to the hosts on 46 minutes when he pounced on a rebound in the box and tapped it over the goalkeeper’s head. He added a penalty in the 77th.

“The guy is just a consummate professional,” Sporting Head Coach Aidan Davison said of Aguilar after the match. “He lives right, and he handles himself well. People follow because he does the right things, and he’s just a complete pro.”

Galati would get on the board in the 79th, when Philip Jackson took advantage of a loose ball in Sporting’s box, and slotted around goalkeeper Andrew Weber.

It was all Sporting after that, however. A minute after the visitors’ goal, Dominic Iovino sent a cross into the Galati box, but the ball was cleared right back to him. His second effort found the foot of Aguilar, whose scissor volley beat Galati ‘keeper Alexis Laguna Olais to the bottom right corner.

Kenny McAvoy’s exclamatory rocket in stoppage time was the icing on the cake.

Davison was pleased with the result, but sees the work ahead that will be necessary for advancement in the tournament proper. “Obviously we’ll take a win,” he said. “We’ve just got to do a lot of work on the training ground, which we will be doing, because there’s some huge improvements to be made.”

Weber echoed the need to regroup and work on details going into 2018. He said, “As the rounds go on, it gets tougher and tougher, and I think this group can definitely make a run at it if we get things tighter.”

Sporting AZ FC will learn its first-round opponent for the 2018 U.S. Open Cup on April 4, with opening matches tentatively scheduled for May 9.

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