Lane United FC will face Oregon Valley Futbol Alliance in the Oregon Open Cup Final on Wednesday, July 28th, 7:30pm at George Fox University.
The Reds are fresh off a dominant 3-0 performance against FC Swoosh in the semifinal, while OVF Alliance defeated International Portland Select FC 5-2 immediately afterward.
Henry Cromack overcame an early missed penalty to score two goals in the 3-0 win, with training squad call-up Milan Bobek's deflected strike from distance sandwiched in between. Lane United controlled the match from start to finish, with fluid passing through the FC Swoosh midfield and solid defending along the back line.
Lane United split the USL League Two regular season series against OVF, with each team earning a win and drawing twice. The most recent matchup saw Lane United equalize late after going down 2-0 by halftime.
Lane United will be without their starting center backs, Jordan Jackmon and Matt King, whose travel plans restrict them from participating in the final. Both players were huge advantages for the Reds in the semifinal win as their strong defensive play helped lead to the clean sheet.
They join the growing list of unavailable senior players for Lane United, who called up five ETFC Select Academy players for the semifinal. Former Red Sam Engle and Academy player Emiliano Rojo have been added to the squad for the final to help reinforce the back line.
LUFC received fantastic performances from said Select Academy products in the semifinal. Whitney Schatz started at center-mid against FC Swoosh after having received his senior team debut last week against Timbers U23 in the final USL2 league game of the season. Additionally, substitute midfielder Charlie Lacey assisted on Cromack's second goal, while all of the others (Peter Conrad, Ariel de dios Cruz, and Roy Adolfo) made positive second-half contributions off the bench.
This match poses a unique challenge for Lane United, who are no longer buried by the burden of prior results. One game is all that's left—it's do or die. OVF are in a similar position. Both clubs battled for points all season but were constantly held back by injuries and setbacks. OVF has made one key addition for the Open Cup, that of Senegalese Oregon State left winger Mouhamed Thiam, who was a menace in the semifinal against IPSFC and tallied a hat trick. Nevertheless, the motivation for success in the final will be immense for both sides.