'MLS didn't want us to win!' - Defiant Sacramento take down LA Galaxy in U.S. Open Cup after being bypassed for top-flight expansion

Click here to watch it live with fuboTVfuboTV
Galaxy Sacramento Open Cup 2022LA Galaxy

Sacramento Republic were defiant after upsetting the LA Galaxy in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, with the club's legendary forward Rodrigo Lopez sending a message to MLS commissioner Don Garber after the match.

The USL Championship side stunned their MLS counterparts with a 2-1 win in the knockout competition, eliminating the Galaxy on their home field thanks to goals from Lopez and Luis Felipe to become the first non-MLS team to reach the semifinals since 2017

Sacramento had been passed over for MLS expansion after previously being on the fast track to the top flight, and, after the win, Lopez said he hoped the win proved a point to Garber and those in charge of the league.

Article continues below

What did Lopez say about MLS?

"I'm sure MLS didn't want us to win today," he said after the win. "I'll be straight up. I'm sure the commissioner is watching.

"If you're the MLS you have to look at Sacramento. You have to look at our fanbase and our city."

What is Sacramento's history with MLS?

After establishing a strong fanbase in California's capital, Sacramento Republic prepared an MLS bid in 2017 and, two years later, were announced as the league's 29th team.

However, after delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, lead investor Ron Burkle backed out of the deal, putting the team's expansion bid on indefinite hold.

MLS has expanded to Austin and Charlotte in the last two years, with St. Louis FC set to begin play in 2023 as the league's 29th team.

Tuesday's win was the club's second over MLS competition during their run through the Open Cup, having taken down the San Jose Earthquakes in the previous round.

“I honestly don’t think they took the game seriously and we took advantage,” Felipe said of the Galaxy. “We took our opportunities and went for it.”

What was the Galaxy's reaction?

The Galaxy's defeat came after the club took down local rivals LAFC to reach the quarterfinal round in a fierce iteration of El Trafico.

LA has had a decent enough start to the MLS season as they sit fifth in the Western Conference, but head coach Gregg Vanney was left furious by his team's effort in the loss to Sacramento.

“I think there are some guys on our team that need to turn the meter, when it comes to just intensity and compete and fight, to a different level," Vanney said.

"We have some guys who come out and they do the running and they'll do the work and they'll do some of the stuff, but in these games sometimes it's about being physical, it's about winning space. It's about winning first and second balls. It's about some of those things.

“I think sometimes maybe, within the mentality of our group, our mindset is a little bit like the game is gonna be all soccer all the time and it's not. The foundation that you have to have to play soccer is you still have to out-compete the opposition. You still have to do some of that stuff.

"I feel like we're a little light sometimes in that category. We didn't play with the same intensity tonight as we did against LAFC, as an example, or some of the other games and that can't happen. Every time, we’ve got to play with that."

Further reading