U.S. Open Cup: Vegas product returns home to lead Paul Caligiuri's Orange County FC into fourth round

Blake Frischknecht, a 24-year-old rising college senior from Las Vegas, returned home to lead Orange County FC to a 5-3 win over his hometown Lights that sent it into the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Paul Caligiuri's Orange County FC, which plays in the amateur NPSL, is the only team below the Division II level still alive in the Open Cup and will face an MLS team in the fourth round. OCFC will join 10 teams from the USL Championship and 21 MLS teams in the round of 32.

The 6-foot-3 Frischknecht started out his college career playing for BYU's club team in the PDL (now known as USL League Two) and then spent two years on a mission in Argentina before enrolling at Utah Valley, where he has played two seasons in NCAA Division I.

Frischknecht had a promising tryout with the Lights in December after new Lights head coach Eric Wynalda took over but he chose to return to Utah Valley. He planned on spending the summer with Odgen City FC, the USL League Two team operated by the Utah Youth Soccer Association, but that's been put on hold.

Orange County FC came into Cashman Field and led 2-0 and then 3-1, but the Lights rallied with 10 players to make it 3-3 on Junior Sandoval's goal in the 85th minute. Three minutes later, Frischknecht scored to restore OCFC's lead. Oscar Flores, who finished up his college career at Cal State Fullerton last fall, added an insurance goal in stoppage time.

OCFC -- which had lost to Las Vegas, 5-1, in preseason -- earned its second straight dramatic win over a USL Championship team. It beat Orange County SC in a shootout in the second round after Englishman Ryan Holland tied the score at 2-2 in stoppage time.

Soldiers and Flamingos exit. The other two remaining teams from below the USL Championship both lost on Wednesday. The UPSL's Florida Soccer Soldiers fell at North Carolina FC, 1-0, while Forward Madison, which plays in the new USL League One, lost at Saint Louis FC, 3-1.

Late winners from Bonomo, Frater and Totsch.  Besides the Orange County win in Vegas, late heroics decided three other games. Stefano Bonomo, who played one MLS game in four seasons in the New York Red Bulls organization, scored on the last kick of the game in the third minute of stoppage time to lead Sac Republic to a 1-0 win over Fresno FC.

Earlier in the evening, New Mexico United rallied from a goal down to beat the Colorado Springs Switchbacks, 2-1, on goals by former San Jose Earthquake Chris Wehan in the 87th minute and a penalty kick by Jamaican Kevaughn Frater, the USL Championship's leading scorer, in the third minute of stoppage time.

Sean Totsch's penalty kick in the 90th minute gave two-time defending USL champion Louisville City a 1-0 win over the Birmingham Legion.

Nashville SC denied MLS date. In its last season in the USL before moving to MLS in 2020, Nashville SC was denied a chance to face a future MLS opponent in the fourth round when it lost at home to the Charleston Battery in a shootout, 3-0, after their match ended 1-1. Keeper Phillip Breno made saves on shots by Liam Doyle and Matthew LaGrassa before Matshidiso Moloto banged his attempt off the crossbar.
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