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Locals push USL soccer teams into U.S. Open Cup fourth round

Former Northwestern Trojans standout Alex Martinez helped Charlotte Independence to a 1-0 win over the Carolina RailHawks Wednesday night in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Former Northwestern Trojans standout Alex Martinez helped Charlotte Independence to a 1-0 win over the Carolina RailHawks Wednesday night in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. newsobserver.com

Ricky Garbanzo scored and set up the game-winner as the Charleston Battery came from behind to knock Fort Lauderdale Strikers out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night.

Charleston trailed 1-0 when Garbanzo, the former Northwestern Trojans and Coastal Carolina standout, smashed a close-range finish into the roof of the net. The Battery fell behind 2-1, but equalized on Zach Prince’s drive, before Garbanzo set up Dane Kelly for the match-winner with about 10 minutes to go.

Another former Northwestern standout, Shawn Ferguson, played 90 minutes in the heart of the Battery’s defensive backline.

Garbanzo’s goal helped the Battery book a fourth round meeting with Major League Soccer side Orlando City SC, which is led by former world player of the year, Kaka. That game is set for Wednesday, June 17 at Charleston’s Blackbaud Stadium.

The Charlotte Independence also advanced in the Open Cup against NASL competition, beating Carolina RailHawks 1-0 in a lightning-delayed match in Cary. Garbanzo’s former Northwestern Trojans teammate, Alex Martinez, played the full 90 minutes. Ryan Finley’s late winner sets up a meeting with MLS side New England Revolution in the fourth round of the tournament. That match will also take place June 17, in Boston.

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