Looming U.S. Open Cup rematch: NTX Rayados and Houston Dynamo

U.S. Open Cup competition explodes into action in April when amateur powerhouse NTX Rayados sets sites on a rematch with defending champion Houston Dynamo.

In June, Rayados nearly became the first amateur team to make the fifth round of the U.S. Open Cup. They held Houston Dynamo scoreless with a tricky 5-3-2 formation in the first half. But Rayados also failed to score.

NTX Rayados switched personnel and their scheme on the pitch in the second half. They still didn’t score. But Houston Dynamo netted three goals and closed out the game.

Rayados and the Dynamo will meet again in 2019. This time, the amateur squad will be better prepared.

Most of the squad will also be a year older. But the team facing St. Louis’ FC Maritsa on April 6 in Dallas hasn’t slowed down yet. They are always atop their North Texas Premier Soccer Association.

As U.S. Soccer describes them, NTX Rayados represents a collection of school teachers, principals and college kids. They also have a few former MLS team academy players and prospects.

All members of the squad know soccer very well. Their love for the beautiful game can’t be beaten.

The team’s main organizer, Tito Salas, a high school assistant principal, spurred Rayados through their seventh qualification for a U.S. Open Cup run last year. That’s a record for a local team entry.

When they got to their ultimate round vs. Houston Dynamo, they met a mix of MLS depth players and squad members from the Dynamo’s Rio Grande Valley FC in USL. They’ll see the same mix in their 2019 rematch during this run for the Open Cup.

Salas helped found NTX Rayados in 2011 as a way that he and other outstanding players could stay in the game. He and other organizers put together an outstanding amateur squad. By 2012, they qualified for U.S. Open Cup competition.

Rayados added D José Burciaga Jr. to the team last year. The retired MLS player was on the 2004 Sporting Kansas City team that won the U.S. Open Cup. He lined up with a nephew playing for Rayados.

Burciaga recently played with the indoor Dallas Sidekicks team. He serves as general manager of Keene FC.

To get to that fateful game in Houston they had to get past one professional team, the USL entry OKC Energy FC.

Rayados met Energy May 16 in Dallas in what sports media had begun describing a Cinderella run.

They beat Energy 5-2.

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NTX Rayados must assemble another one or two seasoned ex-pros like Burciaga. They’ll need to keep their trusted scorers healthy throughout the season.

If they do that, then will they win their rematch with Houston Dynamo? Probably…unlikely. But will they score?

They surely will. And with any score and every score, they could win after all.

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