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LOCALS: Doxa Italia bound for Open Cup

Southern California's entrants in the upcoming U.S. Open Cup grew by one this weekend with Doxa Italia's triumph at the U.S. Adult Soccer Association's Region IV tournament in Sacramento.

The Manhattan Beach-based club, led by forward/coach Derk Droze, went 2-0-2 in the six-team event, beating DV8 Defenders of Redwood City on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in the title encounter.

Doxa Italia qualified for the Open Cup with an 18-0 rout of Northern California's CV Eagles FC as Droze scored seven goals and Ilia Nazarov added five. Both netted eight in four games as Doxa outscored its foes, 26-2.

Sunday's triumph qualified the club for July's USASA National Cup tournament in Bowling Green, Ky.

The 14-year-old club is the fourth team from the area to qualify for the Open Cup, America's oldest soccer competition, dating to 1914. The Galaxy, L.A. Blues and Hollywood United also will participate, and the Ventura County Fusion can clinch a berth next weekend.

The Open Cup begins in mid-June. The title game is set for Oct. 4.

Doxa's roster is made up of local players, many with experience at Southern California colleges and local pro/semipro clubs. Droze was drafted by the New England Revolution in 1996, was in camp with the Chicago Fire and MetroStars, and played professionally in Chile and Denmark.

Southern California teams in the tournament:

  • Galaxy: One of eight MLS clubs that will join in at the third round.

  • L.A. Blues: Every USL Pro side enters in the second round.

  • Hollywood United: San Diego Flash forfeits opened the door for the NPSL's West Division berth.

The Ventura County Fusion need to beat the Southern California Seahorses in a Premier Development League match next week to catch the Fresno Fuego (4-0-0 in qualifiers) in the Southwest Division tournament. A two-goal victory or one-goal win in which the Fusion scores at least three times would send them through; a 1-0 win would favor Fresno and a 2-1 win would lead to a coin toss.