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May 20th, 2007: US Open Cup - USASA Region 1 Semi-Finals
Aegean Hawks FC - 4 vs. AC United (MD) - 0

The much anticipated second leg of a unique double found the Aegean Hawks pitted against Maryland champs AC United in a Region 1 semi-final matchup. AC United had defeated the Aegean Hawks 2-1 (OT) the week prior in a Region 1 Amateur Cup match - providing the Hawks' first defeat in a year against amateur teams. The stakes in today's match were higher - win and gain entry to the first round of the US Open Cup with the added bonus of playing for a shot at amateur Nationals against the other Region 1 semifinal winner. Lose, go home and concentrate on league play. In a game marred by physical play, the Hawks beat AC United 4-0 to earn their revenge and a chance to be giant killers in the US Open Cup - the first amateur team from DC/VA to do so in 11 years. The last amateur team to represent DC/VA in the Open Cup was Mo's Sport Shop (Bier FC) in 1996.

The game started in fine fashion for the Hawks with a balanced attack that kept United on its heels. The Aegeans struck first in the 15th minute after penetration by forward Ryan Rich resulted in his cross into the penalty area, where midfielder Bryan Vitagliano was able to poke home the Hawks first tally of the evening. The Hawks continued their solid play, dominating possession and using solid one and two touch passing to open up the flanks. The second goal came in 25th off a nice through ball on the ground from center midfielder and team captain Mike Goldman onto the foot of a streaking Carlos Garcia for a one vs. one with the United keeper that he pushed wide and then banged home with authority for the 2-0 lead. The score stood until halftime.

As the second half was barely underway, the Hawks looked to exploit the United spacing in the middle again with a penetrating ball over the top that found striker Ryan Rich heading to goal, only to be chopped down on a tackle from behind that resulted in a straight red card and a one-man advantage for the Hawks. Just minues later, a second yellow was issued to an AC United player on another breakaway situation for the Hawks, and the Aegeans found themselves up two men with plenty of time left on the clock. With the outcome no longer in doubt, the Hawks looked to keep the ball and ensure the important win. Two more tallys were made in the second stanza after gaining the man advantage. The third goal came in the 70th off a Mike Goldman pass to Carlos Garcia who laced a well-placed shot from 18 yards near post that left the goalkeeper standing. The last Hawks goal came in the 80th, when striker Geoff Thompson layed off an easy tap-in for Mike Goldman to gain the 4-0 scoreline.

An unfortunate turn of events for AC United in the match to go down two men, but after speaking with various objective bystanders, they all confirmed that the cards were justly awarded. AC United played with heart and determination while down players and their efforts should not go without mention.

For the Hawks, the tournament splits up at this point, with a first round US Open Cup-proper matchup against a USL-1 or USL-2 team guaranteed on Tuesday June 12 (see www.usopencup.com for details). With it comes the opportunity to play David to the USL's goliath. It is still unclear if the game will be home or away at this point. The second game today's victory earns will be on Sunday June 24th, when the Hawks take on the other Region 1 semi-final winners, Danbury United of Connecticut (6-5 PK winners over Rhode Island's Emigrantes Das Ilhas) in a game that will determine the Region 1 Amateur champion for the US Open Cup. The winner of that match will earn a berth in the USASA National tourney weekend that will be played in Seattle, from August 3-5.

The squad looks to take a break for Memorial weekend before league play resumes on June 3rd. Congratulations to the team!!

To view the USASA Region 1 brackets for National Cups, click here.

News/Match Report Archives

 


Scorers
Bryan Vitagliano - 15'
Carlos Garcia - 25'
Carlos Garcia - 70'
Mike Goldman - 80'

Assists
Ryan Rich - 15'
Mike Goldman - 25'
Trevor Martin - 70'
Geoff Thompson - 80'

Saves
Anthony Peters - 1

MVP
Carlos Garcia - ST

Honorable Mention
Mike Goldman - CM







 

 

 

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