2007: US Open Cup - USASA Region
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
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
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
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.