2009: MDCVSA Open Cup Semi-Finals
Aegean Hawks FC - 3 vs. World Bank (WPL) - 1 (OT)
Depleted Hawks defeat World Bank 3-1 in OT to Qualify for Fourth Straight MDCVSA Open Cup Championship Match
(Arlington, VA - 4:00 PM, Gunston Middle School)
The Hawks faced WPL rivals World Bank in Open Cup action this weekend in a match to determine a berth in the MDCVSA Open Cup finals on January 25th vs. Atletico Virginia. World Bank provided a stiff test in last year's MDCVSA Open Cup final, which saw the Hawks come out victorious 3-2 off an Andreas Nydal hat trick.
A confluence of player injuries and miscommunication found the Hawks able to field only 10 players for the kickoff and most of the first half until an injured Alan Golden stepped onto the field in the 35th minute to round out the side. The first half of play was fairly even, with the Hawks generating a handful of solid opportunities that were swallowed up nicely by the World Bank keeper. In the second half, the Hawks started to gain in posession, but could not find the back of the net. World Bank sent the game in a different direction when they were able to wiggle through the penalty area and slot home a well-placed shot to provide a 1-0 margin after a particularly poor sequence of marking by the Hawks defensive corps.
Down a goal, the Hawks battled for the equalizer, but the World Bank keeper and Lady Luck did not seem to be on the Hawks side. With ten minutes left in regulation a melee in the box found outside back Eddie Thurston with a tap in for the equalizer, but his shot went over the bar. With five minutes left, another excellent opportunity off a driven ground ball eluded Hawks midfielders Nate Burkey and Mike Minai, each with opportunities for a simple tap in. It was only a minute or so later when desperation started to sink in that the Hawks were able to notch the equalizing score. In the 88th minute, outside back Jon Knight passed the ball to center mid Watson Vaughan-Prather, whose pass to the middle of the penalty area found Mike Minai in perfect position to send a crunching volley into the World Bank netting and send the match into overtime. In overtime, the Hawks dominated play and quickly went up 2-1 on an own goal off a corner kick. After several solid opportunities in overtime, including a driven shot that racked the post, Mike Minai was fed into space by Watson Vaughan Prather and was able to convert for the final 3-1 tally.
The Hawks showed character in dealing with difficult circumstances and a depleted squad to come out victorious again. Everyone is looking forward to the match up with Atletico Virginia in the finals this coming Sunday - there is no doubt that the game will be a competitive and exciting affair. The Hawks will be looking for their fourth straight MDCVSA US Open Cup crown, a feat that has not been accomplished in over twenty years.