2010:DC/VA (MDCVSA) Amateur Cup Semi-Finals
Hawks Down Richmond's Partizan Premier FC 2-0 National Champs Begin Title Defense in Adverse Conditions (Richmond, VA- Ukrops Park, 5:00 PM) The Hawks began defense of their 2009 National Amateur Cup title on a blisteringly frigid Sunday evening matchup on the road. The opponent in the MDCVSA semi-final tie was Richmond's Partizan's FC. The last time the Hawks faced a Richmond team was in the Fall 2004 Amateur Cup campaign in the form of the Fan Rats, who bounced the Hawks from the tournament at the same stage in an electifying match that marked the beginning of the modern Hawks era. Five years later another John Roach-managed squad was lined up against the Hawks for what was sure to be a competitive affair. Temps prior to kickoff hovered around 27 degrees, making the 2 hour trek from Washington DC even harder to shake off during warm ups for the skeleton crew of Hawks that were able to attend the fixture.
Partizan almost took the lead in the very first minute of the match when their lone striker made a diagonal run and was fed behind the right side of the Hawks defense for a breakaway. The resultant layoff pass was smashed with authority, but Hawks netminder Nick Carlin-Voigt was able to get just enough of the ball to allow it to clank off the cross bar and just beyond the goal line before centerback Alan Golden was able to finally clear the ball to safety. The game began to flow for the Hawks after the first 10 minutes, but while the possession game was won, the stingy Partizan defense was able to thwart Hawks attempts at goal. The clearest chance for the Hawks came in the 28th minute, when Hawks striker Ricky Schramm turned beautifully at the top of the box off an entry pass and blasted a shot off the crossbar. Erwin Diaz proved a terror on the flanks all game long as showcased in his left footed attempt in the 37', which saw the final shot sail over the crossbar. As halftime approached, the Hawks got their break off a nice sequence of passing that found center mid and team captain Mike Goldman collecting the ball in the box and getting pushed from behind by a Partizan midfielder as he was getting his shot off. The PK call incensed the home crowd, but the replays show the Partizan midfielder with his hands all over Goldman's back and the ref was close to the play. Watson Prather converted the kick for a 1-0 halftime Aegean Hawks lead.
The second half began well for the Hawks, but at the 50 minute mark momentum swung into Partizan's favor for a 10 minute stretch during which the Hawks goal seemed under siege and the possession battle was lost. Partizan almost got on the score sheet off a long free kick that again struck the crossbar but Carlin-Voigt had position and would not yield the equalizer. The Hawks regained the posession advantage and were able to gain their second PK off another fine sequence of combination passing that found center mid Watson Prather taken down in the penalty area in the 70th minute. Anders Kelto converted for the 2-0 final scoreline. Considering the circumstances, it was a great effort for the Hawks who were able to pull out the victory despite missing 6 key players who started in the National Amateur championship match last summer. Video credits go to team sponsor Barry Gudelsky, who despite missing the second goal entirely, deserves a lot of props for manning the camera in 20 degree temperatures. All eyes turn to next Sunday, January 17th and the upcoming DC/VA Open Cup title match vs. Atletico Virginia - a match that is sure to bring the full passion of both teams.
Nick Carlin-Voigt, Alan Golden, John Stephens, Devlin Barnes, Jon Knight, Watson Prather, Mike Goldman, Nidhal Charfi (Alex Hererra - 75'), Erwin Diaz, Ricky Schramm, Anders Kelto