2009:USASA Region I US Amateur Cup Semifinals Hawks Down Baltimore Colts (MD) 3-1 in OT Region I Championship Match on June 21st vs. Emigrantes Das Ilhas at Ukrainian Nationals Club (Bel Air, MD - Cedar Lane Regional Park, 2:00 PM) The Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks FC traveled to Bel Air, MD today in a USASA Region I Semifinal clash with the Baltimore Colts for the second-ever meeting between the two clubs. Last year, the Hawks edged the Colts by a score of 3-2 in the Region I US Open Cup Quarterfinals off the back of a stoppage time PK save by netminder Nick Carlin-Voigt. Baltimore went on to win the 2008 Region I Amateur Cup title and won their first game at Nationals before succumbing in the 2008 National Title game to the Florida Kickers. Needless to say, the game was sure to be a competitive affair. Reality did not disappoint as the Hawks fell behind 1-0 in the first half, but were able to tuck away the equalizer minutes away from the end of regulation and persevere with two overtime goals to get the important 3-1 victory over their local rivals.
Momentum started in the Hawks favor with several decent offensive opportunities in the opening 15 minutes. However, the Colts were enjoying solid opportunities on the counter. A crisp Colts blast from 18 yards clanked off the Hawks crossbar in the 15th minute which served as a warning shot that chances were not to be squandered. The Hawks defensive shape was lackluster throughout the first half, despite the offensive chances, and the Colts were able to notch the first goal of the match at the 30 minute mark off a low blast that somehow squirted under the arms of Aegean netminder, Nick Carlin-Voigt. The goal seemed to wake the Hawks up and several quality looks were presented to strikers Ricky Schramm and Erwin Diaz, but the finish was not to be found by the halftime break.
The Hawks entered the second stanza with belief and the opportunities came in waves, with the Colts still enjoying several quality chances of their own on the counter. As the half progressed, it seemed that it was perhaps not the Hawks' day as chance after chance eluded the Colts net and the score remained 1-0 in favor of the Colts. With four minutes left in the match, the pressure finally paid off as outside back Eddie Thurston sent a piercing header into the net off a crisp corner kick by outside midfielder Nate Adams, sending the Hawks into ecstatic celebration. The Colts responded with vigor and seemed dangerously close to finishing the game off when their striker danced past two Hawks defenders in the penatly area and unleashed a shot that was bound for glory, but center back John Stephens was able to parry the chance away with a lunging stab just prior to the end of regulation.
In the overtime period, the Hawks dominated posession and kept pressuring for the winning tally, but the Colts defense stood strong and the score remained tied after the first 15 minutes of overtime. The Hawks were finally able to get the game winner just three minutes after the first overtime break, when a layoff pass from Jon Knight to center middie Watson Vaughan-Prather was followed by a perfect throughball that sprung striker Ricky Schramm. His well placed shot on the breakaway was slotted past the on-rushing Colts keeper and into the net for a 2-1 Hawks lead. In the 112th minutes, holding midfielder Mike Goldman played a ball up to Jon Knight, who laid it back to Goldman for a sprint to the corner flag. When it appeared that Goldman was looking to kill time in the corner, he dashed by his defender and sent a driven ground ball across the Colts goal mouth to a surging Ricky Schramm, who made no mistake on his final opportunity of the match for the brace.
The Hawks showed tremendous character against a tough opponent in a true team effort to get to the Region I Amateur Cup finals for the first time in team history. Thankfully, word came in after the match that the Massachusetts Amateur and Open Champs, Emgirantes Das Ilhas, were able to beat the New York Pancyprians by a 1-0 margin, setting up an All-Aegean vs. Emigrantes set of finals on June 21st. Both teams will have two shots at Nationals and will not have to worry about a fresher opponent for the second match on that day.
Next up for the Hawks is a WPL league match on Sunday June 7th, followed by First Round Lamar Hunt US Open Cup action on Tuesday, June 9th vs. USL-2 side, Real Maryland FC. That match will take place at Richard Montgomery High School Stadium, in Rockville, MD at 6 PM, and the Hawks will seek to seize the moment in a match where Real Maryland is heavily favored.
Nick Carlin-Voigt, Alan Golden, John Stephens, Eddie Thurston, Kubiak Valverde
Nate Adams, Mike Goldman, Watson Prather, Corey Curnutte (Jon Knight - 108')
Ricky Schramm, Erwin Diaz(Andrew Loia - '80)