June 21, 2009: USASA Region I Finals
Hawks Punch Ticket to USASA National Finals with 7-1 Victory Over Emigrantes Das Ilhas in Amateur Cup
Emigrantes Captures Region I Title Over Hawks with 3-1 Decision in Open Cup Region I Final
(Upper Dublin, PA - Upper Dublin Sports Center)
The Hawks headed to PA for Region I Finals and a unique double header against Emigrantes Das Ilhas (Massachusetts). Both teams had qualified for the Region I title match in both the Amateur and Open Cup, and would face each other twice for a berth at USASA National Finals in Orlando July 24-26th. Emigrantes took the Open Cup title at 9 AM with a 3-1 victory over the Hawks to claim the Region I title, and the Hawks prevailed 7-1 at 4 pm to claim the Region I Amateur Cup title. Desipte the gentlemen's agreement that guaranteed advancement to USASA Nationals for both clubs, neither club approached either match lightly in two heated battles that saw both clubs shine.
Aegean Hawks FC - 2009 Region I Amateur Cup Champions
9 AM - Region I Open Cup Title Match - Aegean Hawks FC (DC/VA) - 1 vs. Emigrantes Das Ilhas (MA) - 3
Open Cup Pre-Game - Aegean Hawks FC (White), Emigrantes Das Ilhas (Blue)
In the Open Cup final, the Hawks started strong but a defensive blunder sent an Emigrantes foward streaking towards goal and capitalizing with a nice chip over Hawks net minder Alex Fatovic in the 10th minute. The Hawks enjoyed a shot advantage in the first half, but were unable to capitalize and the score stood at 1-0 in favor of the Massachusetts side at halftime. Emigrantes was able to extend their lead shortly after the break when a forward was able to penetrate the left side of the Hawks defense for a layoff and shot that found the corner. The Hawks pressured hard and continued to enjoy quality opportunities but the Emigrantes defense stood strong. Emigrantes scored again off a nice combination sequence up the left side again that culminated in a cross and fantastic 15 yard header on the far side of the box that was perfectly placed and sent in with pace. The Hawks finally were able to convert in the 80th minute when a Corey Curnutte cross was headed in by Nick McMorris for the final scoreline. While the scoreline was disappointing, the Hawks took solace in the fact that the Amateur Cup was their preference for Nationals and an opportunity to face the same team in the Amateur Cup awaited in the afternoon.
4 PM - Region I Amateur Cup Title Match - Aegean Hawks FC (DC/VA) - 7 vs. Emigrantes Das Ilhas (MA) - 1
Amateur Cup Pre-Game - Aegean Hawks FC (Red), Emigrantes Das Ilhas (Blue)
In the Amateur Cup final, several reinforcements for the Hawks were able to arrive in time to be suited and available, and both squads took the pitch for what was sure to be an exciting second leg of the double header. The Hawks started with strong pressure and were able to get on the scoreboard first off a blistering 20 yard blast by captain Mike Goldman that whistled into the right side netting in the 15th minute. The Hawks converted again in the 21st minute when Bryan Vitagliano's cross was headed home by Anders Kelto for a 2-0 advantage. Emigrantes stepped up the pressure and were rewarded in the 30th minute with a shot smacked in after a melee in the Hawks penalty area. The game see-sawed back and forth for the remainder of the first half until the 40th minute when an Emigrantes player was issued a second yellow card for dissent and sent off. The second half saw the Hawks take advantage while Emigrantes battled valiantly down a man and remained dangerous on the counter. Ricky Schramm scored a brace in the second half, Anders Kelto added his second, and Nate Adams and Nick McMorris punched in goals for a resounding 7-1 victory.
Both teams will represent Region I at USASA National Finals and the weekend was a resounding success for all involved. Kudos to the Region I offiicials for securing a suitalbe venue for the match after soaking rains had prevented use of the Ukrainian American club's facilities. Next stop for the Hawks in the Cup run will be USASA Nationals in Orlando, FL which start on Friday, July 24 and end on Sunday July 26th. Region I will be well represented by Emigrantes and the Hawks and both teams will look to claim National titles.
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