Hawks Defeat Jilly's Bar & Grill of MD 3-0 in USASA Region I Open Cup Round of 16 Will Face New York Pancyprian Freedoms in Quarterfinals (2 pm - Denison Nursery Field - Waldorf, MD)
The Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks kicked off their Spring 2010 regional cup campaign this Sunday at Denison Nursery with a Round of 16 Region I Open Cup fixture vs. MD qualifier, Jilly's Bar & Grill. On a day that saw five other regional Open Cup matches played, the Hawks were looking to remain alive in the US Open Cup and come closer to their goal of qualifying for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the third time in the last four years. On a beautiful day for soccer, the Hawks were able to weather a determined Jilly's squad in a tight contest that remained up for grabs until the latter stages.
The first half got underway and the tone for both teams was established quickly - the Hawks with a possession oriented attack, while Jilly's sat in and countered. Jilly's had the first solid chance of the match in the 35' when a penetrating run and pass saw their striker smash a golden opportunity at the near post just wide. The Hawks were able to capitalize just minutes thereafter when outside back Eddie Thurston's pass was dummied by Watson Prather and onto the path of Hawks striker Ricky Schramm, who was taken down in the penalty area by Jilly's Josh Burford. Watson Prather converted the PK for the Hawks in the 37th minute for a 1-0 lead which stood at halftime.
In the second half, the game opened up a bit and both sides had quality chances to impact the game. Jilly's again saw the best initial chance of the half in the 56th minute when a ball was driven from midfield and onto stride of their central midfield player behind the Hawks defense, but the poke beyond Hawks net minder Alex Fatovic was sent wide. A nice sequence of combination play by the Hawks in the 60th minute culminated with a threatening pass into Ricky Schramm just 4 yards from net with his back to goal, but his acrobatic volley sailed high and wide. Jilly's best chance of the match came at the 62' mark, when a Hawks clearance off a corner was blasted from 25 yards by Jilly's Josh Burford with blistering pace that had Fatovic beat but smacked off the crossbar. Hawks center midfielder Alan Golden answered with a smash of his own in the 65' off a Prather layoff that whistled low and hard just wide of the Jilly post. Hawks outside midfielder Erwin Diaz's penetration and shot from close range was parried away nicely by Jilly's keeper to keep the game a one goal affair at the 69th minute mark. The Hawks were finally able to widen their lead in the 76th minute when Ricky Schramm's run was picked out by Watson Prather and slammed home at point blank range for the 2-0 score line. Jilly's looked close to pulling one back in the 79th minute off a corner kick and shot from close range, but Fatovic was up to the challenge. The Hawks sealed the match in the 82nd off the boot of substitute John Stephens, who capitalized on a poor Jilly clearance with a left footed volley that squirted it's way in for the final tally of the day.
With the win, the Hawks have advanced to the Region I Open Cup quarterfinals, and will face the New York Pancyprian Freedoms of the Cosmopolitan Soccer League on May 2nd in Astoria, NY. The intriguing matchup will have historical context as the Pancyprians knocked the Hawks out of the Open Cup in 2008 in the Region I semifinals en route to a 2008 USASA Open Cup title. Next up for the Hawks is a double header weekend which will see the Aegean's take on Deportiva Canilla on April 17 in the DC United Super Copa, followed by a WPL match on April 18 vs debutantes, Raiders FC.
Alex Fatovic (GK), Eddie Thurston, Devlin Barnes, Karsten Smith, Nick McMorris, Corey Curnutte (Jon Knight 82'), Erwin Diaz (Nate Burkey - 79'), Mike Goldman, Alan Golden (Andrew Loia - 72'), Ricky Schramm (John Stephens - 76')