Hawks National Title Defense in Amateur Cup Thwarted by German-American Kickers of NJ GAK Rides Fine Performance of Jackson Sengbloh to 2-1 OT Victory (Germantown, MD – MD Soccerplex Field #8, 2 PM)
The Dulles Sporstplex Aegean Hawks continued their national title defense in the USASA Amateur Cup in a Region I Semifinal fixture against the German-American Kickers of NJ on a stormy Sunday afternoon in June. In a hard fought match, the Hawks failed to gain an advantage after dominating the opening half of play and GAK rode the fine performance of striker Jackson Sengbloh to shock the home side 2-1 in OT.
Mother nature almost spoiled the day with severe thunderstorms that rolled through the greater DC area but the opening whistle was blown after only a half hour delay. After a shaky start by both teams, the first half saw the Hawks enjoy the majority of possession and the chances, but unable to convert and the score stood 0-0. The second half saw the game even out as both teams were effectively creating chances. GAK was able to score first in the 65th minute when outside midfielder Christian Sanje broke down two Hawks defenders on the left flank and passed a driven square ball to defensive center mid Ido Legety. Legety’s one time pass found the foot of striker Jackson Sengbloh with his back to goal at the top of the penalty area and able to elude the challenge of Hawks center back Karsten Smith, turn, and fire home into the far side netting for the opening goal of the game.
Undaunted the Hawks pressed on and almost equalized off several of outside midfielder Adam Gracia’s shots. The Hawks finally got the equalizer in the 79’ off an own goal created by center midfielder Michael Goldman, whose overlapping run and pass across the goalmouth was poked to goal by a GAK defender. The goal was not without controversy as the intended recipient of the pass (Ricky Schramm) was deemed to be offsides, but the center referee concluded that his offisides status had no bearing on the outcome of the play and the goal stood. Both teams played hard for the remainder of regulation, but at the end of 90 minutes the score stood at 1-1.
In overtime, Sengbloh took advantage of sloppy Hawks passing in the waning minutes of the first period by pouncing on a clearance attempt in front of the Hawks goal and calmy exploiting his positioning to convert his second goal of the game. In the second OT period, the Hawks came tantalizingly close to taking the match to penalties, but after a desperate surge in the final five minutes the final whistle was blown and the Hawks’ quest to defend their national title was officially over.
Hawks Lineup: Alex Fatovic, Eddie Thurston, Devlin Barnes, Karsten Smith (Cooper Bryant – 80’), Nick McMorris, Alan Golden (Nate Burkey – 100’), Michael Goldman, Erwin Diaz (Derek Markheim – 30’, Corey Curnutte – 75’), Adam Gracia (Titou Fierro – 80’), Robby Wright, Ricky Schramm