2012: USASA Region I Semifinals
Hawks Down Maryland Bays 2-0 to Punch Ticket to USASA Region I Final, Lamar Hunt US Open Cup
Win Marks 3rd Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Qualification in 6 Years
(Maryland Soccerplex, Field #18 - Boyds, MD)
Amid 40 degree temperatures and torrential downpours, the Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks (DC/VA) and the Maryland Bays (MD) squared off in a USASA Region I US Open Cup semifinal elimination match on Sunday at the Maryland Soccerplex. The winner would qualify both for the USASA Region I Open Cup final and the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. WIth the stakes high, both teams turned in a gritty, blue collar performance in search of victory. In an up and down, tight match, it was the Hawks that would prevail 2-0 and extend their record as the only DC/VA amateur team to qualify for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup more than once in the modern era. By overcoming the Bays, the Hawks return to the US Open Cup for 3rd time in 6 years - having also qualified in 2007 and 2009 - and continue their unblemished record over Maryland teams in the USASA regional stage of the US Open Cup.
After a tense opening period that saw the Hawks and Bays equally matched, the Aegean side was able to open up the scoring in the 40th minute off a corner kick. Former Ohio State Buckeye Sam Scales sent a great ball into the penalty area and connected with fellow Big Ten alum, Hawks veteran Watson Prather (U. Wisconsin), who was able to bang in a close-range header at the near post for the 1-0 margin that stood through half time. Play opened up a bit in the second half, with both teams enjoying solid scoring opportunities. AHFC forward Matt Ney was put in towards the Bays' goal on the left side of the penalty area in the 60th, but his left footed shot sailed over the cross bar from close range. The Bays threatened several times on set pieces, with one searing 35 yard blast missing the far post by inches in the 75th. Halfway through the half, the Hawks switched to a more defensive formation to preserve the lead and the Bays pressured hard to find the equalizer and earned several corners and set pieces that had the Hawks on their heels. The Hawks almost extended their lead in the 79th minute when forward Scott Larrabee was sent streaking towards goal in a one vs. one, but his shot squeaked by the right post. A subsequent fresh wave of long balls into the Hawks penalty area saw the Aegean defense stand strong, and it was the Hawks that would secure victory off a brilliant individual play by second half substitute, Gui Fonseca. Receiving the ball at the top left side of the penalty area, the Brazilian glided by two Bays defenders, then tip toed the end line with some deft futsal rollovers and toe-poked a shot near-post that squirted home for the 2-0 margin that would stand until the final whistle.
With the victory, the Hawks maintain their perfect record vs. Maryland teams in the USASA Regional stage of the US Open Cup. The Hawks overcame AC United in 2007 regional semis 4-0 for their first qualification. In 2008, the Hawks downed the Baltimore Colts 3-2 in a thriller that saw Hawks net minder Nick Carlin-Voigt save a PK at the end of regulation. In 2009, the Hawks edged NPSL side Charm City 1-0 to qualify for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the second time in team history. 2010 saw the Hawks defeat Jilly's Bar & Grill 3-0 in regional Open Cup play before losing 2-1 away in OT - the day after winning the 5th edition of the DC United Super Copa on a 100 degree day - to eventual USASA National Open Cup champions, the New York Pancyprian Freedoms. While the Hawks succumbed to MD side Christos FC 2-0 in 2011 Open Cup qualification, the match occurred in the state qualification rounds.
The Hawks 2012 journey in the US Open Cup now bifurcates into two different tournaments. The squad will face off with the Greek American Atlas (NY) on June 17th in Pennsylvania in the USASA Region I Finals, with the victor qualifying for the "Final Four" (USASA National Finals) at Chicago Fire home field, Toyota Park, on the weekend of July 20-22nd. Before the Hawks and GAA square off, however, the Aegean side will play in the first round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, which will pit the team against a PDL squad on Tuesday May 15th. The second round of Lamar Hunt occurs one week later, on Tues May 22nd pitting 1st round winners against a USLPro or NASL team. MLS teams enter the competition against 2nd round winners in the 3rd round, which will take place on Tues May 29th.
The Hawks next take the field in WPL league play on April 29th and hope to build on their 1-0 start in their quest to hoist the league trophy for a record 9th time.
Chris Fenner (GK), Mateus dos Anjos, Pat Selwood, James Kpainay, Devlin Barnes, Michael Goldman, Watson Prather (Danny Irizarry - 65th), Sam Scales, Ernesto Marquez (Lonnie Carter - 75'), Scott Larrabee, Matt Ney (Gui Fonseca - 70')
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