By Aaron Stollar
The Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association upset Premier Development League side Carolina Dynamo 3-1 Tuesday night at the Maryland Soccerplex in Germantown, Md. in the first round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Two goals by former Georgetown Hoyas forward Scott Larrabee led the Northern Virginia-based Hawks to the club’s first ever appearance in the Open Cup’s second round and a home match against the Richmond Kickers, a professional side representing USL PRO (third tier).
“I’m elated,” said Hawks coach Jonathan Knight. “Our goal this year was to get to the second round and we achieved it.”
This year’s is the 99th edition of the U.S. Open Cup, a knockout tournament open to teams up and down the club soccer ladder in the United States. The Seattle Sounders enter this year’s event as three-time defending champions, but they, like all MLS teams, do not enter the tournament until the third round. The first round is contested by amateur adult league teams like the Aegean Hawks and PDL teams such as Carolina, whose rosters consist mainly of college players seeking added playing and development time during their schools’ offseasons.
The Hawks jumped into the lead in the 21st minute when Carolina goalkeeper Joseph Goodwin (UNC) couldn’t control a routine-looking back pass at the top of the penalty area, allowing Larrabee to tackle the ball past Goodwin and into the net.
“I knew it was slick ground and touches were going away from defenders,” Larrabee said. “I saw the goalie get the ball and I knew there was a chance of a bad touch so I went for it.”
Larrabee got his and the Hawks’ second goal less than a minute into the second half, heading the ball off a cross from halftime substitute Ernesto Marquez. Goodwin had no chance at the low, well-struck effort.
“[Marquez] served me a great ball that caught the defender off guard,” Larrabee said.
In the 85th minute, Carolina briefly reduced the deficit to one when English midfielder Thomas McReady (Limestone College) fired a low free kick from the top of the penalty that went through the negligent Aegean Hawks’ wall and beat goalkeeper Chris Fenner to his left.
But the plucky Hawks responded only a minute later when midfielder Matt Ney took advantage of Carolina’s high defensive line to score with a shot off the far post on a breakaway and put away the match.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” Ney said. “We’re an amateur club that trains only a couple times a week. [Carolina] is younger and fitter, but everyone did a great job.”
The Dynamo, preferring to focus on their PDL efforts, started a young squad that had eight changes to the team that won 5-1 over Real Maryland on Saturday and featured six players making their first start for the club.
“It was quite a naïve performance in many ways,” said Carolina coach Marc Nicholls. “I was a little bit disappointed but it was a good learning experience.”
Despite possessing the ball more for long stretches of both halves, the Dynamo struggled to create chances in open play. Carolina’s best opportunity came on a free kick by left back Daniel Lovitz (Elon) in the 67th minute that took a slight deflection of the wall and whistled past the post, left of Fenner.
While they may be an amateur team, the Hawks feature multiple players with minor pro or NCAA Division I experience: Larrabee, Marquez (George Mason), Ney (Holy Cross), Erwin Diaz (Maryland) and Danny Irizarry (Ohio State). The club has been a power in local amateur play for the last seven years and has now participated in three Open Cups along with winning the 2009 USASA Amateur Cup national title.
The Hawks will host the Kickers on May 22 at the Soccerplex in the second round of the tournament. Carolina will travel to face the Nashville Metros in league play on Saturday.
Match Report: Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks 3, Carolina Dynamo 1
Goals: AH: Danny Larrabee 2, Matt Ney; CD: Thomas McCready
Yellow Cards: AH: Barnes, Prather, CD: K. Okiomah
Red Cards: none
Shots: AH: 5, CD: 8
Corner Kicks: AH: 4, CD: 2
AH: Fenner; Barnes, Selwood, Kpainay, Carter; Irizarry (Golden 78), Prather, Diaz (Marquez 46); Fonseca (May 67), Scales, Larrabee
CD: Goodwin; Howard, Linville, Lovits, Mamadee (McCready 46), Okwonu, F. Okiomah (K. Okiomah 16), Reifscneider, Simonin, Sloan
Referees: Sean Fitch (CR), Matthew Nelson (AR), Dean Fairweather (AR), Alex Luttman (4th)