The Kansas City Athletics, playing with only 10 men the entire match, are the first United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) team to punch their ticket to the 2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup after thrashing the Cincy Saints 10-2 at the Region II tournament in Bensenville, Ill. Luckily for the Athletics, the Saints only showed up with eight players, as KC qualifies for their second Open Cup in the last three years. Their journey in the 99th edition of the tournament will begin in the First Round, which is scheduled to begin May 15. The draw will take place at the end of April.
The second Open Cup berth will be decided on Sunday when the other two Saturday winners, AAC Eagles and the Croatian Eagles, will square off at the same venue at 12 p.m. Central Time. The AAC Eagles cruised to a 7-1 win over Michigan’s lone entry, Ann Arbor FC Elite, while the Croatians from Milwaukee edged the Illinois champion RWB Adria, 2-0.
The Athletics representing Kansas, a state that prior to their first entry into the tournament in 2010, had not had a team in the competition in at least 20 years.
Kansas City arrived at the venue on the west side of Chicago with just 10 players, knowing they had a big challenge in store for them against a team they knew very little about. The Cincy Saints, the first Southern Ohio team to enter Open Cup in the Modern Pro Era (1995-present), are a relatively new club (founded in 2009) that competes both indoor (PASL Premier League) and outdoor in the Midwest Soccer League. The nerves of playing with 10 men were calmed when the Athletics realized the Saints had only traveled with eight players for this “Win & You’re In” match. The match was pre-determined to be the one that would determine the first Open Cup berth from Region II due to a blind draw that took place weeks beforehand.
Nestor Hernandez of the AAC Eagles dribbles through the Ann Arbor FC defense in the first game of the 2012 USASA Region II tournament. Photo: AAC Eagles
It didn’t take long for KC to capitalize on their two-man advantage. Chris Markey scored twice, while Peter Kariotis, Jesse Baker, Martin Johnston and Matt Germain added their own all before halftime. The Saints’ Adam
The day started with Ann Arbor FC drawing first blood with a goal by Brian Conway in the 19th minute to take the lead on the hometown team AAC Eagles. Two minutes later, David Otachel scored the first of his five goals on the day on their way to a 7-1 rout of the Michigan representative. Stan Micic and Armando Tello also tallied for the Eagles, who are attempting to qualify for the Open Cup for the sixth time in the Modern Pro Era. The club is led by first-year coach Marek Radziszewski, who was a former goalkeeper for the Eagles in the early 90s Tenhundfeld tried to make a game of it with two goals within the first five minutes of the second half, but less than a minute after he made the score 6-2, player/manager Kyle Perkins scored a seventh for the Athletics. Johnston added his second in the 67th minute, followed by Steven Grow’s first two minutes later, and the 10th and final goal by Johnston in the 74th minute.
The Croatian Eagles put themselves one win away from returning to the Open Cup for the first time since 2006 with a 2-0 win over RWB Adria with a 19th-minute goal by Ramon Alvarado and a tally by Scott Raymonds in the final minute.
Keeper Ante Cop started the sequence that led to the opener, sending a long ball that Croatians striker Aaron Lauber flicked on to Alvarado on the left side. RWB Adria controlled play throughout the second half as they looked for an equalizer, dominating possession and pushing increasing numbers forward, but couldn’t solve Cop and the Croatians’ backline.
Adria hit the post with about 15 minutes remaining and Cop came up with two nice saves, and the Croatians finally converted on a counter attack in the last minute of the 90, as Raymonds latched onto a ball from 40-year-old Jason Willan and finished from 7 yards out to seal the victory. (Full match report at WisconsinSoccerCentral.com)
AAC Eagles (IL) 7:1 Ann Arbor FC Elite (MI)
AAFC: Brian Conway (Jacob Puente) – 19th minute
AAC: David Otachel – 21st minute
AAC: Stan Micic – 32nd minute
AAC: David Otachel – 42nd minute
AAC: David Otachel – 61st minute
AAC: David Otachel – 63rd minute
AAC: David Otachel – 76th minute
AAC: Armando Tello – 84th minute
Croatian Eagles (WI) 2:0 RWB Adria (IL)
CRO: Ramon Alvarado – 19th minute
CRO: Scott Raymonds – 90th minute
KC Athletics (KS) 10:2 Cincy Saints (OH)
KCA: Peter Kariotis – 13th minute
KCA: Chris Markey – 20th minute
KCA: Jesse Baker – 25th minute
KCA: Martin Johnston – 30th minute
KCA: Chris Markey – 36th minute
KCA: Matt Germain – 40th minute
CIN: Adam Tenhundfeld – 46th minute
CIN: Adam Tenhundfeld – 49th minute
KCA: Kyle Perkins – 50th minute
KCA: Martin Johnston – 67th minute
KCA: Steven Grow – 69th minute
KCA: Martin Johnston – 74th minute
USASA Region II US Open Cup “Win & You’re In”
AAC Eagles vs. Croatian Eagles
Sunday, April 15 – 12:00 p.m. CT