The Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association defeated the Premier Development League’s Carolina Dynamo 3-1 Tuesday night in the U.S. Open Cup First Round at the Maryland Soccerplex in Germantown, Md. Two goals by former Georgetown Hoya forward Scott Larrabee led the Hawks to the club’s first ever appearance in the Open Cup’s Second Round and a home match against the Richmond Kickers of the third division USL Pro.
“I’m elated,” said Hawks coach Jonathan Knight. “Our goal this year was to get to the second round and we achieved it.”
With the professional clubs entering in the future stages, the First Round is contested by clubs from the amateur leagues like the Aegean Hawks as well as PDL teams such as Carolina, whose rosters consist of current college players seeking added playing and development time during their schools’ offseason.
The Hawks jumped into the lead in the 21st minute when Carolina goalkeeper Joseph Goodwin (UNC) couldn’t control a routine 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 well-struck low 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 scattered 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 Maryland Soccerplex in the Second Round of the tournament. Carolina will travel to face the Nashville Metros in league play on Saturday.