After Mother Nature delayed the start of Maryland’s US Open Cup qualifying tournament, the Rowland Cup, the competition got under way with three teams moving one step closer to the USASA Region I Finals.
ASA Charm City FC and the Screaming Eagles both moved on with shutout victories, but the highlight, without question, was the comeback victory by Pipeline SC. In the 55th minute of their match against Spartan FC, they fell behind 4-1, but managed to battle back with four goals in the final 35 minutes to punch their ticket to the semifinals, 5-4.
After playing the Maryland Bays in the state championship game the last two years, Charm City will get a third crack at the two-time defending champs in the quarterfinals on Sunday, Feb. 17. That same day Mundo FC will face the Washington Elite to wrap up the round of eight.
PIPELINE SC 5:4 SPARTAN FC
by Richard Kirtland
It was a match for the ages at Heurich Park as Pipeline SC completed a thrilling 5-4 comeback win over fellow first-time entry Spartan SC in the quarterfinal match of the 2013 Rowland Cup.
It was a hard-fought game from the opening whistle, with Pipeline player GR Cannon opening the scoring in the eighth minute off of a long ball out of the back from Donald Gibson. However, it was Spartan FC who would respond next, equalizing on a narrow-angle shot from the side of the box just seven minutes later. In the 22nd minute, Spartan would score on a far-post header to take the lead, and they would add to their advantage just before halftime after pouncing on an uncleared corner kick to go into the halftime break up 3-1.
Pipeline came out after the half and controlled momentum, but Spartan still managed to add a fourth in the 55th minute. After that goal, Zack Bowman took over the match for Pipeline, tallying a hat-trick over the next twenty minutes to level the score at 4-4 in the 75th. Bowman almost had a fourth goal on the day in the 84th minute, but was tangled up with the Spartan center back in the 18 yard box. A penalty was called in favor of Pipeline, and GR Cannon stepped up to blast it home from the spot. Six minutes later, the referee blew his whistle, and Pipeline were proclaimed the day’s victors.
“It was one of the greatest comebacks I’ve ever been a part of as a player or coach,” said Pipeline manager Bill George. “It shows a lot of the character of our team.”
This is the first year for this team to compete under the banner of the Pipeline Soccer Club. The current team was formed in July 2012 as a merger between the Baltimore Juniors and Pipeline Soccer Club. While the team may be relatively young in age, they are laden with experience, boasting a bevy of players who have competed at the collegiate or professional level. Among those are Sean Rush, the club president/forward who played professionally for Crystal Palace Baltimore, Real Maryland, and Ribeirao in the Portuguese Second Division. Midfielder GR Cannon played for Baltimore Bohemians and had a brief stint with DC United back in 2004. This club also boasts club vice-president former US international and Major League Soccer player Santino Quaranta, who played most notably at DC United and garnered 15 caps for the US National Team. Despite his retirement, he may be suiting up in a Pipeline jersey before the end of the qualifying campaign.
ASA CHARM CITY FC 5:0 LOONEY’S PUB NORTH
by Matt Johnston
After two weeks of weather delays, the opening game of the Rowland Cup was played under clear sunny skies and seasonable temperatures. Charm City FC, the tournament’s runner-up the last two years, faced newcomer Looney’s Pub North FC for a spot in the quarterfinal round.
Charm City boasts a large core group of players who played for Christos FC’s Over -30 team that won the USASA National Over-30 Cup last year, and the cohesiveness and experience with each other was evident early on in the game. Looney’s on the other hand, is an amalgamation of players that includes the old Baltimore Kickers team. Indeed, some players were being introduced to each other just prior to the game.
At kickoff, the teams struggled to shake off the winter cobwebs. Charm City took control of the game early, moving the ball well from side to side, but often leaving players who were able to break through the Looney’s back line stranded without assistance. Such abandonment of play often led to poor shots or blunted attacks, as Looney’s recovered to often put ten men behind the ball. The Charm City midfield duo of Dan Lader, a former Crystal Palace Baltimore player, and Noah Merl, a former Seattle Sounders player from the club’s A-League days, easily controlled the middle of the pitch. Looney’s midfield, missing a few key starters, was unable to protect the back line, and early on, it was clear that a rout was in the offering.
After a number of poorly organized attacks, Lader opened the scoring in the 24th minute with a 25-yard screamer from the right channel. Barely had the dust settled when Tony Tamanini bagged Charm City’s second goal just two minutes later with a shot that appeared to take a late deflection and wrong footed the Looney’s keeper.
The teams platooned on a series of substitutes taking advantage of the college-style substitution rule of permitting an unlimited number of subs in a single half, but the substituted players permitted to return in the second half. Charm City came with a deep bench, able to put five substitutes into the game and Looney’s putting three into the match. However, it was the Charm City substitutes that made the most immediate impact.
Barely five minutes after entering the match, Wijy Jones latched on to a sly through ball from Merl and ran 20 yards unopposed to slot Charm City’s third goal inside the left post. At that point, the rout was clearly on. The final goal of the first half came when Kenny Suter powered home a shot from the top of the penalty area.
Following halftime, Charm City FC remained firmly in control of the match, but were obviously working on tactical thinking, moving the ball from side to side to get the fullbacks and wingers more involved in the play. Though much of Charm City’s first half played moved through the right side, the second half saw the left wing and left fullback getting much more involved in the game. During this period, Merl’s passing ability truly shown through, dictating the flow of the game from left to right and keeping the ball spread wide. Looney’s however, was not completely giving up, but balls played long out of the back left the Looney’s two or sometimes three strikers all alone with no support behind them. Shots were either well over the bar, far wide of the post or simply not taken as the Charm City defenders recovered and smothered attacks.
Moving the ball, largely from the right flank and into attack, Charm City was successful putting the ball into dangerous areas, but the final finishing touch was often lacking. Missed shots were the order of the day through the 75th minute.
After platooning substitutes again by both teams, Charm City continued to apply mild pressure, content to play the ball from the left flank into the center and back again. After several more crosses lead to naught, in the 76th minute, Charm City was able to play the ball quickly using a series of short 10-15 yard passes from the left wing, across the top of the box and toward the right side, where Kenny Suter one-timed a 12 yard shot for the game’s final goal.
The final 10 minutes were largely a display of the frustration of some of the Looney’s players, leading to a silly yellow card challenge by a Looney’s player and with right winger Ernest Jackson actually leaving the pitch in disgust and his team with only ten players for the final eight minutes.
Charm City’s 5-0 win sets up a quarterfinal match against the Maryland Bays, the two-time defending state champion, and a team that Charm City has lost to in each of those two years.
When asked about his team’s chances next week, Charm City’s Pat Crawford said, “You never know, there is a certain amount of luck to this. We lost the league championship last year to a team that we had beaten easily during the season.”
With a roster of 24 players, including, as Crawford pointed out, “many players over 30 and even a couple over 40,” Charm City’s depth may be their strength through the qualifying tournament.
SCREAMING EAGLES 2:0 CHRISTOS FC
The Screaming Eagles, making their first appearance in US Open Cup qualifying, made sure they kept the flag of the Maryland International Soccer League (MISL) flying as they defeated Christos FC 2-0 on Sunday.
The Eagles, who are the lone MISL team remaining after Spartan FC were eliminated, got all of their offense from Jonathan Orlando who scored both goals. Orlando was a star player at the University of the District of Columbia almost a decade ago.
The turning point in the match came in the 34th minute when Ben Kujawa of Christos tackled a Screaming Eagles player from behind in the penalty area and was shown a straight red card. Christos would have to play the rest of the game shorthanded and the Eagles took a 1-0 lead on Orlando’s penalty kick that followed.
The Eagles will join Pipeline FC in the semifinals with the draw for the final four to take place at a later date.
2013 Maryland Open Cup qualifying
Charm City FC 5:0 Looney’s Pub North
Western Regional Park – Cooksville, Md.
Charm City: Dan Lader – 24th min.
Charm City: Tony Tamanini – 26th min.
Charm City: Wijy Jones – 31st min.
Charm City: Kenny Suter – 42nd min.
Charm City: Kenny Suter – 76th min.
Charm City: Wijy Jones (Yellow – 36th min.)
Looney’s Pub: Unidentified Player (Yellow – 81st min.)
Pipeline SC 5:4 Spartan FC
Heurich Park – Hyattsville, Md.
Pipeline: GR Cannon (Darren Gibson) – 8th min.
Spartan: Unknown – 15th min.
Spartan: Unknown – 22nd min.
Spartan: Unknown – Before halftime
Spartan: Unknown – 55th min.
Pipeline: Zack Bowman (Sean Rush) – Time?
Pipeline: Zack Bowman (Aaron Velky) – Time?
Pipeline: Zack Bowman (GR Cannon) – 75th min.
Pipeline: GR Cannon (PK) – 84th min.
Pipeline: Rob Hollasch (GK), Donald Gibson (Ade Parks – 32′), Phil Greatwich, Geoff Bowman, Eric Mullins, Joe Clancy (CJ Okoko – 28′ & Donald Gibson – 87′), GR Cannon, Gus Teren, Aaron Velky (Andrew Shoenfeld – 28′), Zack Bowman, Sean Rush
2013 Maryland Open Cup qualifying
First Round (Feb. 10)
ASA Charm City FC 5:0 Looney’s Pub North
Quarterfinals (Feb. 10/17)
Pipeline SC 5:4 Spartan SC (Feb. 10)
Screaming Eagles 2:0 Christos FC (Feb. 10)
Charm City FC vs. Maryland Bays – Feb. 17 – 11 a.m. (Western Regional No. 5)
Mundo SC vs. Washington Elite FC – Feb. 17 – 1 p.m. (Western Regional No. 5)
Semifinals (Feb. 24)
Final (Mar. 3)
Howard High School [MAP]
Past Maryland Open Cup champions
2012: Maryland Bays [recap]
2011: Maryland Bays [recap]
2010: Charm City FC
2009: Christos FC
2008: Baltimore Colts FC
2007: AC United (Note: Christos FC & Allied SC merged)
2006: Allied SC*
2005: Baltimore Colts FC*
2004: Allied SC*
2003: Brilla Baltimore
2002: Christos FC
2001: DiPasquale Baltimore Colts FC
2000: Jerry D’s*
1999: Jerry D’s
1998: High Topps
*qualified for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup