Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks FC: 2013 Metro DC/Virginia Open Cup champions | Photo: Jon Knight
Watch video of the match here
The Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks FC continued their dominance over the Metro DC/Virginia soccer association with their second straight Open Cup title. The Hawks achieved that by defeating Hammers FC 1-0 at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Va. on Sunday, Feb. 17.
Former Crystal Palace Baltimore player Mateus dos Anjos scored the lone goal midway through the first half to give the Hawks their sixth state Open Cup title in their last seven attempts.
The Hawks will open the USASA Region I tournament on April 7 against the winner of the Maryland Open Cup qualifying tournament.
The two clubs were the only entries in this year’s tournament, with Hammers FC of the Northern Virginia Soccer League, making their first appearance in this competition. They featured a number of notable players including some who spent time with Major League Soccer teams and other professional sides. Among those, brothers Jeremy and Neil Barlow. Jeremy spent time with DC United and the Los Angeles Galaxy before joining his brother Neil with the Richmond Kickers back in 2010. In fact, Jeremy recently spent time with the Hawks before joining the Hammers.
The opening 35 minutes belonged to the defending champions, as they controlled the majority of possession. The goal that would prove to be the game-winner would come in the 25th minute. Hawks captain Mike Goldman started the play by stealing the ball in midfield and fed the ball up to David Rosenbaum at the top of the box. Rosenbaum, a former Richmond Kickers player, played the ball to dos Anjos who beat his defender with a quick turn toward goal and fired a shot inside the far post.
In the 35th minute, a through ball to Diaz put him in on goal, but his attempted chip over Hammers goalkeeper Dan Blake was too low and he made the save. After the goal, the tide turned and Hammers FC, who brought on some fresh legs early in the second half, started to put pressure on the Hawks defense, but the Hawks still managed to create chances.
Hammers FC poses for a team photo at the 2013 DC/VA Open Cup Final | Photo: Jon Knight
In the 55th minute, the Hawks had another opportunity when Watson Prather struck a shot on goal off a corner kick, the goalkeeper blocked the shot, only to watch the rebound fall to Diaz at close range. Diaz would miss another opportunity inside the six as he shot it over the bar. Former Ohio State Buckeye Sam Scales took a curling shot from the right wing and the ball hit the post to deny the Hawks again.
The final chance for the Hawks came in the 80th minute when Ernesto Marquez, who played his college ball at nearby George Mason University, took a shot from the top of the area and banged his shot off the crossbar.
“It was an exciting game for us as our first attempt at the US Open Cup,” said Hammers manager John Eskandary. “We are already eager for next year and another chance.”
Hammers FC launched in the early 1990s and with an influx of talent over the years, that young club eventually produced a premier and an over-30 team. Many of the players, including Eskandary, are products of the Hammers’ system and with the talent and familiarity the players had with one another, he felt it was time to put his premier team “up against the best of the best.” The club is planning to expand by partnering with local youth club Premier AC to further boost their ability to find and produce professional players.
“It feels good, because the Hammers are a very good team, but I wish there was a better representation of the quality of this area,” said Hawks manager Jon Knight. “There are a lot of strong teams in this area that just choose not to participate.”
The Hawks first entered the DC/VA Open Cup tournament back in 2006 and won the tournament four years in a row (2006-2009) before having their streak ended in 2010 by rival Club Atletico Virginia. In 2011, the Hawks found a way to enter the more competitive Maryland tournament, but also found out just how competitive it was and lost in the opening round to Christos FC. They returned to DC/VA last year where they were just one of just two entries, and they avenged their 2010 loss with a 3-1 victory over CAV.
“It’s a great record and it’s a testimate to the hard work of our players over the years,” said Knight. “It’s a team effort, from the sponsors, all the way down to the coaches and the players.”
2013 DC/VA Open Cup Final
Aegean Hawks FC 1:0 Hammers FC
Sunday, Feb. 17 – Robinson Secondary School (Fairfax, Va.)
Aegean Hawks: Mateus dos Ajos (David Rosenbaum) – 25th min.
Hammers FC: Dan Blake (GK), Mathius D’Amico, Chris Kamara, Kyle Miller, Andrew Harvey, Clay Price (Alex Jones – 70′), Jeremy Barlow, Neil Barlow, Suli Williams, Jeremy Gold (Donald Hart 45′), Chad Kite (Kyle Sullivan)
Aegean Hawks: Chris Fenner (GK), Devlin Barnes, Phil Gordon, Tim Finklea, Alan Golden, Erwin Diaz (Titou Fierro – 55′), Michael Goldman, Watson Prather, Ernesto Marquez, David Rosenbaum (Scott Larrabee – 55′), Mateus Dos Anjos (Sam Scales – 45′)
Recent DC/VA Open Cup champions:
2013: Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks
2012: Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks
2011: Club Atletico Virginia
2010: Club Atletico Virginia
2009: Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks
2008: Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks
2007: Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks
2006: Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks
2005: Lex United
2004: LCC International
2003: Dynamos FC
2002: LCC International
2001: Virginia Beach International
2000: LCC International
1999: Zorba FC
1998: LCC International