After a memorable US Open Cup run last season, many have wondered if Christos FC can do it again. While the end result of their 2018 US Open Cup journey is not yet certain, the Baltimore side can at least rest easy knowing they still have hope. On Sunday, Christos started their 2018 journey in style putting three past the Aegean Hawks at Troy Park.
Playing under hot and humid conditions, both sides opted to save their energy and organize their defense. Christos, using their advantage in size, opted to run a high press against the quicker, more elusive Aegean Hawks side. The Hawks, who have qualified for the Open Cup three times (2007, 2009, 2012), found some success making overlapping runs down the left and right flanks, forcing Christos to switch from man-marking to zonal marking. The two sides would spend the better part of the first half looking to unlock each other’s defense with some stellar work at times by both goalkeepers.
Both sides would continue to poke and prod and test the resolve of each other’s defensive structure, hoping that the other would blink. Thankfully for the Christos FC supporters in attendance, it would be their side that would strike first. Moving North and South on the Aegean defense, the Christos midfield were able to open up their opponents’ tight defense. Midfielder Dan Baxter would find forward Elton Joe making a surging run down the left side. The University of Wilmington alum hammered his shot past Hawks goalkeeper Robbie Batchelder to give Christos the 1-0 advantage.
In the second half Aegean would go on the attack early, hoping to find the equalizer. They would nearly have it in the 55th minute when midfielder Watson Prather would find a little bit of room at the top of Christos 18 yard box. His shot was on target, however it would hit the post and go out of bounds.
Christos would put things away late thanks to some some amazing passes from midfielder Chris Ports. In the 83rd minute, Ports’ pass across the Aegean box would connect with Tyler Ruy giving the former Georgetown Hoya a golden chance at goal. Rudy would not miss putting his chance past Batchelder to extend Christos’ lead to 2-0. Just three minutes later Ports would be at it again, this time finding Pete Caringi III for goal number three.
With the win Christos FC moves on to the second round of the Open Division qualifying tournament. They will host first-time entry and fellow Maryland Major Soccer League foes Izee Auto FC on Oct. 22. The game will be played at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Md. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.