In what is typically a very competitive state qualifying tournament for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, Maryland’s Rowland Cup semifinals were a pair of one-sided affairs. The two-time defending champion Maryland Bays will have a chance at a rare three-peat after cruising past Santino Quaranta and Pipeline SC, 4-1. The Screaming Eagles will join them in next Sunday’s final by defeating Mundo FC by the same scoreline.
The championship game will take place on Sunday, March 10 at Howard High School in Ellicott City, Md. The winner will advance to the USASA Region I Finals where they will face DC/VA champions Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks in the quarterfinals.
Maryland Bays counterattack their way to a third straight final
By Matt Johnston
Coming into the Rowland Cup semifinals, the Maryland Bays had to be considered the favorite as the two-time defending champion and facing Pipeline SC, a new club that has only been in existence for less than two years. The Bays came away with the victory with a 4-1 scoreline that completely belied the run of play.
Pipeline SC had long spells of dominant possession, particularly early in each half, but were unable to translate that possession into goals, although they did have their chances. But despite all the possession, it was the Bays counterattack that produced their four goals.
The Bays had what general manager Andrew Dicea characterized as a typical slow start, and Pipeline established an early dominance, with much of the first 30 minutes of the game played in the Bays’ defensive half. Driving much of the play for Pipeline was holding midfielder Gus Terran, a former College of Charleston starter and relatively new addition to the Pipeline squad. Former DC United star, US international, and current Pipeline SC vice president Santino Quaranta nearly latched onto a fourth minute through ball down the right channel, but Quaranta put the ball just wide of the left post after nudging the ball around the sprawling Bays keeper. Quaranta would only play the first half before leaving the game at halftime
Just a few minutes later, Bays counterattacked down the left flank. A strong strike for Elton Joe was parried away by the Pipeline keeper, but the ball fell to the feet of Andrew Gillis, who slotted home the game’s first goal. Pipeline remained in control of the possession though, but were unable to convert a couple half-chances as the first half wound down.
The game appeared to be heading to a stalemate or a draw for the first fifteen minutes of the second half. But in the 61st minute, the Bays were on yet another counterattack, playing two attackers against three defenders. The Bays showed a tremendous amount of off the ball movement and the ball ended up playing across the backline to Mike Gill on the left side of the penalty area calmly slotted home the game’s second goal. But that was not without a great deal of controversy as at least twice it appeared that a Bays player was in an offside position in the build-up play and Gill himself might have been offside. However, the flag stayed down and the Pipeline defenders were more than a little vocal and upset. Pipeline coach Bill George rightfully called the goal “a game changer.”
Two weeks ago, Pipeline recovered from a three goal deficit to rally to victory and it appeared that Pipeline could do it again as the Bays continued to put men behind the ball and allow Pipeline to maintain the bulk of possession. Despite the large amount of movement among the Pipeline offense, but the front line appeared to not be on the same page, with passes ending up long, wide of the target, or behind the moving strikers.
In the 70th minute, despite the experience of the Pipeline back line, a deep centerback kept Elton Joe onside on a clean breakaway. Collecting the ball near the center circle, Joe sprinted nearly 40 yards to slide home an easy goal that may have been the icing on the cake.
Yet credit to Pipeline for not giving up. In the 85th minute, after much heavy pressure from Pipeline, former Real Maryland, Crystal Palace Baltimore player Sean Rush fired a 28-yard daisy cutter through traffic and past a sprawling keeper to nab Pipeline’s only goal. Yet, no heroic comeback was in the cards. In the final minute, on yet another rapid counterattack, Andrew Gillis netted his second goal of the day, but at that point the match was finished and shortly after the restart the referee blew the final whistle.
Asked about the prospects for the Bays in the final against the Screaming Eagles, Dicea admitted he didn’t know much about the Eagles other than their pace. “If they are moving well off the ball, it could be a great match up for us.”
Pipeline’s manager Bill George had praise for the Bays, “They are a quality side who will represent Maryland well in the US Open Cup. We wish them well.”
But the Bays have one more match before hoisting the Maryland championship for a third straight time, something that hasn’t been achieved in at least two decades. (TheCup.us’ Maryland Open Cup tournament records are incomplete)
Screaming Eagles book passage into final after rout of Mundo FC
by Richard Kirtland
It was a true showing of attacking prowess at Montgomery Blair High School as the Screaming Eagles managed to secure a berth in the 2013 Rowland Cup final after a 4-1 win over Mundo FC. The Eagles, a first-time entry into the tournament, are now one win away from a berth in the Region I Finals.
The scoring started early in the day as Rashid Deen managed to put a goal in the back of the net fairly early in the first half. Mundo FC then buckled down defensively, keeping the Eagles off the scoresheet until a few minutes before halftime when Godwin Amuzie tallied another one for Eagles.
After the halftime break, Mundo came out on fire, creating a number of chances and eventually scoring a goal of their own to force a 2-1 scoreline. The game then turned into a tense back-and-forth affair until Eagles player Alimamy Jabbie put in a third goal for the Maryland International Soccer League (MISL) side. Mundo then made several good attempts on goal, with most being parried away by goalkeeper Edwin Theodore. The Eagles then netted a fourth goal on the day off a brace by Deen. Content with a 4-1 scoreline, Eagles manager Adam Camara made a number of defensive-minded subs and Eagles held on to move into the Rowland Cup Final.
After the game Camara chose to praise his opponents. “Their team was a very complete team. They came out in a 5-3-2 and played very well.” Camara added that his team is completely focused on the Rowland Cup final on March 10 and that they are ready for the challenge.
2013 Maryland Open Cup Qualifying
Rowland Cup Semifinals
Maryland Bays 4:1 Pipeline SC
Bays: Andrew Gillis (Unassisted) – 10th min.
Bays: Mike Gill – 61st min.
Bays: Elton Joe – 70th min.
Pipeline: Sean Rush – 85th min.
Bays: Andrew Gillis – 90th min.
Maryland Bays: N/A
Pipeline SC: N/A
Screaming Eagles 4:1 Mundo FC
Eagles: Rashid Deen – 1st half
Eagles: Godwin Amuzie – 1st half
Mundo: Rigoberto Gutierrez – 2nd half
Eagles: Alimamy Jabbie – 2nd half
Eagles: Rashid Deen – 2nd half
Screaming Eagles: Edwin Theodore, Isiaka Kamara, Malone Koroma, Ruben Asare, Rodriguez Gurllermo, Abdul Rashid, Rashid Deen, Mannie Yamson, Usif Sindel, Jonathan Orlando, Godwin Amuzie | Subs: Larry Sawyer, Bash Bangura, Francis Issa, Issa Mohamed, Alimamy Jabbie
Mundo FC:Ashkan Bahrani, Mehran Mirjafari, Rich Burrowes, Rigoberto Gutierrez, Brian Greuter, Chris Brown, Erick Requeno, Mike Somtia, Frank Bakong, Jake Kern, Ben Wagner | Subs: Vahid Zeinoddini, Eric Narcis, Arnaud Ngueguim, Len Van de Graaff
2013 Maryland Open Cup qualifying results
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 0:2 Maryland Bays (Feb. 17)
Mundo SC 2:1 Washington Elite FC (Feb. 17)
Semifinals (Feb. 24)
Maryland Bays 4:1 Pipeline SC
Screaming Eagles 4:1 Mundo FC
Final (Mar. 10)
Maryland Bays vs. Screaming Eagles
Howard High School
Past Maryland Open Cup champions
2012: Maryland Bays 2011: Maryland Bays 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