2015 US Open Cup qualifying: Washington Elite win OT barnburner, Baltimore Kickers return in Maryland Open Cup openers

Posted by | January 24, 2014

Editor’s note: The USASA’s qualifying deadline for 2014 was moved up to Dec. 31, 2013 and since there was no way for Region I to fit state and regional tournaments in before the end of the year, so the 2014 Region I entries were already decided based on 2013’s results. The 2013 Region I Open Cup champion Icon FC (New Jersey) and Amateur Cup winners, Greek American Atlas, punched their tickets to this year’s Open Cup already. Therefore, this year’s Maryland tournament winner will advance to regionals, and the regional winner will qualify for the 2015 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

The opening round of the state of Maryland’s Open Cup qualifying tournament — known locally as the Rowland Cup — packed some excitement into the first two games of the competition. With the winner of the tournament taking a big step toward qualifying for the 2015 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, each team brought intensity and passion to the pitch. There was no lack of drama in either match with Washington Elite SC winning a 10-goal extra time thriller, and the new-look Baltimore Kickers Bayern earning a 3-1 win.

Both teams move on to the state quarterfinals which was originally scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 26, but winter weather has postponed the games and a make-up date has yet to be announced.

MORE: Maryland Open Cup qualifying schedule

Washington Elite FC 6:4 (AET) Pipeline SC

No one could have predicted the classic that the Washington Elite-Pipeline SC game would become in the first round of the Rowland Cup. Pipeline was no stranger to dramatic opening games, as they rallied from a 4-1 second half deficit to beat Spartan SC 5-4 last year. This year, the tables were turned as Washington came back to tie the game after trailing at halftime, and won the game after a wild four-goal extra time period.

The fireworks started early in this tilt as Washington scored in the 10th minute after Luis Rivera capitalized on a through ball from Josselin Passion and cleanly slotted it past Pipeline keeper Rob Hollasch. The scoreline would not remain that way for long, as Pipeline soon answered six minutes later when Malcs Manswell fed the ball to Taylor Brummitt, who dribbled around the Elite keeper in the area and put it away to draw even.

The game continued to go back and forth until the 40th minute, when Tommy Quaranta of Pipeline won the ball at midfield and hit a through pass to Joe O’Rourke who put the ball in the back of the net. Pipeline headed into the half with momentum and a 2-1 lead.

Coming out of the halftime break, Washington showed real defensive discipline, limiting the number of shots and slowing the attacking momentum from Pipeline. In the 60th minute, the Elite capitalized on a counterattack, racing down the right flank after a Pipeline set piece was cleared. Nahome Menzengia then proceeded to draw the scoreline level once again.

Elite would grasp the lead again in the 75th minute when Josselin Passion broke away down the left side of the field and was able to slot the ball past Hollasch for a 3-2 lead. The game seemed destined for a Washington victory when, in the 85th minute, Stafford Affori of Pipeline headed in an O’Rourke free kick to send the game into extra time knotted at 3-3.

In the first period of overtime, there was only one goal, but it provided quite a bit of controversy. In the 100th minute, there was a loose ball in the Pipeline penalty area, and a Washington player played the ball to a teammate while lying on his back. Pipeline stopped play, expecting a dangerous play call, but no such call was given. Menzengia collected the loose ball and fired it into the back of the net to give Washington a 4-3 lead heading into the second period of extra time.

In the second period of extra time, Washington began to pull away with two quick goals in the 110th and 113th minute, scored by Kevin Gnatiko and Harold Tchameni, respectively. Taylor Brummitt of Pipeline headed one into the net in the 117th minute, but it wasn’t enough for them, as Elite hung on to win, 6-4.

After the game, Bill George, the Pipeline SC coach, said “All credit to Washington Elite. They were the better team today and had us under a lot of pressure. We lacked depth today and it showed. I am proud of how hard our boys battled. Despite missing numerous key players, we battled hard and put ourselves in position to win. Without the depth, we ran out of gas in overtime and Washington was able punish us. Good luck to Carlos and his squad.”

Washington will move on to face two-time Rowland Cup champion Christos FC in the quarterfinals.

Pipeline SC: Rob Hollasch (GK), JD Kershaw, Gus Teren, Phil Greatwhich, Eric Mullins, Nick Bermudez, Joe O’Rourke, Tommy Quaranta, Stafford Afori, Taylor Brummitt, Malcs Manswell (Brian Hernandez – 70′)

Washington Elite: Erick Batres (GK), Dannish Nelson, Joel Denose, Darrell Gonzalez, Juele Lawrence, Josselin Passion, Samuel Edoung-Biyo, Nahome Menzengia, Tim Wilson, Luis Rivera, Idrissa Seisay

Scoring Summary
WAS: Luis Rivera (Josselin Passion) – 10th min.
PSC: Taylor Brummitt (Malcs Manswell) – 16th min.
PSC: Joe O’Rourke (Tommy Quaranta) – 40th min.
WAS: Nahome Menzengia (Tim Wilson) – 60th min.
WAS: Josselin Passion (Luis Rivera) – 75th min.
PSC: Stafford Afori (Joe O’Rourke) – 85th min.
WAS: Kevin Gnatiko (Unassisted) – 110th min.
WAS: Harold Tchameni (Unassisted) – 113th min.
PSC: Taylor Brummitt (Nico Bermudez) – 117th min.

Baltimore Kickers Bayern 3:1 Malawi FC

The other Rowland Cup first round match of the day featured two teams that both have featured on the Maryland soccer scene for years. Baltimore Kickers Bayern used to be known as Mundo FC and made a strong run to the state semifinals last year, while Malawi was making their first appearance in several years.

The game was back and forth, with both teams enjoying long sustained bouts of possession and attacking movement. The Kickers registered the only goal of the first half, when Kunle Akinfeleye broke past the Malawi defense off of an assist by Vahid Zeinoddini.

Malawi equalized in the second half, but shortly after were called for a penalty kick after a defender chopped down Baltimore’s Suman Rai in the box. Johnny Melcher slotted it home from the spot to give the Kickers a 2-1 lead. In the 70th minute, Baltimore scored what proved to be an insurance goal when Frank Bakong cut through the Malawi backline on a Melcher assist, and made the scoreline 3-1.

After the game, Baltimore coach Leonard Van de Graaff heaped praise on his man of the match.

“Our central midfielder Johnny Melcher is the person I’d like to point to as having had an excellent game,” said Van de Graaff. “He recently joined the squad (after having played for the Air Force team) and has brought organization and discipline to our team. In this game, he assisted on one goal and scored a penalty kick for us. We’ve moved forward quickly since Johnny joined us and we look forward to more success, not only in the Rowland and Stewart Cup competitions, but also in the years to come. “

Local fans may remember the Kickers name as they have been around since 1953 and are one of the oldest amateur clubs in the state. The Kickers needed help keeping the team on the field, so Van de Graaff stepped with his Mundo club, took on the Kickers name to keep the tradition alive. The addition of ‘Bayern’ to the name was made to distinguish between the club’s first and second teams.

Baltimore will move on to play the Screaming Eagles, a rematch of last year’s semifinal match which the Eagles won 4-1.

Scoring Summary
BAL: Kunle Akinfeleye (Vahid Zeinoddini) – First half
MAL: Unknown goalscorer – Second half
BAL: Johnny Melcher (PK) – Second half
BAL: Frank Bakong (Johnny Melcher) – 70th min.

One Comment

  • Craig Tower says:

    Thanks very much for the report on the MD scores of the US Open Cup competition. It’s a pity that the Kickers lost out the the Screaming Eagles by a lopsided score.

    It’s also worth noting that the Rowland Cup competition, which crowns the Maryland open champion each year, is also celebrating its 100 anniversary this year. In some eras, for instance the 1970s, the Rowland cup and US Open (or Challenge) Cup competitions may actually have been separate tournaments.

    For example, in November of 1970, Dnipro of Baltimore defeated Italia to advance to the interstate round of the 1971 US Open Cup against powerhouse Philadelphia Ukrainians, losing 2 to 1.

    But on June 6, 1971, they captured the Rowland Cup in a match against the Greek-Americans of Washington, 6 to 0.

    In the competition for the 1972 US Open Cup, Dnipro again qualified for interstate competition, after defeating Pan-American Union of DC on March 26 in Baltimore.

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