With a 2-0 victory over Hammers FC, the Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks have won the Metro DC-Virginia Open Cup title for the seventh time in eight attempts. The Hawks have now earned a place in next month’s USASA Region I Open Cup tournament, which will qualify a team to the 2015 edition of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
According to Aegean Hawks coach Jonathan Knight, his team started poorly, but gradually got better as the game went along. As the team started to control the flow of the game, opportunities on net began to arise.
The Hawks eventually broke through right before the halftime whistle. It was a Big Ten connection that led to the first goal as a string of nine to 10 passes sent former Ohio State midfielder Danny Irizarry through into the box by former Wisconsin Badger Watson Prather. Irizarry hit a one-time shot into the right corner of the goal to give his side a 1-0 lead.
Knight was much happier with the second half, which saw his team score an insurance goal to seal the DC/VA championship. In the 55th minute, former Georgetown player Jose Colchao put in a cross to David Rosenbaum, who calmly converted his opportunity.
Up 2-0, the Aegean Hawks had several more opportunities but could not add to their lead, which almost proved costly. Hammers had two quality chances toward the end of the game. In the 75th minute, a rocket of a shot from 20 yards out hit the crossbar, and five minutes later, a shot on a nearly-open net was shanked wide left.
With the victory, the Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks move on to the USASA Region I Open Cup tournament, where they are scheduled to host Pennsylvania West representative Oak Avalon on April 6. Despite making it to regionals, Knight bemoans the fact that the DC/VA tournament only saw two teams compete in the competition for the fifth year in a row.
“We have had much more participation in the past,” he said. “Participation is down because of the cost of playing. That scared away a lot of teams. It’s a shame because there are a lot of good teams in our state. I mean, we finished 7th in our league last fall. That shows that a lot of good teams just don’t enter.”
Still, Knight is happy that his team, which 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 in 2012 where they avenged their 2010 loss with a 3-1 victory over CAV, and now have defeated Hammers FC two years in a row to win the title.
He said, “We’re very excited to move on to regionals. We have a really talented roster. Just the idea that we can get to Lamar Hunt is fun.”
Recent DC/VA Open Cup champions:
2014: Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks
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
1997: Unknown club (if you know who won, email us)
1996: Mo’s Sport Shop
1995: Spartan SC