2020 US Open Cup Qualifying Win & You’re In: Christos FC qualifies for third time in last four years

Posted by | November 29, 2019

Graphic by Harrison Huntley | @hhuntley17

Christos FC will return to the US Open Cup in 2020 thanks to a pair of goals from their talismanic goalscorer and a deflected cross which added up to a 3-2 victory over qualifying debutantes Steel FC.

With the win, Christos returns to the tournament after falling short of qualifying for the 2019 US Open Cup following back-to-back tournament berths in 2017 and 2018. They are most remembered for their magical debut run to the Fourth Round in the 2017  US Open Cup. After three straight shutout wins on the road, Christos scored the opening goal against D.C. United before falling to the MLS side, 4-1.

On a cold clear day at North County High School in Glen Burnie, a quarter mile from the liquor store whose name the team shares, Christos quickly showed their intentions when Pete Caringi III forced a point-blank save from the Steel keeper in the 2nd minute. Two minutes later, Caringi buried another point-blank chance to give the liquormen a 1-0 lead. Caringi, a graduate of Maryland-Baltimore County, played a big role in Christos’ run in the 2017 competition, as he was a finalist for that year’s TheCup.us Lower Division Player of the Tournament award.

The first half was clearly controlled by Christos, and Steel were at pains to get any clear shots on goal inside the 18.

In the 24th minute, a Christos corner saw Steel FC keeper Brendan Birmingham’s attempted clearance drop to the feet of Alexander Lee at the 18. Lee controlled the ball and directed to Caringi, who redirected it into the back of the net for a 2-1 Christos lead which they held until halftime.

The second half was more balanced than the first as the metalmen found their way back in the game in the 54th minute. Another goal box scramble led to a Ramsay Hartley goal with an assist by Max Flick as Christos struggled to clear.

Christos didn’t dominate possession as much in the second half, but they continued to have the better chances. A surging David Harris crossed the ball from the left endline in the 63rd minute, resulting in a Steel FC deflection on the near side that pinged into their own goal just inside the post, leaving Birmingham completely flat-footed.

Local fans were almost treated to a 74th minute home goal as a remarkable Caringi bicycle kick from six yards out looped onto the top of the crossbar and out of play.

The Pittsburgh-based side found their way onto the scoresheet again in the 83rd minute as Matthew McDyer scored from a corner kick from 18 yards out with an assist from Hartley. The visitors were energized, and a pair of corner kicks in the waning minutes of the game produced some scary moments for Christos, but the home team managed to escape with a 3-2 win and a ticket to the full tournament next spring.


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2020 US Open Cup Qualifying Round 2 Game-By-Game Review
2020 US Open Cup Qualifying Win & You’re In Weekend Game-By-Game Review
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