You wouldn’t know it from the box score, but local amateur soccer team Christos FC gave D.C. United a run for their money last night.
The unlikely Beltway matchup at Montgomery County’s Maryland SoccerPlex happened in the fourth round of this year’s U.S. Open Cup, a 103-year-old tournament that brings amateurs and pros from lower-tier leagues (i.e. National Premier Soccer League, Premier Development League) up against teams from certified pro leagues like the United Soccer League and, at the top, Major League Soccer.
Christos FC, a team named after its backer, Glen Burnie-based Christos Discount Liquors, and composed mostly of former pro or UMBC soccer players, shocked the sporting world last night when it scored the first goal of the match. Midfielder Mamadou Kansaye drilled that one into the back of the net on a free kick in the 23rd minute. Pandemonium ensued, as captured by The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg.
Uhhhh the beer league guys just scored. Mayhem pic.twitter.com/lweUW2egqP
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) June 14, 2017
(Watch it from a different angle here.)
For awhile thereafter, it seemed like Baltimore’s beer league squad might pull off the upset. D.C. United tied it up 1-1 with a goal in the 35th minute, but didn’t score again until the 81st minute. However, crushing any chance of a comeback from Christos toward the end, United scored twice more, running the score up to 4-1.
United Coach Ben Olsen said afterward that Christos’ improbable performance is indicative of a growing soccer talent pool in the United States. “As we grow as a soccer country, this is going to happen more and more — better quality amateurs out there that can make these types of runs. What’s great about the Open Cup is that these stories can happen,” he told The Post.
Christos coach Bryan Bugarin pointed out that his team rarely practices – its members include a plumber, a loan officer and an X-ray technician – while United players are out on the field every day.
“You can just tell we had tired legs at the end,” he told the newspaper. “We knew we could play, soccer-wise. It was, ‘Hey, how long can we last, fitness-wise?’”
There’s a silver lining for Christos, however. The 20-year-old Glen Burnie club is getting some love, including a full profile from ESPN FC.
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