BOYDS, Md. — The clock struck midnight for Christos FC: As the last amateur team standing in the U.S. Open Cup, their Cinderella run came to an end after falling to D.C. United 4-1 Tuesday night in Montgomery County.
After Christos FC scored the first goal at the Maryland SoccerPlex, D.C. United responded with one before halftime to tie and then three late to win. So the team named after a Baltimore liquor store was stopped in the round of 32. No amateur team has advanced past that point in the tournament.
Disappointed? Sure, but it was a tremendous experience for coach Bryan Bugarin and his team.
“Playing in front of this many fans who came here to see us — it was awesome because the place was rockin’ and it was, ‘hey, let’s see what we can do,’” he said. The SoccerPlex was filled with over 5,000 fans.
Christos did well for the first half and hung on for another 30 minutes after that as United applied the pressure. But the pro team was just too much in the end: United scored three times in the final nine-plus minutes to pull away.
Forward Mamadou Kansaye had given Christos a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute. He says conditioning was the difference.
“They train every day; we don’t. So, in terms of quality, I think in the early going we showed we could play with them. Some of our guys haven’t played at an extremely high level that they have and we haven’t been at this type of environment before. So, as you get into the 70th and 80th minute, that training is gonna show,” Kansaye said.
Defender Cody Albrecht agreed with that assessment, adding, “I think that fitness played a part toward the end, but I’m happy with the way we gave a lot of effort and showed the club and the founders really well with all the fans here.”
D.C. United coach Ben Olsen appreciates a good underdog story, but knew he was in a no-win situation. He says they were expected to win.
“I’m assuming as we grow as a soccer country, this is going to happen more and more. There’s going to be better quality amateurs that can make this kind of run. But, the other part of that is that as the amateurs get better, so does our league (MLS) and the other soccer leagues,” he said.
While Kansaye played collegiate ball at UMBC, Albrecht was a Dematha grad and Maryland captain. He thoroughly enjoyed the moment.
“It was a blast. Playing at Maryland, you get a lot of people, but having this many for a D.C. home game was awesome.”
And after that awesome experience, where does Albrecht go next? To work.
“Yep, 7:30, I’ll be at work.”
Back to reality, until Christos FC returns to the pitch.
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