Report: Real Maryland 0- American University 1
Real Maryland suffered its first defeat of the pre-season, 1-0 against American University.
The loss serves as a wake-up call for the Monarchs who get their first taste of USL-2 action next Saturday when they take on Crystal Palace Baltimore in the DeOrsey Cup. “I just told the guys that the honeymoon is over,” Coach Silvino Gonzalo said after the game. “You either do the job or you’re going and I have to find somebody who will do a better job. It’s as simple as that.”
Once again, the Monarchs played well and created many chances, but were unable to capitalize on them.
The first half was a back and fourth affair with each team establishing brief pockets of dominance.
Real Maryland created the first quality chance in the 9th minute when center-back Daryl Ferguson played a long ball to William Brindley. The striker flicked the ball over his defender but sent his first-time volley just over the crossbar. “I hit the ball a little too early,” Brindley said after the match. “I should have let it come down a little further.”
Next it was American’s turn. In the 22nd minute, Nick Kapus controlled a long ball in the box, cut inside Phillipe Bissohong, and curled his shot just wide of the far post.
Five minutes later, the Monarchs went back on the attack. Muner Hassen and Devlin Barnes combined nicely on the right. Barns fed the ball into Brindley, who did well to turn his marker, but shot tamely at the keeper.
Kapus was causing all kinds of problems for the Real Maryland back-line. On the half hour mark Kapus outpaced the defense to a long ball and lobbed his shot over charging Monarchs keeper Christian Montero. The ball bounced right in front of goal, but much to the striker’s chagrin, bounced just over the crossbar.
Muner Hassen was wreaking havoc down the right flank all half. His cross in the 36th minute was not properly delt with by the AU defense. The poor clearance bounced in front of Angel Higueras 20 yards from goal. Higueras half-volley looked destined for the net, but the AU keeper made a stunning save, tipping the ball over at full stretch.
The half ended with a nervous moment for Monarchs’ fans as Muner Hassen went into a challenge in front of the Real Maryland bench and came down awkwardly on his ankle. Although the winger did not take part in the second half, he is fine and will train this week.
Real Maryland started the second half the brighter of the two sides, knocking the ball around nicely, but in the 53 minute, it was American that scored the games first and only goal. The Real Maryland defense failed to deal with a cross that came in from the left. After a scramble in the box, the ball fell kindly for David Menzie who took his chance well, slotting the ball home from close range.
Real Maryland went in search of the equalizer and in the 62nd minute, Higueras almost completed the task. The American defense failed to deal with a Devlin Barnes cross from the right side, the ball fell to Higueras, but he blazed his effort over the bar.
Real Maryland continued to press and second half subs Dennis Alas and Ronald Cerritos began to impose themselves on the match. In the 69th minute, Alas played a long ball to Cerritos in the left corner. Cerritos sent a pinpoint cross onto the head of another sub, Dangelo Da Silva. The Brazilian’s point blank header was headed for the upper corner, but the AU net-minder made a spectacular save, just managing to tip the ball over the crossbar.
With just under 10 minutes to go, Real Maryland won a penalty following a foul by Ryan Baker. Ronald Cerritos stepped up to the spot. His cheeky chip beat the AU goalie, but came back off the crossbar.
Despite the loss, and the harsh words from Gonzalo, he says he felt the team played well and if they had taken their chances, the game would have had a very different outcome. Center-back Daryl Ferguson echoed his coach’s sentiments. “We played well. We just couldn’t finish. We had a few chances I think we should of put in but the goalie made a couple good saves,” the former DC United youth player said after the match. “As a team we played pretty well and I think preparation for Crystal Palace this week is a big step for us.”
Real Maryland will hit the training ground hard this week. Monday night’s session will be in the weight room and Tuesday- Thursday will be on the pitch, before Saturday’s pre-season match with Crystal Palace at the Monarchs’ new home, the Maryland SoccerPlex.
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