Preview: the DeOrsey Cup
Saturday will be a day of “firsts” for Real Maryland when it takes on in-state foe Crystal Palace Baltimore in a pre-season exhibition, 6:00 PM at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
The match is a historic event in Monarchs’ history. It will not only be Real Maryland’s first match against a USL opponent, but it will also be the first match at the Monarch’s 2008 official home, the Maryland SoccerPlex.
In addition, it will be the first “Derby”- a match played by two rival teams often coming from the same area such as a city or state, i.e. Roma v. Lazio (both from Rome), AC Milan v. Inter Milan, River Plate v. Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires, or Celtic v. Rangers in Glasgow, Scotland.
It will also be the first time these two teams are presented with the DeOrsey Cup, a trophy they will fight for during the regular season. The DeOrsey cup was established by Real Maryland and Crystal Palace Baltimore in memory of Matt DeOrsey, a former USL player with the Delaware Wizards who died suddenly at the age of 30. DeOrsey grew up playing soccer in Montgomery County for the Potomac Alliance, Middletown High School in Fredrick, and Towson University. Tickets for the match are $5 and all proceeds go to the DeOrsey family.
“I’m very thankful that Real Maryland has agreed to do this competition in honor of my good friend,” said Crystal Palace President and Co-Manager Pete Medd in a phone interview yesterday. Medd and DeOrsey were teammates at Middletown high school and Towson University. “It’s just a great thing that his name can live on through this competition and hopefully we do it justice.” Medd said DeOrsey’s parents and stepson will be in attendance tomorrow.
On the field, both teams are gearing up for a test that should provide a good indication of where each team stands in their pre-season preparations for the upcoming USL-2 Season.
“It’s a big test for the whole team and the individuals on the team who haven’t played in a pro game before,” said left-back Stephen Basso, referring to the many Monarch players who have never played at the professional level. “It’s going to be a big wake up call whether we do well or not.”
After three games against college teams, the Real Maryland players know that they face a different game tomorrow evening as they step into the USL ranks. “The pace is going to be a lot quicker,” noted striker William Brindley speaking before last night’s practice. “It will be a good opening friendly for us to see how we match up.”
Coach Silvino Gonzalo echoes his players’ sentiments. “Tomorrow is very important for us,” Gonzalo said yesterday before heading out into the pouring rain to run the Monarchs’ practice. “We’ve been practicing for a while. Now we have to measure up and see how we do against those guys.”
Gonzalo remains calm despite the fact that Real Maryland has only scored two goals in its first three pre-season games. “I’m not worried about it. We need to start working on it yes, but I’m not worried. We have players who are capable of putting the ball into the net.”
2 Real Maryland Players to Watch
New signing Foday Kamara is a versatile player who can play in many positions. Kamara has great technique, is strong on the ball, and calm under pressure. Gonzalo may play Kamara in the middle, but he can also drift out to the wings where he is more than capable of providing quality service for the frontmen.
In Wednesday night’s fitness session, Harold Peña was lengths ahead of his teammates. Peña is not only fast, but has a bag of tricks and does not shy away from taking his man on.
Crystal Palace Baltimore
Crystal Palace Baltimore heads into the match fresh off a 1-0 victory on Wednesday over UMBC. Palace has a lot of players carrying slight knocks and was down five starters for Wednesday’s scrimmage. Palace has played pre-season matches against UMBC, Loyola, Towson, Mount St. Mary’s and the Navel Academy, but unlike Real Maryland, they have already had some USL-2 match practice, a 2-1 win in a scrimmage over the Harrisburg City Islanders.
Co-Manager Pete Medd is very happy with his team’s preparations for the upcoming season. “We are light years ahead of where we were at this time last year,” Medd said yesterday. “I know what Real Maryland is going through as far as forming a team from scratch. It’s a very difficult process and we are pleased that our team has been selected for four weeks and are working on fitness and tactics rather than trying to figure out whose playing. We feel that is going to be a big advantage come opening day.”
Medd is excited by the opportunity tomorrow’s match offers both squads. “This will be the closest thing so far to a real match situation. Hopefully there will be a good crowd supporting a good cause. Real Maryland will want to win in its new stadium and we want to win, so it will be a real good match and a good way to see where both teams stand at this point.”
2 Crystal Palace Baltimore Players to Watch
Palace forward Gary Brooks finished fourth in the league last year in scoring with a staggering 16 points (7 goals) in only nine games played. Look for him to be a thorn in the side of the Monarch’s back line.
Shintaro Harada was eighth in the league last year in minutes played with 1,755 minutes logged over 20 games.
CLEARIFICATION OF THE “DeOrsey Cup”
There was some confusion as to what the DeOrsey cup is. The DeOrsey Cup is a trophy that will be awarded to the team who wins the overall battle between Real Maryland and Crystal Palace’s two regular season games.
Example: If Real Maryland loses the first match on June 29th 1-0, but wins 3-0 in the return match on July 31, then they will be presented with the DeOrsey Cup on the back of a 3-1 aggregate victory.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said an enthusiastic Medd. “Hopefully the fans get behind it. The more supporter involvement, the better. This can help motivate a friendly rivalry between these two teams and it helps the profile of the two teams as well. I think it’s important that USL [United Soccer League] models itself after successful world leagues where these cups and competitions within competitions are successful. It’s not really an American concept, but it’s important for the fans to get behind their team and cheer for them.”
Therefore, the DeOrsey Cup will be announced tomorrow, but tomorrow’s victor will not take home the spoils.
*** Game time is at 6:00 PM at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Tickets are $5 and all proceeds will go to the DeOrsey family. Both Real Maryland and Crystal Palace Baltimore would like to thank the SoccerPlex for donating the Stadium field for tomorrow’s event.
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