Preview: Real Maryland v. Western Mass
Finally, FINALLY, the season is here! Real Maryland plays its inaugural USL-2 match against the Western Mass Pioneers, Sunday at 4:00 PM at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Real Maryland comes off a solid pre-season in which the team finished 3-1-1 including a win against USL-2 and in state foe Crystal Palace Baltimore.
“Preseason was very successful,” head coach Silvino Gonzalo recollects. “But you’re always happy to finish preseason and start with the season because that’s what you’ve been working towards”
Gonzalo believes his team is ready for Sunday’s test, but jokes that Western Mass may be just as prepared as his squad. “I think we are ready, but I suppose the other team is ready to. So we will see who is more ready on Sunday.”
Real Maryland comes into their home opener relatively healthy with the only injury concerns surrounding Angel Higueras who badly sprained his ankle against Crystal Palace and Bairon Ferrufino who has missed the last few weeks with a knee injury.
For Gonzalo and his charges, the only thing left to do is watch the clock. “We are ready to go. We are just waiting for 4:00 PM on Sunday. That’s all were waiting for.
2 Real Maryland Players to Watch
Brazilian forward Dangelo Da Silva is coach Gonzalo’s first attacking option off the bench. Da Silva is a clever target man who is very good at checking back the ball, holding it up, and bringing other players into the attack. In addition to his target play, Da Silva makes clever runs to create shooting opportunities for himself and once in front of goal, the Brazilian marksman has loads of confidence.
Midfielder, Jose Maldonado or Pepe as he is referred to by his teammates, is a smart midfielder who almost always makes the right pass. Pepe plays quick, with purpose, and as he showed against UMBC, has a shot that packs a lot of venom.
Western Massachusetts Pioneers
The Western Massachusetts Pioneers enters its 11th season in USL-2. The Ludlow, Massachusetts based club finished in 6th place last season with a record of 7-7-6.
New head coach Leszek Wrona returns this year for his third stint in charge of the club. Wrona was the organizations first ever head coach and has been with the team for six of its 10 previous seasons. The Pioneers’ only USL-2 title came under his guidance in 1999.
Western Mass opens its season in Richmond against the Kickers tomorrow night, before traveling to Germantown to face the Monarchs.
2 Western Mass Players to Watch
Pioneers forward Jeff Daren finished last season tied for fourth in the league with 16 points from 20 games. Number 13 scored seven goals and served up two helpers along the way.
Brazilian #10, Everson Maciel likes to pull the trigger. The midfielder registered 37 shots in 19 games played last year. The Real Maryland defense will need to close him down quickly every time he gets the ball, or else he will not hesitate to try his luck.
Check realmaryland.us Monday morning for the full match report!
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