Preview: Real Maryland v. Cleveland City Stars
After two weeks on the road, Real Maryland (1-3-0) returns to the friendly confines of the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday night for a 7:30 showdown with the Cleveland City Stars (2-0-2).
It will be a tough test for the Monarchs, who fell to these same City Stars 4-0 last Saturday in Cleveland.
Head coach Silvino Gonzalo is still without defender Philippe Bissohong who will miss his second game with a knee injury. Captain Ronald Cerritos is also questionable with a foot injury and will be a game time decision.
The good news is that Devlin Barnes will return to the line-up after missing last week’s match through suspension.
Despite the 4-0 drubbing last week, Real Maryland remains confident and the players are adamant that they can get a different result this time around.
“We just need to play 90 minutes and not 45,” says midfielder Clint Loughner. “Last week we played pretty well in the first half, but in the second half we seemed like we were another team and Cleveland took advantage of that.”
After two road games, the Monarch players are excited to once again play in front of their home fans.
“Our energy is at home,” midfield maestro Muner Hassen said. “We feed off our fans so we’re excited to play. When you play at home the energy is on your side. It’s your home, your fans, your field, and you just feel more comfortable.”
Although it’s only game five, Saturday’s match is crucial for Real Maryland. Three points would not only move the Monarchs up the USL-2 table, but it would also put them on the verge of qualification for the US Open Cup.
If Real Maryland can possess the ball and deal with Cleveland’s smart running up top, then a different result from last week’s match could most certainly be in the cards.
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