Preview: Real Maryland v. NY Pancyprian Freedoms
US Open Cup: Round 1 Replay
Friday night, Real Maryland will take part in its first ever US Open Cup match when it hosts the NY Pancyprian Freedoms in first round action at 8:00 PM at the Maryland SoccerPlex after the original game was postponed due to weather conditions on Tuesday night.
Following a 2-1 loss to Cleveland on Sunday in USL-2, the Monarchs know that there is no room for error as the US Open Cup is a single elimination tournament.
The Freedoms, an Astoria, New York based side, is an amateur team, but can not be taken lightly. The Freedoms play in the very competitive Cosmopolitan League in New York and boast quality players including a group of NCAA Division I players, former MLS man Jeff Matteo, and Julio Dos Santos, who once dawned the shirt of famous Brazilian side Vasco De Gama.
The Freedoms were once part of the USL D3 Pro League and lifted the US Open Cup in 1980, 1982 and 1983. Heading into the tournament’s 95th addition, the Freedoms are the last team to have won consecutive US Open Cups.
“Tonight is a very important match for us,” Real Maryland head coach Silvino Gonzalo said. “The Pancyprians are a very good team with a lot of experienced players from both South America and Europe. We may be favored, but it is not going to be an easy game.”
With the game being rescheduled, the Monarchs now have to play two games in two days as they travel to Harrisburg on Saturday for a league match.
“It’s going to be difficult playing two games in a row,” said Gonzalo, but he gave no indication that it would alter the team’s plans heading into Friday’s contest.
Real Maryland will be without the services of central defender Daryl Ferguson who is away on national team duty with Barbados, but new signings Mateus Dos Anjos and Andy Kish are both eligible for tonight’s match giving Gonzalo plenty of options in defense.
The winner of the first round contest will face the Carolina Railhawks of USL-1 in Cary, North Carolina in the second round on June 24th, where the winner will then move on to play the Kansas City Wizards of MLS..
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