Preview: Real Maryland v. Charlotte Eagles
By Matt Skinner
Real Maryland (3-6-0) are out to end USL-2 leaders Charlotte Eagles’ (7-1-2) four match unbeaten streak when they meet this Saturday at 7:30 PM at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
The Monarchs currently sit 7th in the table after some mixed results on the field this past weekend. The team began strongly on Friday night with a 3-2 win against Cosmopolitan League side New York Pancyprian Freedoms in the US Open Cup. With a 2nd round US Open Cup fixture against USL-1 side Carolina Railhawks to look forward to, the team honored their USL-2 commitments by traveling the following day to the Harrisburg City Islanders where they went down 4-0.
“It’s very difficult for any team to play twice in under 24 hours,” explains assistant first team and Super 20's coach Roger Fernandez on the defeat. “Our players were tired from their US Open Cup commitments and their fatigue was evident on the field. Harrisburg moved the ball around very well and were the better side”.
League leaders Charlotte arrive to the Maryland SoccerPlex having won both their opening US Open Cup fixture against the Clearwater Galactics 5-2, and their USL-2 encounter against the Western Mass Pioneers 2-1. In-form forward Dustin Swinehart scored twice for the Eagles on both occasions and is currently the USL-2's highest scorer this season with 9 goals in 10 appearances.
“Charlotte is a difficult team to beat and we will have to go into this game prepared,” head coach Silvino Gonzalo says cautiously. “They like to attack and we will have to defend very well to counter this. However, the Monarchs have been training hard this week and come Saturday we will be ready”.
Morale is high around the Maryland SoccerPlex and the Monarchs defenders know the task they must perform on Saturday against the North Carolina team.
“Charlotte is a very tough team - probably one of the best in the league,” states Real Maryland defender Stephen Basso. “But I think if we train hard this week we will get a good outcome Saturday night. Especially, since we’re playing at home.”
“They are the number one team at the moment,” continues defender Philippe Bissohong. “But we’re playing at home so we should be able to take care of business. I’m looking forward to the game.”
The two teams have never played each other and a win this Saturday could get Real Maryland’s season back on track. Supporters are encouraged to come out and witness what will be a thrilling match.
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