Improved ratings for Real show

Montgomery's pro soccer team thriving in sophomore season

Dan Greenberg | Staff Writer


The scene at Richard Montgomery High on Sunday was what Real Maryland F.C. has wanted all along: picturesque summer skies, hours of soccer, and most importantly, overwhelming community support.

It never happened last year.

But year two for Montgomery County's first ever professional soccer team has proven a monumental upgrade. This weekend was evidence; on Saturday, the Monarchs topped the Richmond Kickers, 1-0, to move into third place United Soccer League-Second Division standings. At 5-4, they have already bettered last season's three-win total, which included 15 losses and a last-place finish.

Not 24 hours later, Real Maryland returned to Lester Field to host Verizon Wireless' fourth annual youth soccer clinic, conducting soccer drills with youths aged 6-17. The main attraction was the guest of honor, Colombian soccer legend Carlos "El Pibé" Valderrama, who signed autographs for thousands of spectators at the end of the day's festivities.

"He's a ‘G'," said David Ramirez of Gaithersburg, 14. "He played against Pelé. He's one of the best Colombian players ever."

"The best ever," added friend Johann Mojica of Gaithersburg, 17. "El Pibé was the man."

Many of Sunday's spectators witnessed the Monarchs' latest victory, earned when striker Lucio Gonzaga headed midfielder Ryan Cordeiro's cross off a defender and into goal in the game's 47th minute.

It was the second straight 1-0 decision for Real Maryland, the other coming in Tuesday's victory over the Washington Premier League's Aegean Hawks in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament. They faced the USL-Developmental League's Ocean City (N.J.) Barons in Tuesday's second round, which ended too late to be included in this edition. A win would allow the Monarchs to host D.C. United on the following Tuesday.

These are exciting times to be a Real fan.

"We're doing real well," said first-year head coach Anthony Hudson. "We're showing a great bit of potential. The games we've lost have really all been because of injuries.


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