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Christos’ Cup run ends with standing ovation

I had the opportunity to go to the Christos FC vs. DC United US Open Cup game as a credentialed member of the media. But I didn’t want to. I went as a fan of Baltimore soccer. I went down to the game on a luxury fan bus that left from DeSantis’ Pizza Grill & Bar in Perry Hall. I had on my neon-green Christos FC t-shirt that on the front proudly proclaims “Christos ‘Til I Die” and on the back has the list of ever person who ever played for the amateur club team.

It was impossible not to get caught up in the fan frenzy of Christos FC during their incredible US Open Cup run. They showed the grit and heart and determination that nobody expected any less of when they took on the top-flight professionals of DC United, which have won three US Open Cups, most recently in 2013.

By the end of the game, the final score was the expected result – a 4-1 DC United victory. But the road there was for expected, and the game was far closer than that final score would indicate. Christos FC never lacked any confidence when they were getting ready for DC United, but also never felt any pressure. DC United was supposed to blow them out, but the game was a remarkably close game despite the final score.

In the 23rd minute, Mamadou Kansaye booted in a direct free kick into the top right corner of the goal past DC United goalkeeper Travis Worra. The crowd erupted, and Christos’ entire team bolted to a large group of their fans near the corner flag behind the goal to celebrate going ahead 1-0.

There were over 5,200 people at the game, easily more than half were there to cheer for their ragtag team of Baltimore players, who never practice but don’t lose very often.

Ten minutes later DC United midfielder Julian Büscher tied the game with a low-lying shot inside the post.

But Christos FC hung level with the pros until the final minutes of the match. And looking at the final numbers of 74-percent possession to DC United to Christos FC’s 26-percent, and the Black-and-Red’s 30-7 shot advantage, it was an amazing accomplishment to be level into the final 10 minutes of the game.

Peter Caringi III re-aggravated a hamstring injury in the first half and had to be pulled out of the game in the 38th minute. After that, DC United man-marked Levi Houapeu and never allowed Christos FC to create good offensive pushes. They did have some chances but were just stuck on the defensive end of the field most of the second half.

In the 81st minute, Büscher passed the ball over to DC United substitute Lloyd Sam for their second goals of the game. DC United only made the game seem like a blowout after two goals in the final moments of the game. Lloyd returned the favor to Büscher in the 90th minute, and then in the last second of stoppage time, Büscher passes to Ian Harkes, son of former US national team captain John Harkes. After that goal, the final whistle sounded. It was a loss for Christos FC, but they still received a standing ovation, both from the crowd DC United’s team.

While their miracle run into the fourth round of the US Open Cup has ended, and while they won’t be lifting the big trophy at the end of it, they were the huge winners of the tournament.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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