D.C. United end Cinderella run of Christos FC in U.S. Open Cup
D.C. United ended the Cinderella U.S. Open Cup run of tiny Christos FC with a 4-1 win over the amateur team sponsored by a local liquor store in front of 5,286 fans in Baltimore, Maryland.
But D.C. had to earn the win after the hosts got off to a dream start when Mamadou Kansaye scored from a curled free kick from 20 yards out for a 1-0 lead.
The visiting MLS club got back on level terms in the 35th minute when Julian Buescher struck with a left-footed shot from the middle of the penalty area following a Lamar Neagle corner kick.
Uhhhh the beer league guys just scored. Mayhem pic.twitter.com/lweUW2egqP
- Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) June 14, 2017
But with less than 10 minutes of regulation time remaining, the score was still level. D.C., who had fielded a reserve side in large part, were ultimately bailed out by substitutes Ian Harkes and Lloyd Sam, who came on in the 57th and 77th minutes, respectively.
Buescher set up Sam for the go-ahead goal and then returned the favor, assisting on the next goal, which Buescher scored to make it 3-1.
Harkes added a stoppage-time goal, with Buescher again assisting, to make it 4-1 and book passage to the fifth round.
Christos, which is made of several former UMBC players and rarely practices, said fatigue ultimately set in before the 90 minutes expired.
"These guys [United] train every day," co-coach Bryan Bugarin said, according to the Washington Post. "You can just tell we had tired legs at the end. We knew we could play, soccer-wise. It was, 'Hey, how long can we last, fitness-wise?'"
United coach Ben Olsen said he appreciated what Christos was able to do.
"As we grow as a soccer country, this is going to happen more and more -- better quality amateurs out there that can make these types of runs," he said, according to the Post. "What's great about the Open Cup is that these stories can happen."
But Olsen also said it's a difficult spot for a favorite to be in.
""It's a no-win situation," Olsen said. "Everyone's expecting us to win, and win big. I've got a lot of love for Baltimore. Their group should be very proud."