Fredericksburg Gunners hold key to the Open Cup
It’s hard to say what’s more difficult. Finishing qualifying with a perfect 4-0-0 record, or having to wait until the end of the weekend to find out if you’re officially in the U.S. Open Cup or not?
After a 1-0 win over the Richmond Kickers Future on Friday night, waiting is now the name of the game as Barons fans will have to wait on the results of both Fredericksburg Gunners matches from the weekend to find out if the club will make it’s third Open Cup appearance in four years. Sean Boyle’s bending free kick to the far post found the head of Byron Carmichael in the second minute of play, to give the Men in Red the early advantage. It was the team-leading third assist for Boyle, who was among the best players on the field for the Barons. Carmichael’s goal, his second of the year and 28th of his Ocean City career, brings him within nine goals of becoming the club’s all-time leading goal scorer (Ruben Mingo - 36 goals).
The Carmichael header would prove to be the only score they would need as the Barons defense was able to keep Richmond’s offense in check for most of the evening. The backline of Jim Davis (LaSalle), Joe Banks (Drexel), Adam Ennis (Limestone College), and Ryan Heins (Temple) were solid from start to finish and helped Adam Edwards (Bucknell) make four saves to earn his third clean sheet of the season.
Andrew Dykstra was without question the man of the match for Richmond, making 11 saves, some of them could be described as spectacular. He came off his line to prevent several Ocean City attacks throughout the game.
The first result that Barons fans will be waiting for is on Sunday night when the Fredericksburg Gunners (2-0-0) host the Reading Rage at 6:00 p.m. Their final qualifier is on Monday afternoon when they travel to Richmond for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff. If the Gunners win both games, then the Open Cup spot will come down a tiebreaker. However, if the expansion team earns a draw or loses either game, then the Barons will clinch and it will only be a matter of which professional team they will face in the first round of the tournament.
The Barons next three games are on the road, with the next match on Sunday, June 3 at the Hampton Road Piranhas. The next home game at Carey Stadium is Saturday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. against the West Virginia Chaos. For more information about the Ocean City Barons, visit the club’s official website at www.ocbarons.com. To learn more about the U.S. Open Cup, visit www.usopencup.com.