Mariners Blast Charleston, 5-2
Virginia Beach, Va. Trailing Charleston for Open Cup qualifying by a two-goal deficit after a 3-1 loss two weeks ago, the Virginia Beach Mariners (4-1-0, 12 points) blasted the Battery 5-2 to seal an Open Cup berth 6-5 on aggregate score. The win also pulled the Mariners to within one point of Charleston (4-1-1, 13 points) for the lead in the A-Leagues Southeast Division. The Mariners now lead the league in goals scored with 14.
This was the first time the Battery has not qualified for Open Cup since 1998. The Mariners have qualified four of five times theyve entered the competition, winning berths in 1998, 2000, 2002 and now in 2003.
The match was even through the 31st minute with both teams unable to net their chances. But with 15 minutes left in the first half, Roland (Pato) Aguilera, assisted by Roy Lassiter, sent a low shot from left to right across the goal mouth fooling Charleston keeper Dusty Hudock who appeared to be screened. The half ended 1-0.
Three minutes into the second half, the Mariners scoring onslaught began. Virginia Beach doubled its lead when Aguilera sent a cross to Dante Washington who chipped it over Hudock for the first of his two straight goals. Just eight minutes later, an Aguilera corner kick to Hamisi Amani-Dove, was redirected by Dove to a waiting Washington who tapped it into the left corner. Virginia Beach was up 3-0. And three minutes after Washingtons score, it was again Aguileras turn when he sent a low drive into the net unassisted.
Now trailing by four goals in the match and two goals in the qualification series, Charleston fought to get back into the game tallying goals from substitutes Chris Goos in the 73rd minute and Steve Klein in the 88th.
Now the aggregate goals for qualifying were tied 4-4 and it appeared a shootout was inevitable, but Mariners defender Russell Hutchison had other ideas. Richard Mahoney sent an Aguilera free kick into the goalmouth. A frantic scramble for the ball ensued with Hutchison coming away with the score from six yards.
The Mariners now await their first Open Cup opponent who will be announced around June 1. All Open Cup qualifying matches must be completed by May 26.
The Mariners host two Canadian teams next weekend, taking on Montreal Saturday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Toronto May 26 at 5 p.m. at the Sportsplex.
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USL First Division Stories from May 18, 2003
- Mariners Blast Charleston, 5-2 - Virginia Beach Mariners
- Thunder Overcome Early Deficit, Earn 2-1 Overtime Victory, Advance in U.S. Open Cup - Minnesota Thunder
- Lynx Drop Third Straight - Toronto Lynx
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