US Open Cup Qualifying Region 3 Matchday 2: Seeing Red

23 May 2009

The last 24 hours have been very interesting at Casa de Third Half. After being hell bent on getting out to the Region 3 US Open Cup qualifying, I was unable to attend Friday. Then a conversation with Chief Editor Jeffrey Hash made Friday night even more fun.

With him linking me to the US Open Cup page on the Region 3 qualifiers, I noticed one major difference to my plans. I had already printed my Google Maps directions to get out to Eagle Harbor Soccer Club, so to say when I saw the venue on the page as Fruit Cove Middle School was a minor shock. Making a judgment call, I decided to call Kim Bowen to confirm the switch. My guess is she saw an unusual number and then threw her phone in disgust. An email later, I was breaking out a new set of directions.

To set up the greater Jacksonville area weather the past week would take forever, so here's the cliff notes version. The meteorologists are calling it a nor'easter, I call BS on that. This week has felt like a constant tropical depression, at times tropical storm. The area has had more rain than we got with Tropical Storm Fay last season, in plenty of areas by more than foot. That turned Eagle Harbor Soccer Club into the largest Olympic swimming pool, and the reason a new field was needed. With Fruit Cove Middle School having a full size pitch for use, and bone dry, the US Open Cup matches were switched.

Enough about the back story, onto the matches on offer. The first match up saw Rocket City United take on Legends FC. About five minutes into the match, you guessed it, the floodgates opened wide. It stayed that way for what seemed like half an hour. Once the rain stopped, one Rocket City player lost his breakfast which prompted the assistant referee to look at me and the gentleman I was sitting next to and go 'remind me not to step there'. Rocket City controlled the first half, but their keeper denying a goal scoring opportunity led to Legends FC winning 1-0, Rocket City ending on 10 players.

The second game was virtually meaningless. Atlanta FC was taking on Dynamo New Tampa. It was 4-0 at HT that I got involved in a rather interesting conversation. Finally getting a chance to meet Kim Bowen, someone from Atlanta FC came over and asked if the game would mean anything due to the protest filed yesterday that Dynamo was fielding an illegible player. All that was said was 'the game will revert to 3-0' and the meeting was left at that. It didn't matter to Atlanta FC, they ran out 8-0 winners. Dynamo tonight was thrown out of the tourney.

The final game of the day saw Pumas FC play Baton Rouge Classics. Baton Rouge fought hard in the first half, but once going down 1-0, the wheels came off badly. A red card for serious foul play before halftime didn't help matters. A red card for a defender thinking he was Paul Scholes made the scoreline 2-0. A quick third for Pumas turned to a fourth as the Baton Rouge keeper was then ejected for shoulder charging a Pumas player in the gut and the penalty converted. While Baton Rouge can cry about ending on eight players, the referee got each call correct. Full time result, Pumas FC 4 Baton Rouge Classics 0.

Sunday makes for an interesting day. In group 1, Lynch's FC needs to win by more than 4 goals to advance through. If Lynch's FC wins 4-0, then a coin flip between them and Pumas FC will decide who advances. If Lynch's see Baton Rouge score, then a four goal victory will see them advance based on goals scored.

Group 2 is even more exciting. if Rocket City United beats Atlanta FC 1-0, we have a three way tie at the top of the standings. If that is the case, a coin flip will decide who advances. How they decide the order of coin flips, don't ask me. If Rocket City wins by more than 2 goals, they will advance. All Atlanta FC needs is a draw.

On the whole it was a fun day out. A special thanks has to go to Kim Bowen for being very prompt in her emails back to me. Now if the weather would only cooperate.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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