Defeat Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks in PKs (4-2) after 2-2 Through AET
12/13/2015 - 6 PM - Long Bridge Park #1 (Arlington, VA)
The 7th Helge Boes Cup championship match took place on Sunday December 13th, 2015 pitting #1 seed Capital City FC against #3 seed Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks FC. Capital City’s road to the championship match was made possible by a gritty effort versus two-time defending Cup holders Yinz United that saw them notch an early goal and hold off Yinz for a 1-0 victory. The Hawks got the final by overcoming a 0-2 deficit in the first half and beating #2 seed Fighting BOBs 3-2 to secure their berth in the final. Capital City entered the championship match searching for their first WPL title. Finishing the the regular season with the top seed and boasting the league’s top defense, the team has made long strides since it first entered the Saturday First Division. The Hawks, a model of consistent quality over many years, were looking for their 10th league title and their second under the Helge Boes Cup format, last winning the trophy in the Spring 2014 season. As a historical reminder, the Helge Boes Cup was inaugurated in the Fall 2012 season as the mechanism to determine the WPL Premier Division Champion, while in prior seasons the regular season winner earned the title by default. The 8th edition of the Helge Boes Championship took place under the backdrop of these two teams’ histories and ambitions, and it did not disappoint.
On an uncharacteristically warm December evening at Long Bridge Park in Arlington, VA, the match kicked off with noisy celebration by a boisterous crowd of supporters. They would not have to wait long to have something to cheer about as the two sides exchanged a pair of early goals. The Hawks struck first in the 7th minute when U20 El Salvador National and DC United Academy product Bernardo Majano collected the ball on the right side of the penalty area and setup for what all expected to be a cross. Instead he fired a driven shot at the near post that beat the surprised Capital City goal keeper Jeremey Cooper to give the Hawks the early lead. Just two minutes later, Capital City equalized when midfielder Evan Chate penetrated on the left flank and found teammate Bash Bangura in the penalty area. Bangura wiggled his way through the tight Hawks press and fired a shot at close quarters which was blocked by Hawks netminder Robbie Batchelder, but the rebound found the foot of Bangura again and he was able to punch in the equalizer for Cap City.
In the 16th minute the Hawks had a good chance on the flanks when former DIII NCAA All-American center midfielder Lance Dotzmann fed a ball down the wing to Hawks winger Scott Larrabee. The former Georgetown Hoya standout and Hawks offensive MVP penetrated on the left flank and cut back to thread a ball across the penalty area to the foot of onrushing Hawks and former Ohio State Buckeye forward Parnell Hegngi whose shot narrowly missed into the outside netting. In the 19th minute, Capital City had a great chance off a dangerous long throw into the Hawks penalty area by midfielder and former Gannon University standout Evan Chate. Chate’s toss landed in the penalty area and a frenetic sequence saw Cap City almost capitalize on a point-blank shot on goal that was saved by Batchelder to preserve the score line. For the next 20 minutes of the first half, neither team could generate solid opportunities at net. Throughout the period, Capital City swarmed the ball defensively, clogged lanes, and frustrated the Hawks, who seemed unable to gain their rhythm on the ground. In the 42nd minute, a solid combination play saw veteran Hawks midfielder Watson Vaughan-Prather feed Lance Dotzmann for a blistering shot that was deflected inches wide of the left post. The Hawks found fortune in last minute of the first half on a free-kick from distance taken by defender Mateus Dos Anjos. Dos Anjos attempt on goal was low and hard, angling towards the outside of the far post. The distance of the shot allowed Scott Larrabee to break away from the wall, collect the driven ball in stride in the penalty area, and tuck it away past a stunned Capital City defense to put the Hawks up 2-1 at the break.
In the second half, the tempo of the match continued to be up and down but with Capital City slowly asserting themselves into the offensive third. The Hawks defended well and continued to garner chances on the counter attack. However, it was Capital City that would secure the equalizer off the counter attack in the 77th minute. Team captain and former Davis & Elkins standout Elvis Hedgi won the ball deep in the Capital City half, and played a long ball up to forward Bash Bangura. Bangura turned in a solid individual effort to win his one vs one battle, muscle off his defender, and fire past the onrushing Batchelder for the equalizer to the jubilation of the Cap City supporters. Energized by the tying goal, Capital City dominated the last 15 minutes of the second half. Victory looked certain for the Helge Boes debutantes late in stoppage time after a corner kick snap header was heading into the upper 90, only to be saved by Hawks defender Chris Hennings with a dramatic reverse bicycle kick. Deadlocked after 90 minutes of up and down soccer, both teams braced for 30 minutes of added extra time and a final push towards the trophy.
In the OT the Hawks surged and had more chances, but the Cap City backline held strong. In the 100th minute of the match, Cap City’s Jeremey Cooper came up with a big save off a Vaughan-Prather shot and the rebound was pushed narrowly wide by the Hawks’ Bernardo Majano. Capital City’s best chance in the OT period came at the 112th minute, when Bash Bangura found himself nicely positioned on the right side of the penalty area off the break, but his shot sailed high and wide. With both sides nearing exhaustion as the final whistle blew in the second OT period, the match headed to the penalty spot. As each side stood with arms linked in solidarity, the Hawks missed their first and fourth kicks, while Capital City converted all of their spot kicks. When the fourth Hawks kicker missed over the crossbar, the Capital City players swarmed Jeremey Cooper and the celebration of their first WPL Premier Division title began. Since the advent of the Helge Boes Cup in the Fall of 2012, only team had won more than one title (Yinz United – Fall 2014, Spring 2015). Capital City FC’s victory continued this tradition of league parity becoming the 6th team to hoist the trophy out of 7 installments of the Cup.
"Winning the regular season and then Helge Boes Cup were certainly 2 bucket list goals for the team. It is not an easy thing to do,and we are delighted to have done both." said Capital City manager Michael Bayard.
"The success this season is a testament to the commitment our guys showed to each other. Getting guys to show up on a regular basis and play at a consistent level is the biggest challenge an amateur team faces. We had both, and we showed improvement as the season went on. It wasn't without a few lucky breaks and we were fortunate in the regular season against Soccerdome and in both cup games to come away with results. The final was difficult and we came out a little nervous naturally, as debutantes to the cup final vs a team that thrives on the big stage. But down 2-1 in the second half, we pushed the opponent hard and played on their end until we got the equalizer in the last 15mins. From there, the nerves were settled and confidence restored and we finished strong and left no doubt in PK's as we scored on all of our spot kicks, only to watch 2 Hawks kickers miss the target entirely. The result means we are no longer the underdog. Teams will have respect for us, but also a strong motivation to beat us - like we did with Yinz and Hawks. It will only get more difficult from here and we want it no other way."
Chris Hennings, co-captain and newly minted manager of the Hawks, had this to say. "While we're obviously disappointed in the result, we want to congratulate Capital City on their achievment. The final was a good match and could have gone either way. It was a steep learning curve taking over the squad from longtime manager Jon Knight this season. We brought in a lot of new faces and while we are disappointed in not winning our 10th league title and dropping out of the US Open Cup earlier than we'd like, we know we will improve. We have a great organization and a proud tradition and we'll be back stronger next season."
2015 Fall Helge Boes Cup Final - Box Score
7' - Aegean Hawks - Bernardo Majano (Vaughan-Prather)
9' - Capital City - Bash Bangura (unassisted)
44' - Aegean Hawks - Scott Larrabee (Mateus Dos Anjos)
77' - Capital City - Bash Bangura (Elvis Hedgi)
Round 1: Hawks - Scott Larrabee (missed); Cap City - Evan Chate (made)
Round 2: Hawks - Watson Prather (made): Cap City - Sam Post (made)
Round 3: Hawks - Parnell Hegngi (made); Cap City - Kendall Herring (made)
Round 4: Hawks - Chris Hennings (missed); Cap City - Jaryd Spann (made)