The Battle for First Place continued in the Mid-Atlantic Conference Wednesday night as FC Baltimore traveled to Frederick for the Maryland Derby. FC Frederick had just come off a 3-0 win over Virginia Beach and were breathing right down FC Baltimore’s necks. A win would put FC Frederick in first place, however FC Baltimore had other plans.
The club started off the game hot, generating multiple opportunities, but Frederick were able to steer them off and survive the first wave of attacks. Not many chances were created until late in the first half. Jacob Gosselin found himself 1 v 1 against keeper Quantrell Jones after a defensive breakdown. Quantrell Jones made himself big, stuck out his right foot, and earned a corner. FC Frederick would not earn a better chance on the evening.
FC Baltimore were able to keep it 0-0 headed into the break. The second half rolled along and the club needed a spark, cue Tre Pulliam. The UMBC striker entered in the 55th minute and began to apply a bit of pressure on the Frederick back line. In the 75th minute, Jade Mesias stood over a free kick nearly 35 yards out. Instead of trying to lob a ball into the penalty box, he shot toward a wide open right side of the net. Goalkeeper Phil Breno saved it just in the nick of time, earning a corner for FC Baltimore.
Mesias, who is also the main corner taker, placed a ball to Defenseman Jake Dengler inside the box, who headed it down to a waiting Tre Pulliam to poke it in. FC Baltimore led 1-0 in the 78th minute. The visitors were able to see out the remaining minutes and claim the 3 points for the 4th consecutive week.
“It’s as big as it gets. Frederick was as hot as anyone in the league. They were climbing the table,” Coach Quaranta said after the game, “they had a lot of desire to get the game, and we battled and played well, and found a way to take it in the second half, and I’m really proud of the result.”
With Frederick’s loss, the race for third is wide open. FC Frederick, Charlottesville Alliance, and Virginia Beach City all have a true chance to pick up a playoff berth. FC Baltimore, however could clinch a spot in the Mid-Atlantic Conference Playoffs with a win Friday at home against Legacy 76. FCB defeated the last place side 6-1 last time out in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Coach Quaranta speaks about the upcoming match; “It’s a quick turnaround. Mentally and physically, we have 48 hours to get ready to play again. We’ve got a team coming in that is hungry for points, and we’ve got to replicate today’s performance or even play better to get the result Friday.”
Man of the Match: Quantrell Jones- Goalkeeper- Jones has picked up 3 clean sheets in his last 4 starts and has been a big difference maker in this 5 match unbeaten streak. Jones made the game’s best save against striker Jacob Gosselin during a 1 on 1. FC Frederick were not able to find the back of the net for 90 minutes and Jones had answers for whatever the home team threw at him.