Recap by Christian Taylor. Image by Chris Fincham.
It never stopped raining Saturday Night at Essex Stadium, turning the evening into a slick affair. This cold rainy night saw FC Baltimore Christos and Virginia Beach City FC square off in the opening match of the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Conference Season.
An early goal and a late goal were the two factors in this one. The first one came nearly 20 seconds into the start.
Roons fans were still piling into Essex Stadium when all of a sudden, they saw 1-0 on the scoreboard. Virginia Beach had gone up after Ezana Kahsay shockingly slipped past the defense.
Lightning struck again in two successive games for Baltimore. West Chester completed the same action on Tuesday scoring a minute after kick off. However, as what happened in that game, the defense settled down and did not allow another goal the rest of the way. Jake Dengler had a marvelous night, winning almost every challenge and proving to be a force to be reckoned with. Dengler, along with Kyle Saunderson, Jason Cyrus, and Malcolm Harris, made things pretty simple for their keeper. By the conclusion of the night, Casey Beyers only had one save.
Virginia Beach had a total of 6 shots, 4 of which were off target.
The visitors looked the better team in the first half, controlling the possession. Baltimore worked up a couple of opportunities, including a disallowed goal from Nick Gumbs, and a header steered wide by Khalid Balogun.
FCBC came out quick at the start of the 2nd period. Christian Coulson needed to be good, and he was, stopping a shot, point blank, in the 66th minute.
Coulson finished the night with 4 saves.
The lone goal for the Roons came in the 83rd minute. A smooth Tre Pulliam delivery found a streaking Nick Gumbs to equalize. Gumbs who had some bad luck earlier in the night, finally found the back of the net. Things were then even at 1.
A match between Virginia Beach and Baltimore would not be complete without a little bit of disciplinary fireworks. Four Yellow Cards were shown on the night, 3 of which were for FCBC. The exception for VBCFC was Ezana Kahsay for dissent with an official after a late challenge by Juan Pereira.
Kyle Saunderson picked up a yellow for a challenge inches away from the penalty box, and Joseph Glos was shown two yellows, thus earning a red card after being in the game for just under a half hour. Baltimore were down to ten men for three minutes until the final whistle.
Saturday’s match was an overall well fought fixture. Last season’s match at Essex Stadium was also 1-1, Virginia Beach scored the first goal, and Baltimore scored the equalizer.
These two teams next meet on Father’s Day, June 16th, down in Virginia Beach. Last season’s meetup at Hampton Roads resulted in a 5-2 goal fest. By the time both clubs matchup again, they will be in the prime of their seasons, with both squads gaining elusive chemistry that NPSL teams strive to have. It could well be another goal fest!
Man of the Match- Nick Gumbs– Nick could have had three goals on the evening. One was disallowed for offsides, and another was brilliantly saved by Christian Coulson. Not to mention, Gumbs played the full 90 minutes and did not seem tired for any of it. He will be an integral piece in this team moving forward.