Palace win 2-1 at Real Maryland

Real Maryland Monarchs News Release -

Sunday, June 29, 2008

GERMANTOWN, MD -- Crystal Palace Baltimore have one hand gripped firmly on the DeOrsey Maryland Cup thanks to Sergio Flores’ 57th minute strike that clinched a 2-1 win over Real Maryland.

Cecil Lewis opened up proceedings for Baltimore in the 34th minute only for Nilson Perez to draw the Monarchs level two minutes later.

It was the home team that settled into the game the quickest with striker Ronald Cerritos playing the ball wide to Perez. The Columbian found Mateus Dos Anjos making an attacking run down the left-wing and lobbed the ball forward for the pacey midfielder to latch onto. The Palace defense was quick to spot the threat and a timely interception by Paul Robson soon halted the Brazilian’s chance.

Real Maryland kept trying to surge forward down the wing. In the 8th minute, defender Stephen Basso managed to beat his marker and make a speedy break of his own down the left-wing. His grounded shot just outside the 18-yard box was on target but Palace goalkeeper Brian Rowland read the play and managed to handle the ball.

Crystal Palace’s first real attempt on goal came in the 13th minute courtesy of Kevin King. The forward made a surging run down the center of the field and managed to get into a position where he was able to offload the ball with great force. Maryland goalkeeper Emilio Zelaya had no other option but to parry the shot downwards before smothering his body over the ball.

King’s attempt on goal was the first of many Palace attacks and Zelaya was kept busy thereafter. Unfortunately for the goalkeeper, Lewis found the back of the net after a strew of Maryland defensive errors in the 34th minute.

The midfielder made a run 25-yards from goal that managed to get past Monarch defenders Andy Kish and Marcos Chantel. Zelaya saw no other choice but to come out from his goal line to force a save but Lewis reacted quickest and struck the ball in between the posts.

Almost instantly the home team replied, scoring from a set play in the 36th minute. Angel Higuera’s corner kick from the left soared into Palace’s penalty area and found the head of Perez. Rowland did not have time to react as the striker’s effort went into the back of his net.

Both teams began the second half with the intention of scoring the winner and Palace substitute Valdemar Teixeira’s effort nearly did that for the visitors in the 50th minute. The Portuguese native was on the end of King’s cross and managed to control the ball while turning inside the box. He let out a blistering shot from 6 yards but Zelaya instinctively tipped it over his net.

The second goal for the Baltimore club came in the 57th minute courtesy of Flores’ strike. King’s initial run inside the 18-yard box managed to bring out Zelaya from his goal line. The goalkeeper’s decision allowed the Jamaican to quickly pass the ball on to the feet of the oncoming Flores, who struck the ball into the open goal.

The Monarchs tried to rally another equalizer and nearly succeeded in the 76th minute. Basso made a run from the back line before managing to flick the ball to Perez. The Columbian quickly saw substitute Teodoro Ramirez break free of his marker and lobbed it up field for the Salvadorian to connect with. The assistant referee ruled the play offside much to the dismay of the midfielder.

With the game just about over, the Monarchs nearly conceded a third goal if not for Ferguson’s last second clearance. King once again made a run down the right-wing and crossed the ball into the penalty area for substitute striker Matthew Mbuta. The Palace player decided to try his luck and shot for goal. Fortunately for the home side, Ferguson was able to intercept the ball and clear it away from the imposing danger.

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