Will host Harrisburg City Islanders in Open Cup second round for the right to play an MLS team
The Ocean City Barons advanced to the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 1-0 upset of the USL Second Division’s Crystal Palace Baltimore. Byron Carmichael scored the lone goal just before halftime on an assist by Sean Boyle while Adam Edwards made eight saves for his fifth straight shutout in all competitions.
The Barons will host a second round match against the Harrisburg City Islanders from the USL Second Division on June 26 at 7:30 p.m. The winner of that match will play a team from Major League Soccer in round three.
Very little separated the two sides in the opening twenty minutes of a match that would get more physical as the night went on. In the 12th minute, Adam Sternberger missed a golden chance on a cross that landed at his feet, but he wasn’t able to get any power behind the shot and it was saved by Palace goalkeeper Brian Rowland.
The match completely changed in the 22nd minute when Harold Urquijo, Baltimore’s Colombian youth international, was shown a straight red card after delivering an elbow to the head of Barons defender Adam Ennis. Down a man, Crystal Palace continued to put pressure on the Barons’ defense, which has only allowed one goal in their first six league matches.
It looked as though Palace were going to get through the first half unscathed until Boyle delivered a pass to Carmichael at the top of the 18-yard box. The veteran striker turned quickly and toe-poked the ball past a diving Rowland to give the Barons a 1-0 lead in the 45th minute.
Crystal Palace continued to press, and rarely looked like a team playing with 10 men. Their best chance came in the 73rd minute when second-half sub Larry Mark streaked down the right wing and found space to cross the ball. The cross found the feet of Sergio Flores at the 6-yard box at the center of the goal, but he mishit the ball and sent it wide.
Another substitute provided a spark for Baltimore as Andrew Herman battled in the penalty area with Ryan Heins, and eventually broke free and raced up the touchline. He made a move back to his left foot to avoid another defender and fired a shot at point blank range, but it found only the side netting.
The physical play in the second half reached a boiling point in stoppage time when Flores attacked Ocean City’s Neil Holloway and was sent off.
Holloway, the team’s general manager who laces up his boots on occasion, played the last 15 minutes and helped preserve the win.
"It was a very professional performance by the Barons tonight," Holloway said. "The Open Cup is a very special competition for us, and we’re hoping that the magic of the Cup is on our side this year. Now we’re just 90 minutes away from playing an MLS team."
Seven yellow cards were shown to Ocean City players, compared to a pair of red cards and two yellow cards for the visitors.
The Barons remain unbeaten in all competitions at 6-0-1 and will look to continue their momentum into this weekend’s league match at home against the West Virginia Chaos. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Carey Stadium.