The Tartan Devils Oak Avalon wouldn’t be denied this time around.
In its previous two appearances in U.S. Open Qualifying, the Greater Pittsburgh Soccer League’s Tartan Devils Oak Avalon failed to advance with disappointing losses to Rochester Lancers.
On Sunday, the Tartan Devils got back on the winning track in Open Cup qualifying, beating Steel Pulse FC (MD), 3-2, on a stifling hot Sunday afternoon in Maryland.
The Tartan Devils stuck to its game plan, waiting for counter opportunities, and as the first half continued, started to build on its chances. Eventually, the Tartan Devils broke through with two goals late in the first half to storm to a 2-0 lead.
Tartan Devils’ center forward Greg Annon, in particular, created havoc up front for much of the match, terrorizing Steel Pulse’s back line. Annon’s persistence paid off when he scored first in the 44th minute.
Just a minute later, midfielder Marcelo Vasquez Casas hit right back with another goal to give the Tartan Devils the lead in the dying moments of the half.
Eventually, with its younger opponents pushing for the equalizer, the GSPL’s top dogs pulled ahead by two goals when its only sub Jacob Thiel finished on his opportunity in the 85th minute.
Overall, TDFC were defensively solid, needing bailing out by newcomer, and former Robert Morris/Quaker Valley keeper Winter Fondi a few times.
Steel Pulse made it interesting with an additional goal in the 88th minute, but the Tartan Devils closed the deal, returning back to Pittsburgh with its first Open Cup win since 2017 when it made an unprecedented run to the second round of the proper tournament.
The Tartan Devils will now wait for the second round of qualifying drawing to take place this week. They’re joined by fellow GPSL squad, Steel FC in the second round, after Steel FC won its opening round match on Saturday evening.
The second round matches will be played on either October 19 or 20. There’s a chance that the GPSL clubs could face each other.