For 81 minutes, these average Joes had America’s soccer world turned upside down.
Christos FC, an amateur soccer team from Maryland, shouldn’t have made it to the fourth round of the US Open Cup — so named because it is “open” to teams from every level of competition, from MLS down to your local beer league — but somehow they did. Sponsored by a discount liquor store, Christos is essentially a pub team made up of former collegiate or low-level professional players who don’t have time to train like pros because, well, they have day jobs — including a plumber, an X-ray technician and a sales manager, the Washington Post reported.
But Christos FC is one of the country’s most successful amateur teams, running off a 50-game win streak before it was snapped in April. And after a few upsets against lower-tier professional clubs, Christos FC had the chance Tuesday night to be the first amateur team to make it past the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup since 1996.
They just had to face D.C. United, four-time MLS Cup winners.
And Christos FC, sporting lime-green jerseys, miraculously took the early lead when Mamadou Kansaye bent a free kick past D.C. United goalkeeper Travis Worra in the 23rd minute.
Fans streamed down the hill behind the goal to mob Kansaye and teammates at the corner flag.
Their lead only lasted 12 minutes, but Christos FC preserved the 1-1 tie until the 81st minute. D.C. United, currently last in the Eastern Conference (15 points), needed to bring on some of their regular starters, such as Lloyd Sam and Ian Harkes, to slip past the tired side of amateurs and spare themselves from embarrassment. Their would-be night off ruined, Sam and Harkes scored two of D.C. United’s three goals after the 81st minute to beat Christos FC, 4-1.
“These guys train every day,” Christos co-coach Bryan Bugarin told the Washington Post after the match. “You can just tell we had tired legs at the end. We knew we could play, soccer-wise. It was, ‘Hey, how long can we last, fitness-wise?’ ”