Fifteen years ago in August of 2005 Maryland Majors side Baltimore Colts FC lifted the USASA National Open Cup championship in Frisco, Texas after defeating Illinois and mid-west (Region II) champion AAC Eagles in the championship game 5-2. This national championship was the highlight of a many highlights of a club that was consistently one of the best in the country for the 2000's.
Founded in 1998 by Frank Assaro, Jr., the Baltimore Colts FC would come to be one of the premier top teams in the country for most of the 2000's. With the support of many including his father Frank Assaro, Sr., the Colts attracted the top players in greater Baltimore.
Here we look back at the 2004-2005 Baltimore Colts FC who finished the 2004-05 seasonal year with a combined record in all competitions of 25-6-1 (W-L-D) and lifted five trophies including the fall 2004 Maryland Majors, 2005 Maryland State Rowland Cup, Maryland Qualifier for USASA National Open, Region I Open Cup, and the 2005 USASA National Open Cup.
The seasonal year started with a fiercely competitive Maryland Majors where the Colts finished in second place after the regular season with a 8-2-1, 25 pts and would go on to lift the Fritz Steffen Championship trophy winning the play-offs.
|Baltimore Bays Christos||9||1||1||28|
|Baltimore Colts FC||8||2||1||25|
|CFC NC Nevins||8||3||0||24|
In the play-offs, the Colts received a first round bye as the #2 seed. In the semi-finals they defeated CFC Nevins. In the other semi-finals, Allied SC defeated Baltimore Bays Christos to queue up a championship match of Baltimore Colts FC versus Allied SC. The Colts FC -Allied SC rivalry was intense from 2003 - 2007 and was particularly intense in 2004-2005 as the teams played 6 times during the seasonal year. Allied SC in fact finished 2005 almost as impressively winning the Stewart State Cup, Maryland Amateur Cup, Region I Amateur Cup, and lost in National Amateur Cup Championship game to Washington Hibernian Saints from Seattle, WA 2-1 to finish as the National Runner-Up. In the fall 2004 Maryland Majors championship game, the Colts would prevail over Allied SC 2-0.
The Colts road to the National Open Cup championship began by winning the Maryland Open Cup qualifier. Back in 2005, Maryland ran separate national cup qualifiers distinct from the Maryland State Cups (Rowland and Stewart). Starting in 2012, Maryland State Soccer Association consolidated the events so the Rowland Cup would serve as the qualifier for the USASA National Open Cup and the Stewart Cup would serve as the qualifier for the USASA National Amateur Cup. So in 2005, the Baltimore Colts FC competed in four State Cup competitions winning both the Rowland Cup and the Maryland National Open Cup qualifiers.
The Colts Maryland National Open Cup qualifier campaign started with a semi-final against rival Allied SC. where the Colts prevailed 3-1. In the Maryland Open Cup final the Colts played Maryland Major foe Jerry D's and won 5-2. With this win, the Colts advanced to Region I play.
Regional I play began with a quarterfinal match up against the Ukranian Nationals from Eastern Pennsylvania who hail from the strong United Soccer League of PA. The Colts defeated the Philadelphia side by a score of 4-1 to advance to the Regional semi-finals where they would face Perth Amboy ZPA from New Jersey. The Colts defeated the Garden State side by a score of 4-2 to advance to the Regional Final to be hosted at the United German Hungarian Club in Pennsylvania against the powerful champion of the Cosmopolitan League NY Greek American Atlas. In a tight Regional championship match, the Colts prevailed 2-1 to win the Regional Open Cup title and qualify for the National Semi-Finals.
The 2005 USASA National Cup Finals were held at the home of MLS side FC Dallas in Frisco, TX. The Colts would travel from Baltimore to compete in the National Open Cup semi-finals along with their rival Allied SC who won the USASA Region I Amateur Cup. Two clubs from the Maryland Majors would both be competing for national championships on this August weekend in Texas.
The four national semi-finalist for the USASA National Open Cup were:
Region 1 - Baltimore Colts FC (Maryland/Maryland Major Soccer League)
Region 2 - AAC Eagles (Illinois/Metropolitan Soccer League - Chicago)
Region 3 - Dallas Azzuri (Texas North)
Region IV - Sonoma County Sol (California/NPSL)
In the national semi-finals, the Colts squared off against the Region III champion and home side Dallas Azurri. After a scoreless first half, Pat Healy opened up the scoring in the second half as the Colts broke the match open to win 4-0. In the national finals, the Colts faced historic club AAC Eagles from Illinois who have been around since 1940 and who lifted the National Amateur Cup in 1989 and the US Open Cup in 1990. The AAC Eagles advanced to the final defeating NPSL champion Sonoma Sol by a score of 2-1. In the finals, the Colts jumped out to a 2-0 halftime lead, but the Chicago champion bounced back to equalize. The Colts then flexed their muscles scoring 3 straight in the championship match prevailing 5-2 to win the National Open Cup Championship.
Despite much State and Regional success with clubs advancing to national finals, national semi-finals, and national quarterfinals, the Baltimore Colts FC was the first National Championship for a Maryland Majors club.
The Baltimore Colts FC also competed in the 2005 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. They qualified for the 2005 tournament based on their 2004 USASA National Cup performance. The Colts drew PDL side Richmond Kickers who would prevail in the I-95 match up 3-0.
To go along with their 2005 National Championship, the Baltimore Colts FC won 4 Maryland Major championships, 6 Maryland "Rowland" State Cup championships, 3 Maryland Stewart Cup championships, twice finished as a National Runner-Up in the National Amateur Cup (2008, 2002), and twice were a Regional Amateur Cup Finalist (2006, 2007).
|Frank Assaro, Jr.||General Manager/Coach/Player|
|Colin Devlin||Assistant Coach|
|Frank Assaro, Sr.||Team Assistant|
|Pat Healey||Towson University|
|Andrew Marshall||Towson University|
|Kevin Wise||Towson University|
|Steve Hoeck||Towson University|
|Andre Wise||Towson University|
|Ade Elliott||Towson University|
|Ben Pardew||Towson University|
|Frank Assaro||Towson Univeristy|
|Rob Layton||Johns Hopkins|
|Daine Merrin||Catonsville CC|