Tartan Devils Ousted from U.S. Amateur Cup

Written by Ian Thomson

PITTSBURGH (April 12, 2015) – The Tartan Devils’ dreams of U.S. Amateur Cup glory ended at the first hurdle Sunday with an extra-time loss to Hammers F.C. at Highmark Stadium.

Devante Eckford (right) is congratulated by his Hammers teammates after scoring the winner against Tartan Devils (Photo: Ian Thomson).
Devante Eckford (right) is congratulated by his Hammers teammates after scoring the winner against Tartan Devils (Photo: Ian Thomson).

Devante Eckford’s headed goal in the first minute of the added period sealed a 3-2 win for the visitors from Fairfax, Virginia after Dan Braun’s stunning strike for the Devils had forced a tie at 90 minutes.

Hammers progress to play New Jersey’s state champion in the next round of the tournament’s Region I bracket.

The Devils took an early lead when Sam Luffy received a low free kick driven into the penalty box before turning to fire a high shot into the roof of the net.

Greg Annan had a chance to double the lead early in the second half when he broke clear of a couple of Hammers defenders being seeing his shot blocked by the visiting goalkeeper.

Greg Annan's route to goal is blocked by two Hammers defenders (Photo: Ian Thomson).
Greg Annan’s route to goal is blocked by two Hammers defenders (Photo: Ian Thomson).

Brian Germaine tied the score on 56 minutes before Aaron Bell edged the Metropolitan D.C. – Virginia qualifier ahead seven minutes later. Hammers looked likely to increase their lead in the closing stages as their superior fitness became apparent on a searing spring afternoon.

The Devils instead found an equalizer with 15 minutes left. Braun controlled the ball on the left edge of the penalty box before firing a sizzling volley into the far top corner from 20 yards out.

Eckford’s winner came straight from kickoff in extra time. Hammers worked the ball down the right side before sending in a deep ball to the back post. Eckford perfectly planted his looping header back across Derek Yobbi’s goal and inside the far post.

Travis Mackenzie had a late opportunity to force a penalty shootout when he climbed highest at the near post to meet a corner kick. Mackenzie’s header flew agonizingly wide of the target.