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Monday, July 12, 2010

Hogan Lovells wins 8th annual DC SCORES Cup

The morning of the 2010 DC SCORES Cup didn’t get off to the most auspicious start. With rain pounding the fields at the Maryland SoccerPlex, calls flooded in from team captains wondering if the eighth version of the annual tournament would be postponed.

Thankfully, that was never an option we had to consider. For the first time, the games of the  co-ed, 7v7 tournament would be played on turf fields unaffected by the showers. And by the 9 a.m. start, the rain had mostly dissipated and everything was drying up.

Some nine hours later, under sunny skies, members of the Hogan Lovells team posed with the Cup trophy in front of the goal they’d defended during their 2-1 championship-game victory over Accurate Conceptions.

The tournament had featured 22 teams, 40 games and plenty of drama, and in the end members of the law firm had persevered for their sixth consecutive victory of the day and their first championship in eight years of competing in the Cup. In the championship game, Hogan jumped out to a 2-0 lead then held on against a surging Accurate Conceptions team that had a couple good chances in the final minutes to tie the game.

A tie would have meant the tournament’s second extra-time game. The first was the most memorable game of the tournament. In the quarterfinals, three-time champion Marriott held a 1-0 lead on District Sports, but the soccer organization scored late to tie the game. After a scoreless 5 minutes of extra time, the outcome came down to penalty kicks, and, finally, on the ninth kick District Sports scored and got a diving save from its goalkeeper to knock out Marriott.

It was just one highlight of many on a day full of riveting soccer. There were more than a handful of teams who won two games in group play and still didn’t advance to the quarterfinals, an indication of just how good the competition was. And none of the final four teams – Hogan Lovells, Accurate Conceptions, District Sports and Zuckerman Spaeder F.C. – were in the same position a year ago.

We fully expect next year’s Cup to be even bigger and better, featuring more teams on the turf fields of the SoccerPlex.

Speaking of the soccer facility, we must thank the Washington Freedom and the SoccerPlex for hosting us and helping to put on the tournament at their home for the first time.

A big thanks also to Hard Times Café in Germantown for hosting Cup participants after the games ended Saturday and to the almost 20 soccer bars in the District and Virginia who helped to promote the tournament during the Champions League matches as well as the World Cup.

Finally, thanks to all the participants for making the trek out to the SoccerPlex for the first time and for supporting our 700 poet-athletes in the process.

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