The Middletown boys soccer team is far different from the squad that captured the Class 2A West regional title last season, but it would be difficult to convince Francis Scott Key otherwise.
The Eagles were outhustled, outshot and outplayed in a 5-0 loss to the visiting Knights in Union Bridge last night.
Middletown torched the nets with three goals in the first half -two of which came in the final minute of play - and added two more in the second half.
The Knights' domination of Francis Scott Key, which dropped to 1-1 in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League and 1-2-1 overall, forced co-coaches Bob Cole and Michael Oakes to call a team meeting after the game.
"We didn't show up tonight," Cole said. "There was a lack of intensity, and that was the key to the game."
Last night's showing was a surprise, considering that the Eagles had played well in their first three games. After bruising Brunswick, 5-2, in the season opener, Francis Scott Key lost a 2-1 overtime thriller to defending county champ Liberty and then earned a 2-2 tie with North Carroll.
Cole said he had hoped to see his team continue the momentum from the North Carroll game.
"Our goal is to improve [in] every game and play an aggressive brand of soccer," he said.
Middletown (1-2 in the league and 2-5 overall) had lost its first four games before winning its first contest at the Frederick County Soccer Tournament last weekend.
Sophomore forward Mark Bucheimer got the first score for Middletown. During a scramble in front of the Francis Scott Key net, senior back Michael Buzard managed to pass the ball to Bucheimer, who sent it to the back of the net for a 1-0 lead with 21 minutes left in the first half.
Then with less than a minute to go, junior back Ross Cherish corraled a loose ball in front of the net and chipped it into the right corner for a 2-0 lead.
Less than 30 seconds later, Eagles junior defender Adam Stultz intercepted a Knights cross, but the ball squirted off his foot and onto the right foot of senior forward Luiz Araujo, who drove it into the net for a 3-0 Middletown lead.