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The plumber in the liquor store lowered his nearly empty can of Natural Light and laughed.

Collin Fisher, the starting right back on the team that doesn’t train, had just been asked how he stays in shape. Sure, Christos FC’s most tenacious defender plays pickup indoor soccer games on occasion, but what about off the field? Did he lift weights? Belong to a gym? Ogle a treadmill?

“The last time I ran was probably in high school,” he said.

Fisher doesn’t have time to train, at least not during the weeks he is on call 24 hours a day as a plumber/gas fitter. Neither does attacking midfielder Daniel Baxter, an X-ray technician working night shifts in the shock trauma center of Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center. Or starting center back Josh Taylor, an audio/visual equipment sales manager whose only practice tool is his daughter’s size-3 soccer ball.

All form part of the last amateur squad left in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, a single-elimination tournament traditionally dominated by pro teams. Christos FC, the Baltimore-based club named after and headquartered in a discount liquor store, will take on four-time Major League Soccer champion D.C. Unitedin a fourth-round matchup at Maryland SoccerPlex on Tuesday night.

Last month, a week after a first-round win over a Fredericksburg club, 12 Christos players piled into a nine-seater passenger van bound for Richmond, followed by three more players who drove themselves after work. They pulled off a 1-0 stunner against the United Soccer League’s Richmond Kickers, a second-tier team housed in a 22,000-seat stadium. Then they set up a GoFundMe campaign to help finance a road trip to Chicago, where they beat fellow amateur outfit Chicago FC United, 1-0, to set up Tuesday’s unlikely showdown in Boyds.

Christos FC does not conduct practice, doesn’t scout opponents or study film. Game-planning typically occurs a few minutes before matches, when coaches pick a lineup based on who could get off work to show up.

So, in the days leading to the biggest match in their club’s 20-year history, what do Christos players know about D.C. United?

“Um, I know they have a losing record,” Taylor shrugged of United, which is 4-7-3 in MLS play.

“I know that they haven’t scored a lot of goals,” central midfielder Mamadou Kansaye deadpanned of United, which has scored 10 goals in 14 MLS games.


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