After 90-plus minutes of regulation and two extra periods, the New Orleans Jesters’ fate was decided by a round of penalty kicks.
The Jesters, fresh off last season’s conference championship, failed to advance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against the Mississippi Brilla FC late Wednesday, losing 3-2 in penalty kicks. Both teams were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, and neither scored during two periods of extra time. Though the Jesters’ keeper, Chad Collins, made saves on two Brilla’s penalty kicks, it wasn’t quite enough to save the game.
“That’s football — even in the World Cup Final teams will lose on penalty kicks,” Jesters head coach Kenny Farrell said.
The Jesters struggled to connect on shots in the first half, missing several chances within the box but still preventing Brilla from completely controlling the ball. Both teams went into the second half scoreless, each with one goal negated by penalties by the 55-minute mark. Brilla scooped up the game’s first goal with a 40-yard shot into the bottom corner by Oliver Brock with 25 minutes left in the second half.
The Jesters drilled an equalizer just minutes later. Thomas Peers, new to the Jesters this year, slid the ball past Brilla goalie Jordan Bell in the 72nd minute.
“When we shifted [Peers] inside, he started causing all kinds of trouble to them,” Farrell said.
Peers attempted another lob with less than 12 minutes left in regulation, but the shot soared over the net. Brilla’s Ali Brador set up the ball in front of the net for Javen Palmer in the 88th minute of regulation, but keeper Collins saved the potential game-winner. After three minutes of stoppage time, the score remained at 1-1 at the end of regulation.
The first period of extra time saw Brilla’s Brador flick a headshot too wide, followed by another missed attempt at the Jesters’ goal with two minutes left. Both teams went into the second period of extra time without scoring.
The Jesters missed a few crucial chances to seal the game, Farrell said, leading to a round of penalty kicks. The Jesters first penalty kick soared over the goal just after the Brilla made their first shot; Brilla’s second attempt is saved by Collins. The Jesters hung on for two goals but their efforts were thwarted as kicker Igor Siskov’s lob was saved by Brilla goalkeeper Jordan Bell.
“We had chances to finish it and we didn’t do it, that’s basically what it boils down to,” Farrell said. “We really should have had the game won in 90 minutes and it didn’t happen.”
Wednesday’s game was the first-ever appearance by the New Orleans Jesters in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and also the first time they’ve hosted a U.S. Open Cup game in New Orleans. The Mississippi Brilla now move on to face the Indy Eleven in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday in Indianapolis.
The Jester’s regular season National Premier Soccer League home opener is this Saturday, May 12 at 7 p.m. against the Emerald Force Soccer Club of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Contributor: Claire Byun/NPSL.com
Photo Credit: Claire Byun/NPSL.com