The New Orleans Jesters season has been marred by missed opportunities and it ultimately was what cost the team as they were eliminated from the playoffs by Georgia Revolution FC 3-2 Tuesday night at Pan American Stadium.
Georgia twice had a two-goal lead in this match, but the Jesters twice pulled within one goal and had countless opportunities to tie it. Among the missed opportunities, the Jesters had a penalty kick stopped, hit the post four times, and missed other chances from point-blank range.
The Revolution started the scoring in the 15th minute on a goal by Ehjayson Henry that seemed to take a slight deflection and beat Chad Collins on the near post. Georgia pushed the lead to 2-0 on a 63rd minute goal by Isaac Promise. But New Orleans answered a minute later, when Oliver Roberts scored with a left-footed shot that glanced in off of the near post.
In the 73rd minute the Jesters had a chance to pull even, but Tom Peers penalty kick was saved by Wesley Sprague. Peers’ was one of many chances the Jesters couldn’t capitalize on.
“I am disappointed, disappointed in missing the penalty, disappointed we hit the bar four times. I thought it was the best we played all season.”
Georgia would tack on an insurance goal by Jumar Oakley in the 78th minute. But the Jesters, would answer a minute later on a second goal by Roberts, who unleashed a rocket from 30 yards out that found the upper corner. For Roberts, his success tonight and this season is bittersweet.
“I am devastated personally. We worked so hard all game and played some of the best stuff we played all year. On a personal note I am delighted to score nine goals this year, and that’s sort of what I came here to do is sort of stake a claim. But I am devastated and the lads are as well. We worked so hard, to go out in the first round is devastating.”
In the final minutes of the match, New Orleans hit the crossbar twice, and in the end fall to Georgia 3-2. Jesters head coach Kenny Farrell says it is a tough way to end the season.
“Over and above the opportunities, the performance of the players was absolutely magnificent. The quality of the play was incredible. From an entertainment spectacle, for someone just watching soccer, we were superb. We just didn’t get the result.”
New Orleans ends the season with a record of 7-6-2 while Georgia advances to Southeast Conference semifinals against Atlanta Thursday night.
Contributor: Paul Boron/New Orleans Jesters
Photo Credit: James Cage Jr.