By Daniel Cermak/NPSL.com
FC Motown star Dilly Duka was quite willing to provide an insider’s perspective into the 2018
NPSL National Championship between FC Motown and The Miami FC.
“Both teams deserved to be in the final, Miami started a little slow then came roaring back
towards the end, and we were very consistent the whole way through,” Duka said. “It was a fun
season and the final was a small taste of what the season was like. I thought we performed really
well in the final. We were missing a couple of guys and we still came out strong.”
Though the final score ended up 3-1 in The Miami FC’s favor, Duka is proud of the team’s
performance and knew that they hung with the eventual champions the whole way. The game
was played in New Jersey in front of a sold out crowd of more than 2,000 Motown faithful. The
Miami FC jumped out to a first half lead, but Duka and Motown were able to equalize shortly
thereafter, and the two teams entered the half tied. The Miami FC nabbed the next goal off a set
piece that led to a red card to FC Motown, and Miami added an insurance goal later on.
Despite the result, playing in a final in front of their home crowd was still a special experience.
“I thought it was a great finish to the season for us, for Miami of course, and the league, that year
was pretty exciting,” Duka said. “But especially playing a home final is always exciting no
Duka felt that the team was built the correct way and was a perfect mix of veteran and young
talent. In addition to that, the team also managed to play the right way and utilized the talent of
Duka and fellow MLS veteran Julius James.
“We were built really well being an older team that incorporated younger players, and I think
with a league like this with younger players, we were able to use our experience to create a path
into the playoffs,” Duka said. “The ownership and the coach built the team the right way and we
didn’t have any injuries which was amazing. We knew our strengths and we knew our
weaknesses and kept players healthy so it was perfect.”
Overall Duka has been impressed with the level he experienced in the NPSL, especially towards
the later end of the playoffs, and believes the league structure helps foster support for the
beautiful game in a variety of areas.
“If the teams become super competitive in their region, the local fan bases will get super into it
and build rivalries,” Duka said. “My first season in 2018 I thought ‘wow the structure of this
league can be like a lower league in Europe,’ like with Motown, we represent a small town in
New Jersey and the people come out to support us because they want to see competitive soccer.”
For anyone tuning into the MyCujoo Classic on Saturday night, Duka wants them to notice the
level of the play and the decision-making by each and every player on the pitch.
“If you’re an attack-minded person or a defensive-minded person, I would pay attention to one
particular player and look to see how they play the game,” Duka said. “Try and think what they
are thinking at that play at that point, and any play they are making, try to understand why they
are making that play.”
With a match that showcases a number of experienced, high-level players on both sides, this
Saturday’s MyCujoo NPSL Classic will provide a great deal of entertainment and high-quality
Photo Credit: James O’Rourke