By Daniel Cermak/NPSL.com
Despite coming out on the wrong side of the scoreline, FCM Portland was extremely proud to reach the NPSL National Semifinal in 2018, where they travelled across the country to take on New Jersey’s FC Motown.
“To be honest, most of the lads on the team were just humbled to be flying across the country to play against one of the top teams in the nation,” FCM Portland midfielder Ryan Middleton said. “We all felt a sense of pride having just won our own conference, let alone winning the west coast championship, and progressing all the way to the national semis.”
The match was a hard-fought battle between the two sides, and while it was not a high scoring bout, it was a passionate one. The first half saw the two teams battle to a 0-0 stalemate. Both teams managed to get on the scoreboard within twenty minutes of the start of the second half. FC Motown would strike first with a goal from Dilly Duka, but FCM Portland would answer right back with a goal of their own from second-half substitute Nick Evans less than ten minutes later.
FCM Portland goalkeeper Scott Dalrymple was able to help keep his team in the match with a number of key saves, and FCM Portland managed to bring the match into extra time. FCM Portland continued to challenge FC Motown throughout both extra time periods, but FC Motown managed to snag a winner deep into the extra time period. This left FCM Portland with little time to respond, and FC Motown managed to advance to the final with a 2-1 scoreline.
The defeat meant the end of FCM Portland’s incredible playoff run that saw them defeat Spokane SC Shadow, El Farolito, and finally Orange County FC by an incredible 6-4 score, earning themselves the West Region crown. Despite the semifinal defeat, FCM Portland and Middleton look back on the 2018 season with pride.
“We didn’t know how to lose,” Middleton said. “We never gave up. But you can’t win every game without having talented players. Our starting 11 on the day I think was up there with the best of them. Over and over again we would do the impossible, and that was down to the talent, skill, experience, and drive of the players, and the manager in our team.”
With Middleton singing his praises, FCM Portland manager Sergio Medel credits his players with helping with his coaching success.
“This team is a perfect example of what a team is all about and that football isn’t a one-man show,” Medel said. “Their chemistry made my and the FCM coaching staff’s job a lot easier. They voluntarily sacrificed for each other, helped themselves improve, and enjoyed each other to their fullest. I truly enjoyed coaching them all of the way to that game.”
When fans tune into Saturday night’s restream of FCM Portland and FC Motown’s semifinal battle, Middleton wants fans to notice how much the squad improved throughout the game, and how hard they pushed, especially during extra time.
“I think you’ll see from the footage that we played our way back into the game, and at times, especially leading up to our first goal, we made them nervous,” Middleton said. “You could tell they didn’t know which way the game was going to go. I think that’s what made it so exciting. Anyone watching will see how much effort both teams put in. They’ll probably see how exhausted we all looked towards the end. They’ll see how enjoyable the game was for the live fans because it was gripping at times. Then you’ll see how much both teams wanted to win. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as we did playing in it.”
With both squads featuring a number of talented players and experienced managers, FCM Portland and FC Motown’s 2018 semifinal match is sure to provide entertaining soccer on Saturday night.
Photo Credit: FCM Portland