By Aaron Tomich/NPSL.com
Grit and determination has driven the NPSL’s FC Motown to its recent run of success in the 2022 U.S. Open Cup tournament.
Following two thrilling consecutive 1-0 results, the New Jersey side travels north for the Third Round contest against the recently rebranded Open Cup champions from 1999. FC Motown is set to face Rochester New York FC of MLS Next Pro on Wednesday, April 20 at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY, with kickoff set for 6:00 pm ET.
“It’s been pretty emotional,” said FC Motown midfielder Danny Cordeiro. “The team has been playing a lot tougher and organized, and that will be key going forward into this next match.”
FC Motown advanced after the lone goal was scored in the fifth minute of extra time against AC Syracuse Pulse in the Second Round. Head coach Sacir Hot said that he thought his guys played well and didn’t give up at any point, also noting their mental grit as the game came down to the wire in the final minutes after there were few chances created on either side.
Hot knows that the approach will be similar heading into Wednesday night’s contest at Rochester. The head coach feels confident that his roster’s depth is key to their Open Cup success after lauding the team’s mindset as one unit.
“From man number one to man number 18, I think everyone contributes,” said Hot. “I think that [the] starting-11 wears them [the opponents] down, and our bench comes on and finishes them off… No one has an ego here, and we’re truly a team in that sense.”
FC Motown’s leader gave full credit to his side in their recent run of victories and strong play, while additionally mentioning the team’s under-the-radar leader in Cordeiro. The veteran midfielder has played with Motown since 2018 and Hot noted his stability, leadership, and strong work ethic as attributes that guide each game he’s played. Hot knows Cordeiro will continue to do the same in the battle against Rochester.
“After the Second Round game I said, ‘Danny, you forgot something… you forgot your heart on the field,’… that guy gives everything on the field,” said Hot.
Cordiero and Hot’s New Jersey squad faces a history-making Rochester club on Wednesday. Formerly the Rochester Rhinos, Rochester New York FC holds claim to being the only non-top division team to win the Open Cup since MLS teams debuted in 1996. Now in 2022, the team is under new ownership – including co-owner from Leicester City (English Premier League), forward Jaime Vardy – and a rebrand, competing in MLS Next Pro. But, those elements won’t phase FC Motown.
Both Hot and Cordeiro expressed that it doesn’t matter much who their opponent is, more so mattering that their own mindset is in the right place. Grit and determination have gotten Motown to the Third Round, while motivation to advance further comes from desire to not be overlooked and to showcase their immense abilities both individually as players and as a collective squad.
Another motivation for the match is playing to honor fellow teammate and defender Sainclair Tueno. In late March, Tueno was in an auto accident that left him severely injured and in critical condition.
“He [Tueno] is one of those guys who is a true team player, and no one else is more of a team player than he is,” said Cordeiro. “He’s willing to travel hours upon hours to attend training and to play in games and we love him for that. We’re praying for the best for Sainclair.”
Cordiero said that although it has been tough to talk about his teammate, his team has found it as a way to motivate each other and play in Tueno’s honor, lighting a fire in them to advance further and continue to make history for the club on Wednesday night.
“I think we are going to be able to compete with Rochester and have the opportunity for a shot at more,” said Cordeiro. “We’ll see.”
Photo Credit: Peter Bonilla