By FC Frederick
Jack Mitzelfelt, a late-match sub who had not scored a goal this season, scored twice in the closing minutes as FC Frederick rallied for a dramatic 4-3 victory over First State FC in NPSL action Saturday evening at St. John’s Catholic Prep.
FC Frederick held 1-0 and 2-1 leads only to see those disappear, and the team faced a 3-2 deficit with three minutes left to play.
Only minutes after misfiring on a chance to put FC Frederick ahead, Mitzelfelt received a second chance to be a hero. Spencer Shortt found the York College forward with a well-placed pass in the box and Mitzelfelt slotted the shot to the right and past the keeper to even the score at 3-3 in the 87th minute.
Sensing a momentum shift, Mitzelfelt scooped the ball out of the net, and play quickly restarted. Then, only 90 seconds later, Cole Hellert found Mitzelfelt who beat his defender and scored again in the 89th minute for the 4-3 advantage, prompting a celebration at the corner flag by FC Frederick players.
“Soccer is all about having a short-term memory,” said Mitzelfelt, who entered the contest with only 26 minutes remaining. “That first chance (in the 83rd minute with the match tied at 2) didn’t work out, so it’s on to the next chance. You never know what can happen. After scoring that tying goal I felt the momentum change. My teammates could feel it. We won the ball right back, Cole found me, their defense was tired, and I was able to score again. It’s a great confidence boost for me and the team.”
FC Frederick fended off one shot on goal and a First State FC corner kick in the closing seconds to hang on for the victory, which all but secured the program’s first NPSL playoff berth since its 2018 championship season.
FC Frederick is in fourth place in the NPSL’s Mid-Atlantic Conference, five points ahead of fifth-place First State with two matches to play. FC Frederick only needs one win or tie in its remaining matches to seal a playoff position. FC Frederick would still advance with two losses as long as First State does not win both of its remaining contests.
Saturday’s match was played in 90-degree weather and started off rather slow due to the conditions. FC Frederick took a 1-0 lead when a First State defender redirected a cross into the goal in the 14th minute. That scoreline stood until the second half.
First State tied the match in the 54th minute. Tiwalade Fadebo was in on a breakaway and took a shot that FC Frederick keeper Bennett Schwartz initially saved but the deflection bounced back into Fadebo and then into the open goal.
FC Frederick was quick to respond when Elias Norris, in the 59th minute, placed a low shot between the legs of the charging First State keeper for a 2-1 advantage.
Yohan Kim scored the first of his two goals, beating Schwartz with a near-post shot in the 69th minute to tie the match at 2-2. Kim gave First State a 3-2 lead in the 84th minute, ramming home another near-post chance. At that point, First State was only six minutes away from bumping FC Frederick out of a playoff position, but Mitzelfelt made sure that didn’t happen.
“It was disappointing to go down (3-2) after being up twice (1-0 and 2-1),” FC Frederick coach Rob Ryerson said. “But once we got that third goal the energy completely changed. It was great to have (Mitzelfelt) score because he comes into games at important times and this will only help to grow his confidence.”
Schwartz played the entire match in goal for FC Frederick, recording nine saves.
Photo Credit: FC Frederick