By First State FC
First State FC scored their first goal of the season but conceded two second half goals as FC Monmouth won 3-1 at Abessinio Stadium. The Keystone East Conference matchup stayed close early on, but quick counter attacks from Monmouth and a few key mistakes from the Midnight Riders made the difference in the final scoreline.
The game started with both teams testing the opposing defensive lines with balls over the top and several offside calls. Neither made a breakthrough early on, and as the teams approached the 30th minute, a First State FC interception led to a deep ball that landed at the feet of Marcus Hedemann but he failed to get a shot away. Soon after, FC Monmouth grew into the game, and started several counter attacks from turnovers by the home team. Monmouth’s Davide Caputo, after a pass was slotted through to him between the First State center backs, chipped into the net in the 39th minute to open the scoring.
At the start of the second half, First State FC made two changes and adjusted formation slightly to try to keep more possession and get the crowd engaged. The first few minutes were promising for the home side, but FC Monmouth kept a ball in play just inside First State’s box. As the defense tried to keep shape, a low pass on the ground gave Monmouth a clear sight at the goal from six yards out. Even after one save from First State goalkeeper Valentin Kneis, Monmouth directed a second shot in to increase their lead to 2-0.
Immediately after the second goal, the Midnight Riders came to life in the game and started pressuring the FC Monmouth defense. First State substitute Deshawn Bernard received a great lobbed pass into the box, switched the ball from his left to his right foot, and buried the home team’s first goal of the NPSL season in the 73rd minute. It looked like First State could press on for an equalizer, but only four minutes later, Kneis came far outside his goal to try to get to a deflected clearance. He didn’t get there in time, and FC Monmouth scored around him to restore their two-goal lead.
Fouls and stoppages slowed the flow of the game in the final stages as both teams visibly tired on the pitch. The Midnight Riders forced several corners but never threatened to score again before the game ended 3-1.
First State FC head coach Dan Frick said after the game that “we looked better in the second half of the game, but we need to stop giving the other side a two-goal cushion before we start to look dangerous.”
First State FC is sponsored by local Delaware businesses Delaware Orthopaedic Specialists (DOS), IncNow, Gonser and Gonser Law, and Elite PT. The next home game for the Midnight Riders is May 28th against the Philadelphia Union Development Squad. Tickets for the game are available at tickets.firststatefc.com.
Photo Credit: Olin Gay