FC Monmouth Defeats Philadelphia Union Development Squad 1-0

By Chris Dailey

FC Monmouth capped off their 2023 season with a 1-0 win over Philadelphia Union Development Squad.

A goal in stoppage time of the first half volleyed in by Aniello Lubrano off of a set piece delivered from Jack Longo was the lone goal in a fiery match with an amazing atmosphere.

The match started with FC Monmouth’s inaugural tifo presented by their official supporters group, the 732.  The tifo was primarily made by Lucas Francis who was later awarded the 2023 FC Monmouth Fan of the Year Award. 

Following the whistle, both teams shared a similar number of chances.  However, an early yellow card within the first 10 minutes given to Tyler Hutchinson changed the trajectory of the game.  In the 38th minute, he received yet another yellow card and was sent off.

Hutchinson, a prolific, pacey winger for FC Monmouth was vital in their attack throughout the first portion of the match.

Head coach John Killick and the Blue and Gold were forced to adjust.

“It’s always tough after a red card,” stated Killick. “We just wanted to get to halftime and then talk about what the strategy was but getting the goal before halftime was amazing, putting us in front.  We just kept running until the end.”

The goal following the red card and an amazing performance from goalkeeper AJ Montana catapulted FC Monmouth to victory.

Montana, who played two years of college soccer at Monmouth University, is transferring to Sacred Heart University.  Montana has been a vital member of the FC Monmouth squad for the past two years, and despite typically being the number two in the pecking order, Montana steps up big whenever given an opportunity.

In the reverse fixture away from home, Montana made a double save against the Philadelphia Union Development Squad.  In Saturday’s match, Montana made several huge stops and stood on his head for 90 minutes.

“I just went out there and had fun,” Montana said. “I just enjoyed playing, the team was unfortunate to get a red card, but the team buckled down and got together, got stuck in, and we were able to get three points and I was able to do my job.  Coach asked me to do a job, and I was able to do it.”

Montana’s most notable save came when Ian Abbey came in on net alone.  Montana was able to dive on the ground to stop the ball from going into the net and the large number of spectators cheered on loudly and proudly. 

In what is assumed to be FC Monmouth’s most highly attended game of all time, the “12th man” was cheerful and helped push a tired, short-handed FC Monmouth team to the finish line.

FC Monmouth conducted fan appreciation night as well with over $1000 in prizes being given out, ranging from soccer balls to New York Red Bulls tickets.

FC Monmouth was happy to give back to the loyal supporters who have shown up for the team all season.

“That’s what’s cool about what we do,” stated FC Monmouth assistant and youth team coach Seamus O’Connor. “It’s from U-7s to the adults.  We are building a community, it’s not just about the adult team.  It’s about the kids that play under the same trainers that coach these guys.  That’s what makes it special, that’s why we have these guys.  These kids are incredible. From the ball boys to the kids throwing out soccer balls for us, it makes (the atmosphere) electric and it’s a great environment to be a part of.”

FC Monmouth will be back for the 2024 NPSL season, and many players are eager to return.

From Davide Caputo to captain Rhys Cotter, Monmouth players want to rejoin the club for next summer.

“It’s a good group of people,” said Cotter. “I enjoyed playing with them.”


 Photo Credit: Yazemin Yilmaz


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