FC Motown Looks Forward to NPSL Season after First Round Exit from the U.S. Open Cup

By Kristian Dyer/NPSL.com

New Jersey-based NPSL club FC Motown lost 3-0 to NYCFC II on Thursday night in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup.

For an FC Motown side that has made a habit of playing the spoiler before in the U.S. Open Cup, it wasn’t the expected result.  NYCFC II struck twice in the game’s opening 20 minutes, with both goals coming from forward Taylor Calheira.

The former Maryland standout was dynamic on the night, showing good finishing and some very sound movement off the ball.

The early hole was part of a first half where FC Motown struggled to control NYCFC II’s movements down the flanks.  But the home side, playing on the campus of Montclair State University, still produced some good moments.

It was FC Motown who nearly got on the board first, a Joey Fala header from 10 yards out was on frame but well saved by goalkeeper Alexander Rando.  And in the 25th minute, Samuel Pompe’s industry down the right flank saw him serve in a dangerous cross that was close to finding two FC Motown runners who were lurking at the back post.

“We’re going to have to look at this game again,” FC Motown head coach Dilly Duka said after the match. “As a staff, we’re going to look at this game again.  We’re going to watch video, and then we’re going to look at our player pool and we’re going to just see what we can do to go into the Keystone Conference and go in on the right foot and make sure it is the front foot too.”

The loss stung for FC Motown but it was still an important moment for a club that is going through an offseason of transition.

This was Duka’s first match in charge of the club.  A former collegiate standout at Rutgers who put together a very solid career in MLS, Duka played two seasons for FC Motown before retiring in 2020.

He has some very definite thoughts about the direction of a team that always has high expectations.  FC Motown has won the last two Keystone Conference titles, and they were NPSL champions in 2022.

“I

think we have a good core and now it’s just about getting guys fit and bringing in some of the college guys and just progressing,” Duka said. “Look, Motown are the defending champs in the Keystone Conference.  We still have that same core, so we’re going to use that and build off of it.”

The second half was a far better response from Motown as they grew into a match against a strong NYCFC II team that has already started their regular season.

Substitutions made by Duka, namely the insertion of Handy Coby into the match, saw some offensive spark from Motown.  Coby and Pompe were consistently dangerous on the night for Duka’s side and are likely building blocks for the upcoming NPSL season.

There were several half chances from FC Motown in the second half.

In the 58th minute, a snap header from Fala off a corner kick produced a good save from Rando.  Motown looked the more dangerous side for long stretches of the second half.

Against the run of play, a 64th minute goal by winger Maximo Carrizo sealed the victory for NYCFC II.

“I mean it kind of gives us a marker where we are against the club that literally trains every day,” goalkeeper David Greczek said. “The coaches did try a new formation three in the back, which you know, in the past, we haven’t really played with and for the most part, there were some good sides of it…there were some poor sides of it. And then you just learn from it and you make adjustments going into the NPSL season.”

Greczek, a former standout at Rutgers who was an MLS SuperDraft pick of Sporting Kansas City in 2017, was credited with 14 saves in the match.

“I know the boys are definitely hungry,” Greczek concluded. “We got to experience the Open Cup as a group.  I’m sure they’ll bring in a few guys (who) are going to be young and hungry as well.  But the biggest thing to our advantage is that we do have experience and guys that have played with each other for several years already so there is a better understanding and chemistry.”

Photo Credit: Kristian Dyer/NPSL.com

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