Late Dramatics in the NJ Clasico: Jackson Lions FC and FC Motown Draw 2-2

By Jackson Lions FC

In a showdown that has come to be known as the NJ Clasico, Jackson Lions FC faced off against FC Motown at Donovan Catholic High School on May 11, and the result was a suspenseful 2-2 draw. 

The game commenced with both teams displaying caution, aware of their opponent’s threats. However, it was the Lions that struck first.  In the seventh minute, Ethan Decker, making his long-awaited debut for the Lions, quickly notched his name on the scoresheet by exploiting a poorly executed back pass from a Motown defender.  Capitalizing on a poorly executed back pass, Decker skillfully found the net, giving the Lions an early 1-0 lead.

Despite the setback, FC Motown composed themselves and began to press for an equalizer. The Lions, however, maintained a robust defensive stance, largely controlling the pace and flow of the game.  Kenny Hot, a midfielder from Duke University, nearly doubled the lead later in the first half, but his effort sailed just wide, leaving the score at 1-0 as the teams headed into halftime.

As the second half unfolded, the Lions appeared determined to dominate possession and extend their lead.  Yet FC Motown, resilient as ever, started to find their rhythm.  The introduction of substitute Joe Falla in the 60th minute proved to be a game-changer for Motown.  Falla’s fresh legs and sharp playmaking quickly paid dividends as he found the back of the net, leveling the score and shifting the momentum.

The Lions responded fiercely, nearly regaining the lead just two minutes later through a powerful volley from Decker, which was saved by the Motown goalkeeper Josh Schaffer.  The game escalated as both sides exchanged yellow cards, adding to the intensity of the rivalry.

In the 67th minute, Motown stunned the home fans by taking the lead.  However, the Lions refused to back down, rallying back with multiple attempts on goal.  Ian Abbey, in particular, forced an exceptional save from Schaffer, keeping the Motown supporters on edge.

With time winding down, and the match seemingly slipping from their grasp, the Lions earned a penalty in the 88th minute.  Abbey, who had been a constant threat throughout the match, stepped up to take the penalty.  Displaying nerves of steel, he confidently converted the spot kick, drawing the Lions level at 2-2. 

Lions goalkeeper Owen Moore made a crucial save in stoppage time, and Joey Zalinsky executed a critical tackle in the dying seconds, preserving the draw.  The final minutes were a testament to the fierce competition between these two clubs with plenty of history between them.

Although three points would have been ideal, this stacks up as a good result for the Lions against one of the strongest contenders in the Keystone East Conference. 

 The WC Predators will visit Donovan Catholic HS for another conference matchup on Sunday, May 19.  


Photo Credit: Jacob Kassenoff


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