FC Monmouth was defeated by Atlantic City FC by a score of 2-0 at Stockton University yesterday evening in a match that saw both sides experience their first-ever games in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL).
“I’m pretty positive to be honest,” said FC Monmouth head coach Brian Woods. “I like the way we played, in the first half I thought we did a good job.”
In the 19th minute, Atlantic City winger Cam Vickers scored the opening goal. After muscling off a defender, striker Sidney Rivera sent a pass through Monmouth’s defensive line, putting Vickers in on goal inside of the box. The winger took a touch before prodding the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper Kevin Silva and into the back right corner of the net.
FC Monmouth saw their first chance at a goal come nearly 15 minutes later from a free kick that was placed just outside of the right corner of the 18-yard box. Midfielder John Antunes swung the ball into the area where it met the head of Matt Fryc. The midfielder’s diving header forced a save from Atlantic City goalkeeper Matt Perrella, who was only able to parry it right back in front of his goal. Monmouth forward Jordan Saling was in position for the rebound, but his shot flew wide of the near post.
Both sides exchanged scoring opportunities early on in the second half, but it was Atlantic City FC who doubled their lead in the 62nd minute. Winger Alex Nicol received the ball down the right flank and crossed it into the box. Rivera was there at the near post to attack it, but he was not able to make solid contact with the ball. The attempted shot snuck its way into the net past Silva on the ground to his left.
“I thought the second goal that they scored was a little unlucky and a little unwarranted,” said Woods. “I thought we did well for most of the game and that was kind of against the run of play at that point. But obviously we need to tighten some things up [defensively].”
Monmouth’s Silva made a pair of saves in the 74th and 76th minutes to keep his side in the game. The hosts had a chance to extend the deficit to three when a deflected shot in the box fell at the feet of Vickers, who skied his effort over the crossbar from close range.
An acrobatic strike from inside of the box by Monmouth defender Jason Gomes hit the bottom of the right post and skipped out of bounds with less than ten minutes to go. FC Monmouth was unable to find the back of the net and the match ended 2-0 in favor of the hosts.
“I gotta give credit to Atlantic City FC,” said Antunes. “They’re a great team, they played very well. Today’s game is a learning lesson, we gotta finish our chances.”
Woods said that in the future his team needs to focus on both keeping possession more comfortably and transitioning from defense to attack faster after winning the ball back.
“We stuck together as a team,” defender Jerome Bland, who anchored the back line versus Atlantic City, said. “We talked a lot. Those are the little things that we need to work on more – talking and shifting together.”
“We really want to put on a show and show that we want to represent Monmouth County,” Bland said, looking ahead to FC Monmouth’s home opener on Saturday at Count Basie Park in Red Bank, New Jersey. “We want to show respect to the organizers and the owners. They put their trust in us and we want to play for them.”
Contributor: Evan McMurtrie/FC Monmouth
Photo Credit: FC Monmouth