The team of amateurs (sprinkled with some former pros) had 12-plus minutes left to hold on and pull off the upset.
It wasn’t meant to be.
Penn FC notched three unanswered goals to defeat host FC Motown 3-1 in the Second Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night.
After FC Motown’s Dilly Duka broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute, goals from Miguel Jaime, Prince Baffoe, and Pedro Galvao powered the visitors to the victory.
Coming off an inspired come-from-behind win that saw FC Motown defeat the New York Bulls U-23s in the Open Cup First Round 2-1, the Celtics had the script flipped on them by the USL side on a rainy night at Rangers Stadium on the campus of Drew University.
With rain blanketing the NY/NJ-area, kickoff was pushed back 15 minutes as fans and players alike needed extra travel time to reach the stadium.
Despite being late to Madison, NJ, Penn FC came out on the front foot, dominating possession and keeping FC Motown pinned in their own half. While Penn FC seemed to be in control, it was FC Motown who had the first dangerous opportunity of the evening.
Using the counter attack, Celtics midfielder Max Garcia found some open space at the top of the penalty area to take a shot on goal. Garcia’s stinging effort produced an excellent save from Penn FC goalkeeper Sean Lewis as the Rockford, MI native dove to his left to snatch the shot out of the air.
Penn FC’s best change of the first half would come off a set piece at Jerry Ortiz’s free kick from 25 yards out just missed going in the the top left corner.
The second half saw a much more open affair as FC Motown looked to push the game forward and grab a potential opening goal.
It was in the 53rd minute that saw the first goal of the evening. Duka, who was the two-goal hero in FC Motown’s first round win, was the man for the moment again to put the hosts up.
As they had spent much of the game, FC Motown were able to capitalize on a turnover as midfielder Christopher Katona gathered an errant pass from Penn FC’s Harri Hawkins. The Celtics’ No. 20 collected the ball right at the midfield stripe and started the counter where he found Duka on the left. From about 30 yards out, the Montville, NJ native went to work as he pushed the ball towards the endline, outpacing two Penn FC defenders before pulling this left-footed shot across the face of goal beating Lewis to put the hosts up 1-0.
As Motown looked to hold on to its lead, the superior fitness from the professional side began to take hold as Penn FC drove for the equalizer.
Penn FC would find the game-tying goal in the 78th minute through Miguel Jaime. After a long-range, deflected effort from Richard Menjivar was cleared the ball found the feet of Jaime. From there, the Penn FC midfielder took a left-footed volley that skipped along the turf that FC Motown GK Ryan Baird low and to his left.
Before the host could gather themselves after seeing their lead evaporate, Penn FC struck for the game-winner.
Moments after the restart Penn FC were, once again, deep in FC Motown territory. Forward Prince Baffoe, who had been Penn FC’s most dangerous player all evening, found himself at the top of the 18-yard box with acres of space. Baffoe took his chance spectacularly, going upper-90 with a right-footed laser that gave Baird no chance.
In the 90th minute Penn FC wingback Pedro Galvao would put the cherry on top as he danced around his marker and beat Baird short side and high with his left-footed shot to cap off the great individual effort.
FC Motown kick off their 2018 NPSL campaign this Saturday, May 19 as they host FC Monmouth at Rangers Stadium at 6:00 pm and Penn FC travel to face the Richmond Kickers of the USL in the third round of the Open Cup on Wednesday, May 23 at 7:00 pm.
Contributor: Joshua Hargett/NPSL.com
Photo Credit: Joshua Hargett/NPSL.com