FC Monmouth fell to FC Motown by a score of 3-0 at Drew University’s Ranger Stadium yesterday evening, which saw the club’s record in its inaugural National Premier Soccer League Season (NPSL) slip to 0-2-0.
“I thought we played really well against a very experienced team,” said Monmouth defender Thomas Judge. “They were a lot bigger than us, older than us, they’ve played a lot more games [together]. We were definitely the underdogs going into it. The score definitely wasn’t what we wanted it to be, but I thought we put a good effort out there.”
The ball hit the back of the net for the hosts, FC Motown, just seven minutes into the match, but it was ruled offside. Midfielder Bryan Machado dribbled his way past three Monmouth defenders and into the box before squaring a pass back across the area to his left. Forward Max Garcia received the pass and rolled the ball into the back of the open net, but it was denied.
Over the next fifteen minutes, FC Monmouth matched the Celtics’ possession and had a few shots at their goal. However, the hosts found the breakthrough in the 28th minute. Defender Hani Nasr out-jumped his marker and headed home a corner kick from point-blank range.
Moments later, Motown doubled their advantage. Midfielder Matt Nigro received a ground pass in the box, rounded the goalkeeper, and tapped the ball into the open net to make it 2-0. The hosts notched two more shots on target before the halftime whistle blew, with one of them hitting the post.
In the 65th minute, an acrobatic double save from Monmouth goalkeeper Kevin Silva kept the visitors in the game. After diving in the air to his left to save the initial close-range attempt from Motown forward Kene Eze, Silva got down on the ground to save the rebound at his near post.
FC Monmouth defender Jerome Bland committed a foul inside of the box later on, awarding Motown with a penalty kick and a chance to seal the victory. Midfielder Nelson Becerra converted from the spot, extending the Celtics’ lead to three goals.
Monmouth looked to salvage something from the game with five minutes to go, as shots from midfielder John Antunes, forward Daniel Vicente, and Bland attempted to find the back of the net. It was not enough though as the final whistle blew, crowning FC Motown as 3-0 victors.
FC Monmouth midfielder Julian Valerio, who made his debut last night, said that Motown is the team to beat in the NPSL’s Keystone Conference as they are often challenging for the championship each season.
“They’re very familiar with each other and we’re still getting to know each other,” the former Motown player said. “You could see glimpses that there’s moments where everything’s clicking and then you can see the moments where communication is lacking, but it’ll come.”
Monmouth now has a week to prepare for their next match, which will be their home opener and rematch against Atlantic City FC.
Judge said, “I’m really looking forward to playing in front of our home crowd.”
The game will take place at 6:00 pm on Saturday, May 26th, at Count Basie Park in Red Bank, New Jersey.
Contributor: Evan McMurtrie/FC Monmouth
Photo Credit: FC Monmouth