New York Red Bulls U-23 will move on to the Second Round of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The U-23 side and F.C. Motown battled it out on a rainy night in Montclair, NJ for over 120 minutes, giving those in attendance a match worthwhile seeing in the rain. After a 3-3 draw in regular time, both teams each scored once more in extra time making it 4-all and taking the match to a penalty shoot-out.
The scoring began very early, starting with the away side. A counter-attack on the left wing led to a cross from Cam Vickers to Joseph Fala. He headed down the ball, causing the goalkeeper Marcelin Goheir to make a good save, only to leave a rebound for Fala to follow up and put the ball in the back of the net. Motown led quickly 1-nil by the 3rd minute.
However, Red Bulls did not stop or slow down their press, coming out blazing from the start of the match. In the 17th minute, JP Marin leveled the score with a header in the 6-yard box with a cross from Jonah Conway.
The Red Bulls continued to dominate, causing havoc and having a go at Motown’s defense. That persistence paid off eight minutes later.
A good, yet controversial defensive tackle near Red Bull’s penalty box by Omar Sowe led to a quick counter. Sowe connected with Marin, who sprayed captain Brian Saramago on the right wing, catching the defender on the back pedal. Saramago beat his defender, cut in, and took a left footed shot on the goalkeeper, with a slight deflection from the defender.
The goalkeeper thought to have made enough contact with the ball to block it, only for the ball to go behind him and into the net, allowing RB U-23 to take the lead for the first time by the score of 2-1.
As the half was coming to an end, heavy rain started to come down fast causing everyone to find protection. The referees deemed it enough to delay the start of the second half by 20 minutes.
You would think the delay would affect both teams’ play coming into the second half – but that was not the case. 14 minutes into the half Sowe gave his side a two-goal cushion over the visitors, as he got played in by the captain Saramago for a good one-on-one opportunity that he buried through goalkeeper David Greczek’s legs.
Then the match got really exciting for those in attendance.
After some subs and changes from both sides, substitute Kene Eze proved to be a spark for F.C. Motown bringing his side from within one, scoring in the 70th minute with a strike from the top of the 18-yard box. One minute later, he turned provider running to the end line on the left wing and squaring the ball to an unmarked Vickers for an easy tap-in.
With the game at a deadlock after 90-minutes, extra time was called for.
After a scoreless first half of extra time, the Red Bulls USL League Two side thought they had found the game-winner from Jeciel Cedeno in the 109th minute.
The NPSL side had other plans though, answering that goal with one of theirs two minutes from time from yet again another one of their substitutes, Maximiliano Garcia.
4-4. This game was going to be decided from the spot.
After seven consecutive successful shots from both teams, it was F.C. Motown’s Marcus Hackett that had his shot blocked in the 4th round of penalty kicks. All Red Bulls had to do next was bury their shot and they move on. Salvatore Esposito made it look too easy, hitting his shot perfectly even with Greczek guessing the right side.
The U-23 side will now travel down south to Tenessee and play Memphis 901 FC of the USL Championship on May 15.