FC Motown head coach Sacir Hot is keeping his fingers crossed that playing three matches within a week won’t be too much of a drain for his team.
The National Premier Soccer League side will host Penn FC in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup second-round game at Ranger Stadium on the campus of Drew University in Madison, N.Y. at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
“Tough turnaround for us as we played last night in the amateur semifinals vs. West Chester,” Hot said. “Three games in seven days is a nightmare for a pro team never mind amateur guys. Hopefully our rotation comes to fruition Wednesday and guys step up.”
FC Motown defeated the Red Bulls Under-23 team, 2-1, in the first round last Wednesday before falling to West Chester United in the New Jersey State Cup semifinals Sunday. The teams played to a 2-2 draw before United prevailed in penalties.
“Congrats to @WCUSC on a 2-2 shootout win in amateur cup semis,” FC Motown said on Twitter Sunday. “Was a real rough spot playing on the road in between Lamar games. Should have put game away in first half, but didn’t and they came on in the 2nd and were an excellent team.”
Penn FC will be a step up for FC Motown because it plays in the United Soccer League. The Red Bulls U-23s are an amateur side.
“Hard to really scout them as I don’t think they have figured out their best chemical balance,” Hot said. “They are also testing and experimenting so it’s tough to really get a read on them. They are a good team though with depth and some talent in the attacking places. Well organized and a team that you can tell is well-coached.”
The USL team will be well rested, having not played in a week, since a 1-0 win at Toronto FC II.
“We were happy to take a break after the Toronto game,” Penn FC head coach Raoul Voss said. “The guys needed that mentally and now we’ve been focusing a little bit more on how we [want to] play, our style on the ball, and how we can create a few more chances. That’s been the main focus.”
Voss felt that the addition of several MLS veterans has elevated FC Motown.
“We looked at everything, all the film and everything we could see, and Motown is a good club,” he said. “I believe they are first in their division. They have Hunter Freeman, Dilly Duka and Julius James – quite a few really experienced former MLS guys. We’re taking them very seriously. It’s [going to] be a good game and good opponent.”
If the NPSL team wins Wednesday, it would be a big triumph, according to Hot.
“I think anything past the second round would be an accomplishment for us as we continue to grow and develop as a team and an organization,” he said. “Penn FC represents a huge opponent with some big players who have experience in MLS and internationally. We will take this one game at a time.”
The recent addition of James, a Trinidad & Tobago international defender who has Major League Soccer experience, has been a big boost to FC Motown.
“Julius has been getting better and better with every minute he plays for us,” Hot said. “He is as committed to the cause as the front office is. He really is investing time and effort to us so we couldn’t be more pleased. He is a model professional and a real asset to our team. Fans should want to see him play. We’re counting on him come Wednesday night.”