Game action from FC Motown’s 3-2 loss to Miami FC 2 . (Onside Photography photo)
By Michael Lewis
MADISON, N.J. — It was soccer’s version of double jeopardy.
It was difficult enough that FC Motown was forced to play a man down for the final 32 minutes of the match.
The degree of difficulty became that much greater a minute or two later when Miami FC 2 scored the tie-breaking goal in what turned out to be a 3-1 victory in the National Premier Soccer League championship game Aug. 4.
“It’s not easy to play a man down, their style of play,” said FC Motown captain Dilly Duka, who scored the lone goal for his team. “It’s tough to compete against when you’re a man down.”
During a two-minute span, the game was turned on its head.
First, Chris Riordan was given his marching orders after he was awarded his second yellow card for fouling Jaime Chavez just outside the penalty area in the 58th minute.
On the ensuing free kick two minutes, game MVP Dylan Mares fired the tie-breaking goal.
Talk about a one-two punch.
“It’s always an uphill battle getting a red card and scoring on that free kick,” FC Motown head coach Sacir Hot said. Against a possession-based team, it’s going to be hard to dig yourself out of that.”
Still, Hot left Ranger Stadium with his head held high, even though he lost a second player to a red card only seconds before the final whistle.
“We got lucky in other games,” he said at Drew University Saturday night. “This time it didn’t go our way and that’s what happens man; 11 v 11, I’m super proud of my team. The guys played phenomenal. I think I wouldn’t be wrong to say that we were the better team in parts of the game.
“They put on a show in front of their friends and family. They didn’t embarrass themselves. On the contrary, they showed how good they are. Congrats to Miami, they happened to win it. They’re a good team. We’re not embarrassed to lose to a professional team, a team with such qualities.”
Hot added FC Motown players “wore their heart out on their sleeves.”
After Riordan’s dismissal, the hosts took several minutes to get their act together. It took about 10 minutes before FC Motown found itself and despite playing with 10 men it did a few opportunities to equalize before Miami FC 2 struck for the insurance goal
“We tried to get our ducks in a row after that,” Hot said about the turning point. “At that point of the game, it’s all or nothing, really and our guys went for it all. we went all in and we tried to get the equalizer. we had two great chances. Julius [James] had a chance, Lucas [Terci] had a sitter and that’s sometimes it happens in soccer. Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t. It didn’t go our way. They capitalized on our red card, they scored a third. That’s sometimes how the cookie crumbles.”
Added defender Julius James: “It’s tough, it’s tough. That’s never easy. a man down and a goal down simultaneously. But again, we still had chances after that. We didn’t get played off the park. We had more chances than them. We had our chances. We just didn’t put them away.”
Thursday: Story No. 4