On May 10, the first round of the 2017 US Open Cup saw four teams local (ish) to the New York Red Bulls in action. The draw guaranteed at least one would progress, but no more than three. In the end, two advanced to the second round: FC Motown knocked out NJ Copa FC; Ocean City Nor'easters beat Junior Lone Star; Clarkstown Eagles could not get past Reading United.
For Clarkstown Eagles, it was a frustrating night. On the road in Reading, PA, the Eagles appeared to have survived a testing first half, but a penalty deep in stoppage time (there were about 10 minutes added after a lengthy break in play earlier in the match) gave the home team the chance to take the lead. Coastal Carolina University's Frantzdy Pierrot - who was in the Haiti Men's National Team squad for its Gold Cup playoff series against Nicaragua in March - saw his spot kick saved, but knocked in the rebound.
With about 15 minutes to play in the second half, Clarkstown was still only trailing by a single goal when Reading had a man sent off. But the Eagles couldn't make numerical advantage count, and the home team held on to claim victory, 1-0.
Reading United will host New York Cosmos in the second round on May 17.
Over in Ocean City, NJ, the Nor'easters got off to a hot start, scoring twice inside the the first 15 minutes. Head coach John Thompson told PressOfAtlanticCity.com's James Clark that the goals were the product of a game-plan tailored for his team's opponent, Junior Lone Star: "They play very high, so we wanted to get in behind them."
Lone Star adjusted and got a goal back mid-way through the second half, but the Nor'easters found a third in the 83rd minute to settle the match. Fredlin Mompremier opened the scoring for Ocean City; Tyler Collinshaw and Akeil Barrett also found the net for the home team in the 3-1 win.
Ocean City Nor'easters will host Harrisburg City Islanders on May 17 in the second round of USOC 2017.
Holmdel, NJ, saw one of the more dramatic finishes of the first round. NJ Copa FC hosted FC Motown in an all-NJ match-up. Copa FC opened the scoring through Ryan Campbell in the 26th minute.
As half-time approached, Motown bagged a somewhat fortuitous equalizer: Rodrigo Santiago played either a stunning shot or a wayward cross that caught the frame of the goal, wrong-footing the Copa defense and setting up Dritan Sela to net the rebound.
In the second half, Motown continued to dominate possession, but Copa's back-line stood up well to the challenge of limiting the visiting team to few clear chances. With the score 1-1 after 90 minutes, the game went to extra-time, and followed much the same pattern: Motown had a lot of the ball, but Copa could find the occasional chance on the break. The second half of extra-time seemed unlikely to bring much change to the now-entrenched rhythm of the game; it appeared only a penalty shoot-out would be able to separate the teams. But Samuel Gehman produced a quite extraordinary free-kick from distance to put Motown ahead shortly after the final 15-minute period kicked off.
After a delirious, full-squad celebration on the sidelines, Motown closed out the game for a 2-1 win.
FC Motown travels to Rochester Rhinos on May 17 for the second round of USOC 2017.
There will be three games featuring teams from New York and New Jersey in the second round of the Cup:
|Date||Kick-off||Home Team||Away Team||Stadium|
|May 17||7:30 pm, ET||Reading United AC||New York Cosmos||Exeter Township High School, Reading, PA|
|May 17||7:30 pm, ET||Ocean City Nor'easters||Harrisburg City Islanders||Carey Stadium, Ocean City, NJ|
|May 17||7:00 pm, ET||Rochester Rhinos||FC Motown||Capelli Sport Stadium, Rochester, NY|