Whenever you get to see teams in a cup final, it’s a magical thing to watch what happens and what turns into the most decisive moment that can either help or hurt a side that is ready to become champions of that league.
While seeing Red Bulls II hosting and winning their first cup final of any kind in the United Soccer Leagues back in 2016, it was fun to watch what was going to happen at Ranger Stadium on the campus of Drew University in Madison, NJ
At the end of the full ninety minutes of the big National Premier Soccer League Final, it was Miami FC 2 defeating FC Motown by a final of three goals to one, in which there was plenty of action and hard fought challenges from both side of the field.
But the scoring opened in the 33rd minute as a former Red Bull player created a sensational volley to give his side the lead. In the 33rd minute a corner was given along the near side to the South Florida boys and it was delivered strangely.
Dylan Mayers took the corner but instead of crossing the ball inside the FC Motown area, he went towards the top and outside of it and that when the Northern Ireland midfielder took advantage of the situation.
Johnny Steele who was all along made a run towards the ball and when he got to it, smacked a sensational volley that splashed the back of the net and gave the visitors the early lead in the cup final.
“I remember the good old days back at Red Bull Arena, but when the ball came out I struck it well and felt good when I touched it.” said Steele, “But you know that FC Motown is a very good team, but for us we had a bit of a grind being in the NPSL and we had a bit of our own adversity, the guys did well.”
But another former Red Bulls player felt he needed to step up and take care of the home town fans. Two minutes later after Steele blasted his chance home, Dilly Duka collected a great ball towards the inside of the Miami FC 2 area and slotted it past the keeper.
The home town fans were treated with a silky smooth finish and found something to cheer for as Duka converted for the hometown side. After the opening forty-five minutes ended there was a feeling that this one will have a winner early, or forcing extra time.
When the match reached the hour mark, that moment came for the visitors as they found a way to re-take the lead, but not without some assistance from a Motown player. Back in the 11th minute Chris Riordan was booked for a challenge along the bench side of the field.
Then his late challenge in the 59th minute produced a second yellow card as he tackled his man down just outside the Motown area. That’s when Dylan Mares decided he wanted to take the free kick himself. At the 60th minute he sent a low free kick inside the far post and that chance sent Miami FC 2 into the reality of winning the cup.
“We’ve been switching on and off throughout the year, the past few I’ve taken in the last few games I felt confident taking them and I felt confident taking this one. I stepped up and took it.” Said Dylan Maers
I felt confident being close to the box and so I took it. But there are times we do talk about who wants to take those free kicks and when I was determined to take it I was a great night for us.”
The last goal of the night came in the 81st minute as Jeff Michaud took a looping ball from Coy Craft and slotted it home to send the visitors to the winners table and Miami FC 2 celebrated their first cup of any kind.
“It means everything when you have a clash like this. We won the regular season and scored the most points and conceded the fewest. Just won every game within regulation throughout the playoffs.” Said head coach Paul Dalglish.
“We had an issue when our bus wouldn’t start getting over here, but we had moments where we weren’t great, but the mentality was great to go after it and it was a fantastic final.”
If you heard those reports about a fourteen hour combined flight and bus breaking down issue the night before the final happened, well it looked like Miami FC 2 didn’t have an issue at all.
But one thing that has to be said is that Sacir Hot the former Red Bulls academy player and the head coach of FC Motown did a fantastic job this season and got his team ready to perform every single match.
It was a tough pill to swallow for the clubs first year in the NPSL, but you have to say that Sacir Hot in his first season as head coach of this side did an amazing job and let’s see what he can do for the Madison, NJ side next season.