The championship game of the New Jersey Open Cup tournament took place Sunday evening with Icon FC taking on Polonia Wallington under the lights. On a cold night at Montville Community Park in Montville, NJ, Icon FC came out victorious, defeating Wallington 4-0 to win their first New Jersey Open Cup title.
With the win, Icon qualifies for the USASA Region I tournament where they will begin play at Eastern Pennsylvania champion West Chester United on April 7.
Before the referee blew the whistle to start the game, there was confusion over the teams’ uniforms; both teams were using different shades of blue. As a result, Icon used orange pinnies to keep the teams from getting confused.
The opening minutes of the game started slow as both teams kept the ball in the midfield. No team was able to get close to the opposing box to create a scoring opportunity. That all changed in the 9th minute when Icon’s number seven Jonathan Lopuski’s strike from outside the box beat Wallington keeper Marcin Czerwinski, to put his side up 1-0. After the goal, Icon maintained control of the game and three minutes later were able to score again, this time from another ferocious strike from Nathaniel Winslow.
Wallington’s Open Cup dreams suffered another blow just two minutes later when Icon’s Argjent Duka scored a header off a good cross from the right side of the field.
After Icon scored their three goals the game slowed down. Icon controlled the game and didn’t allow Wallington to create any clear chances. Wallington’s only shot in the first half came in the 36th minute when Tomasz Kwaitkowski’s shot went wide of the goal. Every time Wallington was able to get a cross or a pass into the box, there was never anyone at the end of it to threaten Icon goalkeeper Chris Duggan. Before the half, Icon’s Custidiano Michael kept the pressure on with another shot on target forcing the Wallington keeper to make another save.
During the second half, Wallington needed to come out aggressively to try to stay in the game, but the total opposite happened. The Polish team had one shot on target in the beginning of the half and never really threatened Icon after that. Icon had multiple goalscoring opportunities to put the game away for good. Icon’s Andy Cesti tried to chip the ball over the Wallington goalkeeper, but his attempt went wide. Argjent Duka had a chance to score his second goal of the match after shooting the ball from distance, but his attempt flew a few inches over the crossbar.
Icon’s best chance came when Nelson Becerra was alone in the box one-on-one with the goalkeeper, with all the time in the world to put the ball in the back of the net, but managed to hit the post and allow the goalkeeper to pounce on the rebound. Icon had two more one-on-one opportunities to score, but Wallington keeper Marcin Czerwinski came up huge on both attempts.
Czerwinski’s attempt to keep a second half clean sheet came to an end when he was beaten by one of his own teammates. Becerra’s low cross into the box was tapped into the back of the net by Wallington’s Marcin Decowski as he attempted to clear the ball out of the box making it 4-0 for Icon. After the fourth goal Icon dominated the pace of the game and was able keep away any possible threat from Wallington.
At the end of the game, Icon manager Greg Bajek expressed how much of an honor it is to play in the USASA Region I quarterfinal.
“This is a great opportunity for us to play a USL team,” said Bajek. “This new experience will be great for the development of our players.”
New Jersey Semifinals
Polonia Wallington SC 2:1 (aet) Go Soccer FC
Jersey Shore Boca 2:2 Icon FC
Icon FC advances 5-4 in penalty kicks
New Jersey Final (March 24)
Polonia Wallington 0:4 Icon FC
Recent New Jersey Open Cup champions
2013: Icon FC
2012: Jersey Shore Boca
2011: Go Soccer FC
2010: Go Soccer FC
2009: Go Soccer FC
2008: SC Vistula Garfield*
2007: No entry
2006: Sport Club Portuguese
2005: Kappa Real Wyckoff
2004: Sport Club Portuguese
2003: SC Vistula Garfield
2002: ZPA Perth Amboy
2001: ZPA Perth Amboy
2000: SC Vistula Garfield
1999: SC Vistula Garfield
1998: SC Vistula Garfield
* Withdrew from USASA Region I tournament
2013 USASA Region I Finals (US Open Cup qualifying)
Quarterfinals (April 7)
New York Pancyprian Freedoms (ENY) at Newtown SC (CT)
Treadwell Park (Newtown, CT) – 4 p.m. ET [MAP]
Mass Premier Soccer (MA) at Rhode Island Reds FC (RI)
Cranston Stadium (Cranston, RI) – 2 p.m. ET [MAP]
Icon FC (NJ) at West Chester United (EPA)
Delacy Soccer Complex No. 4 (West Chester, PA) – 2 p.m. ET [MAP]
Dulles Sportsplex Aegean Hawks FC (DC/VA) at Screaming Eagles (MD)
Cedar Lane Regional Park (Bel Air, MD) – 1:30 p.m. ET – [MAP]
Semifinals (April 21)
Semifinal winners both qualify for 2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup