Ebere Goodluck of Junior Lone Star dribbles against Brick Lions FC in the 2017 US Open Cup qualifying match. Photo: Junior Lone Star
Junior Lone Star advanced to the next round in the 2017 US Open Cup with a 3-2 win over New Jersey’s Brick Lions FC.
It was an exciting first half between Brick Lions FC and the Philadelphia-based Junior Lone Star at Pinewood Park in Brick, NJ. The action started early when BLFC took the lead in the 6th minute through Benji Vergara. Cody Calafiore whipped a dangerous cross to Chris Katona at the far post, who then headed the ball towards the top of the six yard box for Vergara to volley home.
About midway through the first half the visitors, Junior Lone Star, started to gain momentum. In the 26th minute Anthony Allison was brought down in the box, but no penalty was given. Three minutes later, Allison was taken out by the goalkeeper and this time the referee had no choice but to point to the penalty spot. The man who created the penalty stood up and hit it off the post and into the back of the net from 12 yards out to tie the game.
Junior Lone Star poses for a team photo before their 2017 US Open Cup qualifier against Brick Lions FC. Photo: Junior Lone Star
Brick were the better team for the majority of the second half. They took their second lead of the game in the 59th minute when Olsen-Barr headed a corner kick into the back of the net. Calafiore, who was involved in the first goal, got the assist.
Junior Lone Star kept the fighting spirit alive with Ebere Goodluck equalizing in the 74th minute. Goodluck gathered the loose ball in the box and finished impressively into the top right corner from a tight angle. The goalkeeper never had a chance to get to it. The Stars had been dominated in the second half, but found a way back in the match.
Joshua Chelleh is the star of the match after putting Junior Lone Star in front in the 82nd minute. He received the pass from Allison and quickly got the shot past the keeper to put his team in the next round.
Junior Lone Star Head Coach, Bobby Ali, praised his team’s “fighting spirit.”
Junior Lone Star has been a regular entry in US Open Cup qualifying since 2011, but has yet to qualify for the tournament. Last year, they fell short in the opening round of the open division tournament, losing an extra time match with West Chester United. With West Chester losing their second round match to Christos FC, JLS are now the last remaining Philadelphia-area club in the tournament.