In the first game of a doubleheader featuring the Junior Lone Star FC, the Under-23s kept the club’s flag flying in the tournament. The Under-23s may be a youthful team, but they played like veterans in their first US Open Cup Qualifying win. The U-23s erased an early deficit against Salone FC to win 3-1.
On a warm Saturday afternoon, Salone FC came out hot. After a few early missed chances, Salone’s Thaimu Turay found space down the right side of the field and crossed the ball to Nyakeh Kamara, who calmly side-footed it into the net.
Junior Lone Star kept its calm despite the early goal. Perhaps this could be attributed to familiarity of opponent as both teams play in the Philadelphia Premier Soccer League. In the 2017 Spring season, the U-23s finished second, while Salone finished fifth in the six-team league.
For the next 20 minutes after Salone FC scored, Junior Lone Star worked its way more and more into the game. The U-23s were rewarded for their efforts in the 35th minute. Siafa Dempster got the ball in the middle of the field, and he found Kanibah Kutu-Akoi in the box. Kutu-Akoi, who was born in Monrovia, Liberia, made no mistake and equalized the contest at 1-1.
Junior Lone Star quickly turned a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead, scoring again in the 39th minute. Momoh Dolley ran into the box from the right, and with no defenders pressing him, he put in a hard-angle shot that beat the Salone keeper.
The U-23s put the game out of reach shortly after the start of the second half. In almost the exact same circumstances as his earlier goal, Dolley ran in from the right and scored again at the near post past the Salone goalie.
The Junior Lone Star U-23s calmly and professionally saw out the rest of the contest, earning its first Open Cup qualifying win in its first attempt.