FC Motown came from behind to defeat the New York Red Bulls Under-23s, 2-1 in the opening round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. All the goals came in a thrilling first half where both teams threatened to score multiple times. Former MLS player Dilly Duka was the star of the night scoring a brace for his new club.
It was the first Open Cup win in club history for the team formerly known as the Clarkstown Eagles. The Eagles had qualified out of the NPSL for the past two years, and this past offseason announced that they were merging with FC Motown and would take their name. (FC Motown, the team that competed in the 2017 US Open Cup, still competes in the Garden State Soccer League)
It was all going well for the Red Bulls U-23s early on as they constantly put pressure on the hosts. Some exciting play in the final third led to the first goal, which was headed in by Brian Saramago in the 21st minute of play. Sean Teixeira got the assist with a delicious curling cross from the right side. The MLS Academy side was dominant leading up to this moment.
The next 10 minutes were vital for Motown’s victory. They took control of the match and created chance after chance. They were eventually rewarded for their improved play with an equalizing goal in the 35th minute scored by Duka. Chris Cartona tracked down a loose ball on the right wing and played a ball into the middle to an onrushing Duka who took a touch at the top of the D and fired a left-footed blast into the back of the net with force.
Duka’s first goal for FC Motown
It wasn’t long before he got a second. Just nine minutes later Duka scored again after the ball fell to him on a long throw-in. The ball was headed straight up in the air and Duka, shielding off a defender just outside the six-yard box, brought the ball down, turned, and volleyed the ball inside the far post.
A pair of first half goals in the first half helped Duka earn high praise from head coach, Sacir Hot.
“Duka is a game changer,” he said. “It is almost like we have a DP (Designated Player) for an NPSL club.”
Duka’s game-winning volley
It was not all good on the day for FC Motown. Walter Calderon was shown a red card in the 84th minute meaning the midfielder will not be eligible to play in the Second Round. There was speculation that he was sent off for spitting.
For the last six minutes, plus the 10 minutes of stoppage time added on at the end of the match, Motown held on while they were down a man. It was no easy task as they struggled to keep the ball out of their own half. They could not get a hold of possession for more than a few seconds, which meant the Red Bulls U23’s had plenty of chances.
In total, the MLS Academy side had 10 shots, with six of them being on target. Motown let fire 14 times on the night, but only managed five on target. Motown goalkeeper, Ryan Baird, made five saves on the night and managed to keep his team in it.
For Duka, a US youth international who spent time with four different MLS teams (Chicago Fire, Montreal Impact, Columbus Crew – twice, New York Red Bulls), playing for FC Motown is a strange choice for a 28-year-old with his credentials. His motivation for signing was to get some playing time as he slowly recovers from offseason ankle surgery.
Duka’s two goals against Red Bulls U-23s were the first two US Open Cup goals of his career, and gives himself a little bit of family bragging rights. Prior to this game, the only member of his family to score an Open Cup goal was his older brother Argjent Duka, who scored four goals (including a hat trick) for the New Jersey-based amateur side Icon FC back in 2013. While his Argjent’s team only lasted two rounds that year, Dilly played a big role with the Chicago Fire team that reached the Semifinals that year.
Sacir Hot also mentioned that he is “excited” to get a shot at a pro team in the second round.
“Penn FC has been a really good pro USL franchise for a long time,” Hot added.
FC Motown will host Penn FC, the team formerly known as the Harrisburg City Islanders, on Wednesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. The match will be played at Ranger Stadium on the campus of Drew University in Madison, NJ.
Coach Hot thinks this match can put FC Motown on the map.
“The only way to get ourselves on the map is to beat a USL team,” he said. Since the league was founded in 2003, only one NPSL team (Chattanooga FC eliminated the Wilmington Hammerheads twice) has eliminated a pro team. FC Motown is aiming to be added to that list.