Beaman United FC booked a spot in the 2023 edition of the US Open Cup after emerging victorious over D’Feeters Kicks SC in a 120-minute 4-3 victory. D’Feeters twice took the lead in regulation but were pegged back twice and eventually defeated by the home team in extra time. Beaman United’s hero was goalkeeper Alejandro Rodriguez who saved two penalties, one deep into extra time, to push his team to victory.
The message was clear from the beginning: “win and you’re in.” Anticipation for the game was only expounded as travel delays pushed back kickoff, but both teams were ready for the first whistle to start the battle.
The game quickly settled in a clear pattern: hosts Beaman looked to possess and break down their opponents, while D’Feeters stayed compact, springing forward on counter-attack opportunities.
The visitors found success early on. Oscar Ocampo hit a shot off the post in the 5th minute, and Juan Ramirez forced a big save from a 1-on-1 chance in the 11th minute. However, the visitors were not to be held at bay forever. In the 15th minute, Johnathon Diaz played a curling through ball with the outside of his foot to find Oscar Ocampo’s run behind the defense. Ocampo rounded the keeper and slotted home to put D’Feeters up 1-0.
In the 20th minute, Beaman had a chance to equalize from a corner as Kwadwo Poku’s header hit the post. The ball quickly traveled to the other end of the field where Juan Ramirez was taken down in the box to earn a penalty for D’Feeters. Beaman keeper Alejandro Ramirez dove correctly and saved his first penalty of the night to keep Beaman in the game. The game remained 1-0 at the half.
Beaman United pushed for an early second half equalizer and found it in the 50th minute. Hayden Black cushioned a cross into the path of Seth Poku, who had time to line up a sweetly hit half-volley to level the score.
D’Feeters went back in front in the 61st minute when Paul Gorish finished off a mazy run with a low strike to take back a 2-1 lead. Just six minutes later, Seth Poku won a penalty and converted for Beaman to bring the score back to 2-2. More chances came throughout a physical second half, but the teams were destined for extra time as the final whistle blew with the teams level.
Five minutes into extra time, Beaman took the lead for the first time as Nathaniel Bedai struck a beautiful volley from the top of the box to sneak past the keeper and put the hosts ahead 3-2.
The second half of extra time got even crazier. After hitting the post again in the 107th minute, D’Feeters earned a penalty that Roberto Gonzalez converted to level the score in the 113th minute. In the 117th minute, Joseph Omondi chested down a cross and slammed it home to put the home side up 4-3. The game appeared to be decided, but in the 118th minute D’Feeters earned yet another penalty, their third of the night. Alejandro Ramirez stepped up again to save his second penalty and preserve the lead.
“I just try to watch the way the player is going to run, look at his body, and then just trust myself, play mind games, tell them I know where you’re going,” Ramirez said about how he was able to save two of the three penalties he faced.
After four nervy minutes of stoppage time, the final whistle blew, and Beaman United FC had a ticket to the US Open Cup.
“It was a good team effort so I’m thankful for them,” Ramirez said.
Head coach Gift Ndam added: “I’m just excited that we won. D’Feeters are a great team. I just want to go celebrate with the guys.” When asked how it feels to have a place in the US Open Cup, h had only three words: “It feels great!”