HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. - Penn FC overcame a sluggish start to win its first preseason game against LIU Brooklyn 2-1 Friday Night.
Penn FC pushed up the field aggressively to open the game before LIU Brooklyn gained possession and initiated its own counter-attack. Quick passing up the middle of the field created an opening as LIU Brooklyn snuck the ball past Penn FC keeper Sean Lewis to take a 1-0 lead in the second minute.
Head Coach Raoul Voss urged his players to tighten up their defense while the Northeast Conference Runner-Ups celebrated their early goal. Penn FC responded with stronger possession and build up play, and the equalizer seemed inevitable as the first half progressed.
"Overall, I am happy with the performance but it wasn't easy," stated Voss. "Most of the guys haven't played since October last year and that was the end of the season, so you could tell that it was a little rusty in the beginning and we had to find our rhythm. Once we found our rhythm, I thought we played very good. It is going to take some time to figure out exactly how we want to play but overall, I am very happy with the performance."
In the 13th minute, Penn FC earned a free kick about 25 feet from the goal. The kick was low and deflected off the wall, but a waiting Penn FC player nearly headed in the deflection. Another Penn FC set piece from the corner led to a header in the 20th minute that went just wide of the goal.
The teams vied for possession before Penn FC played a cross in the 33rd minute that flew directly into the box. The LIU Brooklyn defense scrambled to the ball and barely cleared the ball out of the danger zone.
After repeated attempts, Penn FC finally broke through and earned the equalizer in the 40th minute. A long ball played from the center of the defensive end found the waiting feet of Pedro Galvão in the left side of the box. Galvão blasted the one-timer into the back of the net, and the game was knotted up at 1-1.
Following a frigid halftime, Penn FC picked up where it left off in the first half. The team earned a corner in the 49th minute that forced another LIU Brooklyn scramble and clearance. Penn FC continued its strong possession as it built up for the go-ahead goal.
In the 57th minute, clever passing in the box from Calvin Rezende left an opening in front of the goal as the ball glided to Aaron Dennis. Dennis quickly powered the ball into the back of the net which proved to be the game-winning goal.
Penn FC continued to win the possession battle during the second half and prevented LIU Brooklyn from equalizing. Finally, the referee’s whistle blew for the last time and Penn FC walked off the field with its first win of the preseason.
Penn FC prepares for its next preseason game against interstate USL rival Bethlehem Steel on February 21 at 1:30 p.m. The game will be played at YSC Sports in Wayne, Pennsylvania.