HARRISBURG, Pa. – Penn FC will clash with National Premier Soccer League side FC Motown in Madison, N.J., Wednesday, May 16, as Rush Soccer’s First Team looks to earn its first-ever win in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Penn FC heads into its first Open Cup match after earning a 1-0 win at Toronto FC II on May 9. In front of Toronto FC II’s record crowd, Penn FC midfielder Miguel Jaime scored the game winner -- his first goal of the season -- from the left wing, 30-plus yards away from the goal.
Penn FC finished its three-game gauntlet 2-1-0 and earned its first home and away victories. The six points earned against Tampa Bay and at Toronto proved crucial as the Blue and White kept pace in the USL’s Eastern Conference Standings.
Head Coach Raoul Voss noted that the team enjoyed some well-deserved rest after playing three games in six days last week.
“We were happy to take a break after the Toronto game,” Voss said. “The guys needed that mentally and now we’ve been focusing a little bit more on how we wanna play, our style on the ball, and how we can create a few more chances. That’s been the main focus.”
FC Motown showed grit in their first-round matchup against New York Red Bulls U23. Motown trailed early after conceding a goal in the opening 20 minutes. However, Dilly Duka showed off his lethal right foot in the closing minutes of the first half. He snagged a brace in an 11-minute span to equalize and give FC Motown the go-ahead goal. Despite a Motown player receiving a straight red card in the 85th minute, the team held on for the win.
Voss and the team took note of Motown’s class during preparation.
“We looked at everything, all the film and everything we could see, and Motown is a good club,” Voss said. “I believe they are first in their division. They have Hunter Freeman, Dilly Duka, and Julius James - quite a few really experienced former MLS guys. We’re taking them very seriously. It’s gonna be a good game and good opponent.”
The tight window between USL matches and Open Cup matches was a reality the team prepared for months in advance. The team is used to the lineup fluidity, and Voss will look to some new players to log their first appearances with the club at Motown.
“We basically rotated the squad a lot already and continued doing so with our schedule,” Voss said. “Some new faces, but most of them have played already in the USL. Part of the reason why we got a little bit bigger roster is because we got handed the schedule, and, playing so many back-to-back games, we knew we needed to rotate a little more than other teams. We saw that we can count on everybody.”
Penn FC and FC Motown will kick off at 7 p.m. at Ranger Field on the campus of Drew University. Fans unable to make the trip can watch the match’s live stream on US Soccer’s official website. The winner of the matchup will face the winner of Richmond Kickers and Reading United AC in the third round on May 23.