The stage is set as FC Motown plays host to Miami FC in what is shaping up to be one of the biggest sporting events in Morris County New Jersey’s History!
The road to the finals was certainly no cake walk for FC Motown. After cruising through much of the regular season to a 9-1-0 record good enough for first place in the competitive Keystone Conference Division, Motown would begin it challenging run, including playing 4 playoff games in 10 days. First up was FC Monmouth in the Keystone Conference Semifinals, who Motown was able to defeat 4-1. Next came their foes who had seemed to have Motown’s number after handing Motown its only loss of the regular season in the finale, West Chester United. In a potentially season ending game, Motown found themselves down 1-0 in the dying minutes of play. As if it were written in a movie, Motown stormed back to tie the game and prevail in a shootout. The Keystone Conference Title was theirs.
The game’s would not get any easier from their however. FC Motown would face a spirited FC Baltimore team in the Northeast Region Semifinals. Motown would blank them 3-0 and advance to the Northeast Region to take on, at the time, their toughest opponents to date. In what would be a clash between the two titans of the Northeast Conference, Motown found themselves with a 3-0 lead against the storied New York Cosmos. However, the Cosmos would not go quiet into the night. In stoppage time, the Cosmos would get two late goals to cut Motown’s lead to one. It was Motown’s keeper, Danso, who would make a critical save off a set piece to end the game, with Motown advancing to the NPSL National Seminfinals, as the representative of the Northeast Conference.
Last weekend was yet another dramatic finish for FC Motown. In front of a record setting crowd, Motown dominated FCM Portland in the first half, but found themselves without a goal, tied heading into the half. In the second half, Duka drove a ball into the bottom right corner and it felt like Motown had finally opened the flood gates. However, not even ten minutes later, Portland came back with a goal of its own to tie things up. Portland’s goalie played heroically and FC Motown found itself in extra time. It wasn’t until the 120th minute of extra time when FC Motown would finally break past the keeper. Off a beautiful cross from Terci, it was D. Nigro who found the ball with his head and put it into the bottom left corner.
Portland was stunned and had little time to recoup after that. The soccer gods were smiling down on Motown as it was truly a game that could have gone either way. Head Coach Sacir Hot had to say the following after his teams 2-1 victory over Portland to advance to the National Finals “Tonight wasn’t our night with finishing. We had about six chances that we should have tucked away. A couple of 1 v 1s with the goalie. He was phenomenal tonight. The guy stood on his head and kept his team in this game. Sometimes it just doesn’t want to go in.”
So its on to the National Championship now against Miami FC. Motown knows they will be facing their toughest challenge yet, but they are up to the task. FC Motown earned the right to host the National Finals being the higher seed of the two. The match is set to take place at Ranger Stadium on the Campus of Drew University, in Madison New Jersey. It is shaping up to be one of the biggest sporting events in Morris County’s history. Tyler Adam’s of the New York Red Bulls will be in attendance signing autographs and taking pictures before the game.
Co-owner Oliver Papraniku had the following to say about the opportunity to host the National Final “FC Motown has worked extremely hard to get into the NPSL finals, and we would like to welcome Miami FC 2 to New Jersey for this epic battle. We will continue our attractive offensive game while continuously focusing on our strong defense. This game will be a pleasure to watch for all soccer fans. FC Motown will look to continue to make a name for the organization and provide our players the highest level of competition.”
FC Motown knows to win, it will need to play its best game yet. Miami FC has been in cruise control all throughout their playoff run, playing some of their best soccer of the season. “We have to play a perfect game in order to try to beat them.” said Motown’s coach, Sacir Hot. For a team that started as just a co-ed team playing in the No Idea Sports League just a few years ago, a lot is on the table for the taking. The motto remains the same as it has all season. Survive and Advance. If Motown are successful one final time, they will find themselves celebrating a National Championship in their first year of NPSL action in front of what is sure to be a packed stadium.