April 6, 2019
Unfortunately, IPSFC lost to Academica SC 3-1 in a penalty kick shootout after 120 minutes of football ended in a 3-3 tie.
IPSFC went ahead in the middle of the first half when a long ball up the middle from goalkeeper Bernardo Palma Sosa found striker Nathan Pogue, who finished from close range after the ball bounced over the Academica center back's head. The visitors increased their lead with a Gerson Mejia long-range strike from 30 yards after he freed himself for a run with the ball in the middle of the park.
Towards the end of the second half, Paco Alcides Thomas received a second yellow card and left the pitch with a red card, leaving IPSFC to defend with 10 men for the final minutes. The pressure grew and Academica equalized after a scramble in the box and then, just 2 minutes later, struck again after a long ball into the box fell to an Academica player who lobbed nicely into the top of the net over the IPS goalkeeper.
Red cards would fly soon after extra time started with Gerson Mejia and an Academica player receiving straight reds from an altercation after a hard Academica foul. Despite the emotional letdown from losing a two-goal lead in stoppage time, and continuing to play a man down (now 10 versus 9), IPSFC responded in the first extra time period with a Borce Atanasov strike from the edge of the box to make it 3-2. But yet again Academica fought back and gained a free kick to the left of the goal from 24 yards and it was struck nicely into the top far corner of the net to tie the game at 3-3. The home squad then went on the take the penalty shootout, 3-1.
The Academica pitch was grass with a large hometown crowd providing an electric atmosphere which was heightened by the massive swings of momentum, red cards and dramatic goals of this epic match. Despite the end result, IPSFC progressed farther in the qualifying stages of the 2019 Lamar Hunt Open Cup than in any previous campaign. Credit goes to our players, head coach Harvey Hurst, and the rest of the management staff and a big thank you to the Timbers Army and multiple other donors to the IPS Open Cup GoFundMe fundraiser (https://www.gofundme.com/ipsfc-open-cup-fundraiser?teamInvite=Z83QLqRgwn6nMyYlPw7y0lf1nVCrT1v2shB2AevWeyDb3CSFFcl6xi1DQ7AU9X0D&fbclid=IwAR33d_6U5uOiCBgg4TzlrxHmAZDhMplAWKaV0Ccc4HPk-ie4eaEVhFHxKfM).
(photo: Brittney Virgo)