FC Monmouth Earns Three Points on the Road
HERSHEY, PA - FC Monmouth took all three points from Hershey FC with a 3-1 victory at Hershey High School on Saturday night, improving their record to 3-1-1 on the season.
“We fought really hard,” said forward Regsan Watkins. “We knew coming here that we were going to have to fight for the three points, it wasn’t going to be given to us. We just fought really hard, scored three very opportunistic goals, we knew our game plan from the start. Obviously we were gonna make a few mistakes, but we stuck to it and just really stuck it out and got an important three points.”
After a quiet opening period, Watkins was brought down in the penalty area by a Hershey defender in the 23rd minute. Watkins fired his stutter-stepping penalty kick into the bottom left corner past the goalkeeper to open the scoring.
“I knew that I didn’t want to let anyone else take it, being a forward, being a goalscorer, so I just took it. I knew that if I picked a spot and hit it well it was going to go in, and fortunately it did go in even though the keeper did go the right way. I guess I just hit it really well, so I was pleased with that,” Watkins said.
Goalkeeper Trevor Zabilowicz, who made his first start for the club on Saturday, made a strong save to his right less than ten minutes later to keep FC Monmouth in front.
Moments before the half-time whistle, midfielder Bryant Knibbs hit the post from close range, seeing FC Monmouth go into the break just a goal up.
Head Coach Brian Woods said, “We were able to be a little bit better with the way our structure and formation was in the second half, we kept our shape a little bit better so we were able to shut them down more than we were in the first half, and I was happy that we were able to make those adjustments.”
Ten minutes into the second half, FC Monmouth doubled their advantage through midfielder Dylan Fogerty. After a Watkins shot from inside of the six-yard box was saved, the Blue and Gold recycled possession and created another chance within seconds. Fogerty was slipped in behind by a pass from forward Brian Hawkins, and he sent a low shot across goal that hit off of the far post and went in.
“I found the ball outside the top of the box, cut it to my left, and at that point all I needed to do was place it bottom corner,” said Fogerty. “It was a good moment, I felt like it really turned the game around and brought us all to the next level.”
Ten minutes after Fogerty’s goal, Hershey scored when a long distance shot snuck past a screened Zabilowicz and trickled into the back of the net.
“Zabilowicz, who stepped in for Jake Leahy, was very good,” said Woods. “Even though we gave up that goal, he was kind of shielded and didn’t know it was coming to him, but I thought that he did a great job and I was happy with his performance.”
Assistant Coach turned player-coach Nick LaBrocca subbed into the match in the 56th minute, making his FC Monmouth debut. “I thought that Nicky LaBrocca came in and he did a good job of just settling us down, and being able to keep our shape a little bit better when he was in the middle of the park,” Woods said. “I’m just happy to see him out there, going forward I thought that that was a good thing for us.”
FC Monmouth responded to Hershey’s goal quickly, restoring their two-score lead just five minutes later. A shot on target from forward Anes Mrkulic was parried by the goalkeeper directly into the path of defender Pablo Fonseca, who dumped his first goal for the club into the net.
“It was a nice play, I really had the opportunity,” said Fonseca. “I was in a good place, I was in the place that I needed to be.”
Woods was quick to give credit to the opposition after the match. “To be honest, I thought that Hershey did a great job against us,” he said. “I thought that their tactics and their ability to move the ball around the field gave us a lot of trouble.”
FC Monmouth held the advantage in shots (17-9) and shots on target (9-3) over Hershey. “I also thought that the back line did their job again, and in this case the back line needed to do their job,” said Woods.
Fonseca said, “They have a lot of order when they attack, they have very fast players, very strong players. We kept the shape between the match, we played very well. My partners [Dylan] McDonald, [Andrew] Venezia, and Zach Pereira, we did a great job today.”
FC Monmouth is next in action on Wednesday night, when they will travel out to Pennsylvania again to take on Electric City Shock SC at 7:30 p.m.