The Philadelphia Fury and Atlantic City Crusaders opened their inaugural seasons the biggest they could. The Philadelphia Fury and AC Crusaders played high scoring game that ended with a walk off brace to give AC a 6-5 win in the very first American Soccer League game.
Philadelphia Fury lose 6-5 in thrilling American Soccer League debut
Philadelphia Fury fall to AC Crusaders in exciting season opening Derby
Fury midfielder Josh Chellah scored first when he received a lob from Seydou Ba and headed the ball into the goal in the 7th minute to become the first player to score in the ASL.
The Crusaders got themselves on the board soon with two quick goals in the 28th minute. First, Kyle Martin dribbled around two Fury defenders to and got his shot past keeper Thorne Holder to equal the score.
Seconds later Dodji Freitus took advantage of a quick counter-attacking pass to get another pass Holder to give AC the lead.
In the 34th minute Ansger Otto, who just signed with the Fury couple days before, scored when he collected the ball that was scrambled for in the box and shot it past AC keeper Tetsuya Okuda. Minutes later Otto was pulled down in the box and was given a penalty. He took it and scored to give Philadelphia the 3-2 lead at the half.
The second half would be one for the history books.
Rodney Aguirre of AC opened the scoring, equalizing goal in the 54th minute when found himself with the ball in a scramble in the box and put it past Holder. Otto would put the Fury back out front scoring in the 57th getting his hat trick and making the score 4-3.
The Crusaders would equalize in the 78th when Adam Sternberger converted a PK to get the teams leveled. It was broken later when Sternberger's free kick from 30 yards out was connected by Marko Tomljanovic who broke free from his defender and got on the end of the pass and headed the ball past Holder into the goal. The score was now 5-4 at this point.
Philadelphia kept fighting. In the first minute of stoppage time Josh Danza collected another scramble ball in box a shot the ball into the net from two yards out to equalize at 5-5
Then the dramatic part that no one saw coming. The Crusaders were given a free kick in the 96th minute. From 30 yards out Adam Sternberger stepped up to take the shot. It went in. A brace. Referee blows his whistle. Game over.
Wow. The perfect way to end a Derby match.
Both teams are owned by Fury head coach Matt Driver but the Crusaders are seen as the little brother of the two with the lesser budget and not as many stars. Their upset of the Fury was a big feather in their cap.
For the Fury it showed their weakness is their defense and needs to be corrected. While it is the first game a repeated performance next week in their home opener will be a problem.
Since the other ASL match of the day Mass United and Icon FC ending in a 1-1 draw, the Crusaders find themselves on top of the table.
The Fury look to change their fortunes as they open up at Washington Township High School next Saturday for the home opener against Icon FC. The Crusaders meanwhile travel to Maryland to play the Evergreen Diplomats on the same day.
Foday Kamara, AC Crusders, Midfielder
-"Hard to believe, 6-5, we worked our socks off. Hard work pays off."
-"First real game together and beginning of good things to come."
Matt Driver, Head Coach of Philadelphia Fury. Owner of both Fury and Crusaders-"It was an exciting game, but we made so many mistakes and it wasn't good enough."
-"The Crusaders worked really their bollacks off and did what they suppose to do and we did not play for each other."
-"Icon will tear us apart if we play like that next week."
Graham Charters, General Manager of both Fury and Crusaders.
-"Delighted with AC's performance. It was very admirable. However on the flip side the Fury need to get better offense and defensively."
-"Adam Sternberger is one of the best players in South Jersey. But don't forget the other on the field. They put on great entertainment value for money and every player lived up to that."
-"For next week we need to psychologically assess the players. They equalized in the 95th minute and lost in the 96th. They need to take a look at themselves and we will go from there."
Nico Tramotana, AC Crusaders, Defender
-"Pretty unbelievable. For us to go up and go down and go up we kept our composure and the crowd vibed with us."
-"Five goals is way to much. We need to get the guys here to solidify certain areas in the back compact little mistakes.
Adam Sternberger, AC Crusader, Midfielder
-"I'm one of the older guys out here and I can't say I've hit a walk off before. But to do one and have the crowd cheer is a good way to end the game."
Thorne Holder, Philadelphia Fury, Goalkeeper
-"I can't remember most of my saves. I remember the last goal. There were many inconsistencies and they capitalized on them."
-"I felt good. There could be improvements in my game and going into next week that's what I'm focusing on."
Matt Freeman, Philadelphia Fury, defender
-"Disappointing. Put in a lot of hard work in. Good start, few mistakes led to goals and not easy to take. Just got to regroup and get ready for next week."
-"You defend from all parts of the field. As an eleven we got to look where we could have done better."
Kyle Hall, Assistant Coach AC Crusaders.
-"Fantastic way to start to season. We showed a real together was within the group. No egos and that's what we implemented."
-"Even though we scored six goals there's negatives that come with that. Once we got the lead and we were never able to keep the lead. Even though we won the game there's definitely work to do."
-"We are not perfect. The team balance is great on the field, but we are no where near perfect."
-It's a great soccer community (Egg Harbor Township.) If we can get the word out that were an exciting team people will come and watch. The fans who came out tonight obviously enjoyed themselves."