Going into the month of July, Penn FC appeared to lose their mojo as they dropped games against Ottawa and Richmond. The Penn FC attack had seemingly dried up, and some defensive mistakes allowed the other sides to get the better of them. It was uncertain how they would look after they went through their bye week, but based on Saturday night’s performance against Charlotte, they appear to have gotten some of their issues straightened out.
Penn FC made a few switches to their starting lineup to make up for the fact that regular starters Freddy Opoku and Isaac Osae have been spotted on trial at HB Koge in Denmark. New signing Walter Ramirez made the start on the left side while Paulo Jr. continues to work on the right. In practice, Penn FC worked in a 4-4-2 formation for most of the first half with Aaron Dennis and Lucky Mkosana working together as the strikers.
That formation was effective defensively, but it didn’t result in many offensive chances for Penn FC. In fact, the entire first half was a bit of a slog as neither side come up with any dangerous chances. Charlotte only registered one shot the entire half and Penn FC only generated four. The only shot on goal was a Lucky Mkosana shot from distance that didn’t really trouble goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra.
Charlotte made one change at the half as Ricardo Perez was subbed in as a midfielder. Penn FC stuck to their same lineup. So it was more of the same to start off the second half as the Penn FC defense held tough but the offense couldn’t get anything going themselves. Penn FC relied heavily on crosses during the match and they made twenty-five to Charlotte’s eight.
The Jacks finally managed to beat the Penn FC defense in the 64th minute behind a great play by Alex Martinez. Martinez was smothered on the left side of the box but dribbled himself free in order to send a cross to the far post that found the head of Eamon Zayed. Zayed buried it past Romu Peiser and Charlotte was up 1-0. Spoiler alert, but it was Charlotte’s second and final shot of the night.
As is customary, Penn FC responded to going down a goal by stepping on the gas and increasing the pressure. It’s usually not a good thing to concede on the road, but the way that Penn FC has played from behind at times this season it seemed like that was just what they needed to get the offense fired up. Raoul Voss helped out by subbing in midfielder Prince Baffoe for Marco Franco in the 70th minute. This appeared to change the shape for Penn FC as they moved to a three man back line.
This paid off quickly in the 72nd minute after Harri Hawkins made an interception and blasted it forward for Dennis. Dennis was able to shake off a Charlotte defender before sending a rocket from the top of the box past Dykstra. The equalizer was Dennis’ first regular season goal for Penn FC.
With about twenty minutes to play, both sides were looking for a winner. It was Penn FC who came closest and it wasn’t until late into stoppage time. Baffoe made a beautiful run up the right side, much like he did against Louisville, and passed to an open Jorge Rivera in front of the net. Rivera put his shot on frame, but former City Islander Bilal Duckett blocked the ball away for a corner kick. Hawkins nearly got a winner on the ensuing kick, but it was blocked out as well.
Charlotte had a final chance of their own as they were awarded a free kick just past midfield. It was past the end of stoppage time, so it was certain to be the final play of the game. But there was a foul on the kick, and the final whistle blew with the score locked at 1-1.
- Both teams played nice in the first half and no cards were handed out. That changed in the second half as both sides combined for five yellow cards total. Dan Metzger picked up one of them after he just served a suspension for yellow card accumulation.
- As mentioned earlier, Penn FC attempted tons of crosses throughout the night, but they couldn’t quite get the right people at the end of them. We’ll see if that continues to be a trend going forward.