Here’s a bit of a philosophical question for you, which type of loss hurts the worst? Is it better to be blown out and know that the loss is coming, or would you rather see your team keep it close for the majority of the match, only to fall in the end? Penn FC fans experienced both of these this week as the team fell 3-0 to Louisville City FC on Wednesday night and then losing a close 2-1 match against FC Cincinnati on Saturday.
Penn FC came out swinging against Louisville and Lucky Mkosana nearly headed in a shot in the second minute, but it went just high and wide. It would have been appropriate if head had managed to put it away because he’d scored his first goal of the season after about thirteen seconds when the team first visited Louisville. Scoring very early against Louisville could have been his new thing.
It was a mostly even match until things got a little odd in the 24th minute. Walter Ramirez was making a run defended by Pat McMahon and both men crashed to the ground as Ramirez ran the ball out of play for a goal kick. A yellow card was produced for the foul, but no penalty kick was awarded. Not only that, it seemed like the players weren’t sure who got the card.
Penn FC was still distracted by this call when Louisville struck first in the 25th minute. Paulo DelPiccolo headed a ball for the far post off of a free kick and Romu Peiser didn’t even get to reach for it. Louisville quickly doubled their advantage in the 27th minute when Niall McCabe received a service from Jonathan Lewis inside the Penn FC box. McCabe had plenty of space so he banged it home inside the far post as well to leave Louisville up 2-0.
Penn FC pushed to respond right away, but the early chances right after the two goals couldn’t find the back of the net. Paulo Jr. sent one off of the post in the 30th minute that would have provided some much needed momentum. Miguel Jaime and Calvin Rezende both nearly put one away in the 32nd minute, but their shots were blocked or saved. Penn FC went into the half with better numbers for shots and possession, but Louisville’s lead seemed insurmountable.
Louisville was able to dig in during the second half and neither of Penn FC’s two shots on goal troubled the keeper too much. It looked like Penn FC was going to have a new chance in the 75th minute when McMahon received a second yellow card for a foul on Ramirez. So he indeed received the yellow in the first half, and it appeared that he was unaware because it took some time to remove him from the field after his red.
But Louisville made some subs to change their formation and the defense was able to hold up well even with ten men. In fact, it was Louisville who scored again at the end of regulation off of a penalty kick. McCabe was dragged down in the area and Luke Spencer stepped up to bury the penalty. The 3-0 final was Penn FC’s worst loss since their away match against North Carolina FC in April.
There was no time for Penn FC to ponder over their loss as the Eastern Conference leaders FC Cincinnati were due at City Island in just a few days.
Penn FC went through a bit of roster rotation as Sean Lewis came in for Romu Peiser and players like Lucky Mkosana and Walter Ramirez started on the bench. This will save some of those players for next week’s match against Pittsburgh while also giving players like Isaac Osae a chance to get back into a groove after missing some time. FC Cincinnati rotated out starters as well and Fanendo Adi was nowhere to be seen.
Both teams stayed level during the early going of the match, including an odd exchange in the 7th minute that saw Penn FC’s Tiago Calvano and Cincy’s Danni Konig receiving yellow cards. Beyond that, the Penn FC defense held up well as they didn’t slip up and allow the opportunities on goal that they did to Louisville.
Penn FC was able to seize their opportunity off of a free kick in the 33rd minute. Richard Menjivar sent in a cross that was deflected slightly by Kyle Venter before Harri Hawkins headed it to Paulo Jr. at the far post. Paulo could just tap it into the open net and suddenly Penn FC had the lead over a team that hasn’t lost since May.
FC Cincinnati still didn’t have much urgency after going down a goal. Penn FC actually won a few corners before Cincy maintained much meaningful possession. When they did start to shoot on goal, Sean Lewis made some spectacular saves to keep the ball out. He denied Ledesma twice with two diving saves in the 42nd and the 59th minutes.
FC Cincinnati made all of their substitutions before they finally found an equalizer in the 68th minute. it was substitute Emery Welshman who fired a rocket that Lewis was able to save but Ledesma picked up the rebound and tucked it away to level the teams at one all.
Penn FC made a move to bring in their top goal scorer when Luck Mkosana came on in the 72nd minute. Cincy was able to mostly shut him down offensively, but he was still able to make himself into a nuisance by working the whole length of the field.
It looked like the 1-1 scoreline would hold but Cincy dashed Penn FC’s hopes with another goal in the 84th minute. Corben Bone picked up a ball off of a turnover just outside the Penn FC eighteen. He quickly curled a shot just inside the far post that Lewis had no hope of reaching. Cincy had completed their comeback.
Penn FC still had one excellent chance to equalize late in the match. Aaron Dennis sent a cross over Spencer Richey that Paulo Jr. was able to collect. Paulo slipped it to Menjivar at the top of the box and he shot it past Richey for the far post. But Forrest Lasso was there to clear the ball off the line and deny Penn FC the equalizer.
So there you have it. A match where Penn FC was blown out and a match where they had a lead only to see it slip away. To answer the question posed at the start of this recap, experiencing both types of losses back to back helped clarify that no type of loss is really any “better” than another. All losses stink.