JERSEY EXPRESS ADVANCE TO THIRD ROUND OF THE U.S. OPEN CUP
Karcz's Goal in the 58th Minute is the Difference in Victory.
NEWARK - Whenever Brayan Martinez lines up to take a corner kick, he knows where he can find teammate Chris Karcz.
"Every corner we have, I just shoot for the near post and hopefully it gets there," Karcz said. "(Brayan) put it right in front of the goalie, just like I want it. I got to the ball before him. It was perfect."
Martinez's "perfect" set piece was headed into the net by Karcz for the game's only goal in the 58th minute and a resilient defensive effort ensure the lead stood up as the Jersey Express defeated New York Red Bulls II, 1-0, in the second round of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at NJIT's Lubetkin Field.
With the victory, the Express advance to face the New York Cosmos of the NASL in the third round on May 27.
Less than two minutes earlier, Karcz's header was caught by Red Bulls II keeper Rafael Diaz. Diaz made a stellar, two-handed save, turning away Darko Drljic's shot from 25-yards out, setting up Martinez's corner kick.
"As soon as I kicked it, I knew it was a good ball," said Martinez. "Chris is always there. Sylvain (N'Guessan)'s always there too. Las
t year, we scored a couple of goals that way. If the ball goes there, it's going to end well."
Red Bulls II ramped up the offensive pressure after falling behind, but was never able to fully break through. All three of keeper Matthew Turner's saves came in the final 20 minutes, the most impressive being a on a Derrick Etienne shot from the right side, which cut let, but was knocked away.
A backline led by N'Guessan, Matt Mahoney, Yago Lopez, and late in the game, Fernando Argolo helped the Jersey Express withstand the aerial attack from Red Bulls II and keep them off the scoreboard.
"We had to elevate the height in the back in the final 20 minutes because they were sending a lot of balls into the air there," Jersey Express coach Anderson Da Silva said. "When we started to lose the ball in the air, we realized that we needed to elevate the height. It worked really well because Fernando did really well in the back."
All eight of Red Bulls II's shots came in the second half, with its best scoring opportunity coming in the 53rd minute when Etienne found Juan Sanchez on a counter, but the shot sailed high of the net. Konrad Plewa's attempt at a game-tying header in the 61st minute was just wide of the net.
Overall, the Jersey Express held a 15-8 edge in shots, including 9-0 in the opening half. Martinez's free kick from 30 yards was stopped by Diaz (five saves) right before the end of the first half, he also had a shot strike the right post in the 85th minute.
"It's a good win, but it's not extraordinary yet," Da Silva said of his team's early accomplishments. "We have bigger games coming up, so let's just focus and play the next game."