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Memphis 901 FC earn a point in chaotic, two-goal ending

Memphis drew to Monterey Bay 2-2 with goals from Bruno Lapa and Marlon Santos. (Image Credit: USL Championship)
By Taylor Thompson - May 12, 2024, 12:30 am - 1 comments

It seemed like the script had been flipped from the first meeting just 21 days ago. It would be Memphis’ turn to complete a second half comeback on the road to win 2-1. Marlon Santos scored in the 88th minute to take the lead and Memphis looked to have the momentum to see it through.

Monterey Bay, however, had other plans. They would equalize just two minutes later to rescue a point at home.

Monterey made several changes to their starting eleven in an attempt to solve their recent struggles. Only center back Kai Green remained from their mid-week loss in the Open Cup.

Memphis, on the other hand, used the same starting lineup for the third straight game. They used that continuity to get off to a hot start in the match, dominating possession. Although Monterey might have gotten caught off guard by the early pressure, they were able to keep Memphis from capitalizing. 

It took nearly 10 minutes for Monterey to push forward into an attacking area. Their dangerous runs were halted due to poor timing but they did force Memphis to anchor down defensively. The trio of Carson Vom Steeg, Lucas Turci and Oscar Jiminez all had key individual stops.

The possession battle began to even out as the physicality increased. In the 22nd minute, Monterey countered the cramped midfield with a ball over the top. Tristan Trager made a great run down the left wing past Vom Steeg, drawing a penalty from the defender as he tried to recover. The ensuing penalty attempt from Alex Dixon was saved by the diving Tyler Deric.

Despite the goalkeeping heroics, Monterey still looked like the more menacing side. Another attack down the left gave them a goal to show for their efforts: Carlos Guzmán’s cross to Mobi Fehr who scored his second goal of the season.

Memphis had a few attacks of their own to respond but they often ended up harmless. They had five total shots in the half, none forcing the goalkeeper to adjust much.

Down at halftime for the first time in nearly  two months, Memphis made two substitutions. AB Cissoko and Nighte Pickering came on for Vom Steeg and Dylan Borczak.

Memphis could not mimic their electric start to begin the game, instead struggling to break down the defense at all. Monterey was anchored in front of goal, only pushing up-field on the counter. It would take 10 minutes for Memphis to get their first shot of the half — a set piece resulting in a Cissoko header that did not find its target.

Memphis continued to find a bit of success in set pieces. Marlon Santos was a big reason for it, breathing life into the 901 FC attack. He provided an outlet down the left wing with his ability to draw fouls. His attacking intent led to a corner and equalizer in the 70th minute, Bruno Lapa scoring a header with his back-post run.

The game completely flipped once the score leveled. Monterey shifted from their defensive-minded shape and went on the attack. Memphis was forced to absorb pressure once again but did have moments of their own on the counter. There was a back-and-forth flow that had not been seen all game.

With a glimpse of possession as the game neared full-time, Turci saw Marlon downfield with only one man marking the on-fire goalscorer. His pass nearly traveled the full length of the pitch and was perfectly placed into the path of Marlon. With the defender trailing behind, Marlon hit the ball first-time into the back of the net sending the Memphis sideline into a frenzy.

The celebrations would not last. In the 90th minute, Monterey went on the attack with numbers on a fast break. Trager found himself unmarked inside the box and scored from a cross. 

There were more chances to follow from both sides during extra time. The maddening pace left the goalkeepers and back line with a lot to do. Deric made two crucial saves to help Memphis collect a point on the road.

The draw is Memphis’ first of the season and puts them in 8th place in the standings. Memphis is a part of four teams all with 10 points.

Next Game:

Memphis will remain on the road as they travel to the lone star state to take on El Paso Locomotive FC. The match is Friday, May 17 at 8pm.


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