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Memphis 901 FC squander early lead in loss to Monterey Bay

Memphis 901 FC unable to build momentum from U.S. Open Cup win, lose fifth straight in league play. (Image Credit: USL Championship)
By Taylor Thompson - April 20, 2024, 9:56 pm - 0 comments
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Memphis 901 FC (1-5-0) and Monterey Bay (4-1-2) had a busy week of three games in seven days, both advancing in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday. Matching up in Memphis to end the stretch, it was the visitors who overcame an own-goal to win 2-1.

It took only 58 seconds for Memphis to take the lead. A gift of a goal was scored due to chaos inside the box. Carson Vom Steeg was knocked to the ground in front of goal anticipating a whipped in free kick. Amidst shouts for a penalty from Memphis, Alex Lara’s goal-line clearance bounced off a teammate’s elbow and into the back of the net.

Despite several chances to add-on to their lead, Memphis was unable to capitalize. They had 12 shots (four on goal) in the first half and other attacks that faltered before a shot could be taken.

Dylan Borczak and Nighte Pickering almost connected for the second straight game, goalkeeper Antony Siaha deflecting Pickering’s shot. Siaha had to use all of his 6-foot-5 frame often, laying out to parry away a long-range shot from Pickering. He finished the night with four crucial saves.

Not being clinical in front of goal would cost 901 FC once again. Monterey were patient in their attack, holding a possession advantage and waiting for a Memphis mistake. One would come in the 67th minute, Vom Steeg pushing a player in the back for a penalty. Tristan Trager converted the penalty, firing a right-footed shot to the center of the goal.

Monterey did not stop there. Three minutes later, Alex Lera made up for his own-goal mistake. He scored from a header, directing the ball into the bottom right corner. The sequence mimicked the goals conceded against Orange County SC earlier this season.

With the busy schedule, Memphis did not have many attack-minded subsitutes to counter. Alvaro Quezada, Leston Paul and Lucas Turci had already been subbed on before the blown lead (Oscar Jiminez and Zachary subbed out with yellow cards). Noe Meza, the only attacker listed on the bench, came on in the 77th minute.

Marlon Santos joined Nighte Pickering and Dylan Borczak in playing the full 90 minutes. He found himself in a Luiz Fernando-esque role on the left wing, putting pressure on the opposing back line with direct dribble moves.

Memphis finished with 18 total shots, half of them coming from outside the box. The announced attendance inside AutoZone Park was 2,598.

Next Game

The Southern Harm rivalry is up next, Memphis 901 FC taking a trip to Alabama to take on Birmingham Legion. With the move to the Western conference, the two clubs will only play each other once this season.

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