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Open Cup and Say Ah!

It’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup season people! Round Uno kicked off this past Tuesday but the bulk of the matches took place on Wednesday. Soccer fanatics around the nation were glued to their Twitter feeds because, well, mobile data is at a premium and Periscope eats that stuff up. Have you seen my Sprint bill! Come on!

Your illustrious leader decided to experience it in Sense-O-Rama so he journeyed over the river and through some woods to Woehrle Athletic Complex in Jeffersonville, IN; home of the Derby City Rovers! There he joined the Boarding Crew (captained by Cooper alums Martin French and Eric Major) and a smattering of Coopers and Cornbreads. The Tartan Devils Oak Avalon (Maple Bacon Pancakes) are an all-amateur club from Pittsburgh and were in town to take on the Rovers (of the PDL) for a crack at Louisville City FC. On tap was non-league soccer at its finest.

To start things off we joined the Boarding Crew in their guard of honor tradition. In this instance it necessitated a stroll across the pitch. Let’s just say I’m nervous about strolling across the pitch even when a match is not underway. Fortunately we were neither tackled nor ejected and were able to applaud the Rovers and Tartan Devils as they entered the arena of combat. After introductions and anthem we all expected a prompt kickoff but were greeted by the two teams milling about and trying to stay loose. We soon came to realize that one of the goal nets that is full of holes by design happened to have a large unintentional hole. Some quick intervention by the facility manger, and off we went!

The match itself started off with tons of pressure and possession from the Rovers. It paid off in the 11th as former Butler High standout Igor Ibrahimkadic (of the Ibrahimkadic clan) poked one in and put the Rovers up early. The first half continued to feature domination by the Rovers but nothing resulted in an additional goal.

At the half I had the opportunity to say hello to John Krysinsky‏ (of PGH Soccer Report) which was a treat. Of primary interest to Louisville supporters, however, was the presence of Louisville City coach James O’Connor and a selection of Lou City players. Whether it was scoping the potential competition or cheering on former teammate Kenny Doublette, we were simply glad to have them in attendance.

Second half action saw quite the reversal in terms of possession and pressure. It was an interesting contrast to see the older (by comparison) Tartan Devils turn the tide against the high school and college age up-and-coming Rovers. The Rovers still managed a few breakouts which resulted in a some exciting shots on goal but in the 90th the Tartan Devils found the equalizer. Then, things got interesting.

Most of us were ready for free soccer at Woehrle but stoppage time was yet to be played. Stoppage time, well, it stopped for a while. Someone had stepped on to the pitch during play and none of us were quite sure why. The initial thought was that either a Rover mom was disgruntled with officiating or a ball kid mom was adamant about taking her kid home. It was a school night people! In any case, play eventually continued and ended with the Rovers and Devils knotted 1-1.

It was only during the brief intermission that we learned the truth of the disruption:

That, folks, is non-league and early round Open Cup in a nutshell. I count myself lucky that I was in person to experience…whatever that was. For the Louisville crowd, the night ended in disappointment as the Tartan Devils topped the Rovers 4-3 in PKs. Yet it was impossible to not be in awe of the experience.

  • An amateur club trying (and succeeding) to work its way through the Open Cup.
  • A team of young up-and-comers showing off their talents.
  • An angry mom who was very concerned about the amount of restful sleep to which her children had access.

Suffice to say I’ll be sure to check out some Rovers PDL action in the months to come. You never know what you’re going to see. In the meantime, I’ll be looking forward to Lou City taking on the Tartan Devils in Pittsburgh this coming Wednesday, May 17th. Hopefully it’s streamed online. If an angry mom does a pitch invasion, I want to see it.