Team Open cup win 4.20.22

Believe Impossible.

For some teams, their mantra for any particular season might be nothing more than words on a t-shirt. For others, maybe it is a rallying cry that might get brought up at times during the campaign.

But for RNY FC, this slogan became part of the lore in a year of rebirth, in a tournament that helped spawn it more than two decades in the past.

Before the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Third Round contest with FC Motown Wednesday night, you would have been hard pressed to find many fans that thought the amateur club from New Jersey had much of a chance against Rochester.

That longshot became even longer once Pedro Dolabella scored for RNY FC inside of 20 minutes, and then Will Inalien tapped home from a Dolabella assist to make it 2-0 just six minutes before halftime. Up two goals and cruising, it all started to fall apart for the hosts just seconds later.

The NPSL team pulled a goal back almost immediately through Dilaver Duka, who made it 2-1 in the 40th minute, and changed the halftime team talks for both managers. RNY FC Manager Bruno Baltazar would not have believed the way the rest of the game unfolded after the intermission if he traveled forward in time and witnessed it himself.

Lamar Batista was sent off in the 52nd minute for a second yellow card, leaving Rochester with just 10 men for what looked like the rest of regulation. RNY FC was able to forge some offense over the next 15 minutes, and the chance came from the spot in the 75th minute for the hosts to all but book their passage into the fourth round. But Inalien’s effort was saved by FC Motown’s keeper David Greczek, and that would ultimately make Rochester’s path to advancement much more difficult.

In the 85th minute, Dolabella collided with a FC Motown player near mid-pitch, and was inexplicably sent off for what looked to be an innocuous challenge, leaving the hosts to end the contest with nine men for the final five minutes. That ended up as much more, after Joe Fala scored in the first minute of stoppage time to level the game at 2-2, and set up what should have been an added extra time onslaught from the visitors with a two-man advantage.

But remember, you have to Believe Impossible. No one watching on ESPN+ gave the hosts much of a chance in extra time, but RNY FC dug in and protected its turf at Monroe Community College for 30 minutes, sending the contest to penalties.

Before the game would be decided from the spot, though–and remember, RNY FC had already missed a penalty which would have iced the game–there was one more surprise: 6-5 keeper Caique came off the bench for Philip Ejimadu in the waning moments in anticipation of the shootout.

And guess what? It worked.

Caique saved the first penalty, saved the fourth, even saved the fifth (before the assistant referee flagged him for coming off his line), then watched as the sixth FC Motown kick was blazed over the bar.

Up stepped Milan Vanacker, and down went the amateur side.

So, it was 45 minutes of play down to two men, and another 33 down a man, and somehow, RNY FC continued its cup run into another round of action.

Was it pretty?

No.

But it was gritty, gutty, and tough, which is what this team is trying to build on the field to represent its home town.

Did they make it easy on themselves?

Of course not: but none of that matters now, as they are in the draw for the fourth round.

You can watch that draw today at 12 noon EDT (or 5 p.m. in the U.K) on the U.S. Open Cup Twitter page or Facebook page, and there is a very good chance RNY FC is going to get a MLS team. There are only 32 teams left in the draw, which means Rochester is five wins away from partying like it's 1999.

Can RNY FC do the unthinkable?

Why not? It has been done once before, and it just takes a little belief.

Well, maybe a lot, but after Wednesday night, who wouldn’t Believe Impossible?