Two old rivals met on Wednesday night in New Orleans in the First Round of the prestigious Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The tournament began in 1914, and teams from all levels of soccer in the country earn the right to play each year. Mississippi Brilla from the PDL and the New Orleans Jesters from the NPSL squared off in the first round based on their results from last season. The two teams are no strangers to each other as they once competed in the same division in the PDL.
The first half started at a fast pace as both teams showed nervous energy being the first match of the season. Not only were the teams getting familiar with the opposition, but the players were also learning each other. Players from Brilla arrived in Clinton, MS throughout the weekend and held their first training session just two days ago on Monday. Neither team was able to put together much attack in the first half and the teams went into the break scoreless.
Mississippi cracked the scoreboard first with a blast by Oliver “Ozzy” Brock from about 40 yards out in the 67th minute. The 1-0 lead for the visitors was short-lived as the Jesters answered with a goal of their own from Tom Pers in the 73rd minute. The 1-1 stalemate carried throughout the remainder of regulation and then two 15 minute overtime periods.
Because the match was a part of a tournament format, it could not end in a tie. Therefore, the match went to penalty kicks. A final save by Jordan Bell in the 5th round of kicks propelled Brilla into the second round of the US Open Cup.
Based on an earlier draw, Mississippi Brilla will now host the professional side from Indianapolis, USL’s Indy 11. The second round match is scheduled for Wednesday, May 16 at 7:00 pm at Clinton High School’s Arrow Stadium in Clinton, MS. Tickets may be purchased in advance at www.brillasoccer.org or at the gate on the day of the game for $5.