Motown Go Down as Rochester Returns

The 2022 Third Rounder from Monroe Community College in Upstate New York on April 20th lasted over 120 minutes and needed a penalty shootout. Rochester New York FC (formerly the 1999 Open Cup-winning Rochester Rhinos) were reduced to nine men for a huge chunk of the contest but still managed to send amateurs FC Motown of New Jersey out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. 

By Jesse Wolfe (photos) and Jonah Fontela (story)

the visitors arrive

It was a long drive from Morristown, New Jersey to the city of Rochester in Upstate New York (just over 300 miles all-told). Ryan Peterson (right) holds the boots he used to help Motown through to the Third Round with a stoppage-time wonder goal against West Chester United in a First Round replay. Towering center-forward Joe Fala, formerly a Ramapo Roadrunner, is all business in the middle of the frame.


the home side

Rochester New York FC are the newest iteration of the Rochester Rhinos, who, in 1999, became the last non-Major League Soccer (MLS) team to win the U.S. Open Cup. This new-old club is part-owned by English Premier League winner and international Jamie Vardy. Competing in the new MLS Next Pro League, RNY FC hope to recapture the glory days of old with a shiny, new rebrand. 

more than a game for motown

FC Motown take the field at Monroe Community College wearing T-shirts with the message Fight the Fight!! on them.  It’s a message of support for their fallen teammate, Sainclair Tueno, who was struck by a speeding car near Pittsburgh and was on life-support and in a coma at the time of kick-off (he has since passed).

everything at a cost

The game develops a physical edge from almost the opening whistle – with every ball contested and every challenge in midfield pushing the boundaries of safe practice. The siren song of a place in the Round of 32 drives both teams to throw caution (and physical safety) to the wind.

all on the line

As with every game in the U.S. Open Cup, this one needs a winner. If one doesn’t emerge in 90 minutes of play, 30 more minutes of extra-time is added. If further clarification is still required, a penalty shootout is the method of choice. The pressure of the night tells here as Samuel Pompe, one of two Haitian internationals in the Motown squad, screams in frustration after a broken play.

laser focus

FC Motown goalkeeper David Greczek (No.0) is a plumber by day and knows the workday-gamenight grind of the amateur men’s leagues better than most. He also happened to be one of the best net-minders of the First three rounds of the 2022 U.S. Open Cup – pulling off outstanding saves in two games against West Chester United (the original and its replay) and Syracuse Pulse. Rochester NY FC’s Brasilia-born striker Pedro Dolabella (who would go on to have a huge influence on the game) tries a snapshot here.

first blood to rochester

Dolabella opens the scoring in the 21st minute. He latched on to a clever dummy from Gibran Rayo to slot past Motown goalkeeper Greczek. And the Rochester ace celebrates extravagantly.

home fans in raptures

The local fans, braving a cold and windy gameday, celebrate right along with Dolabella and Co after the opening goal.

joy turns to despair

The referee would have a lot to say on this particular day – which saw two red cards for Rochester NY FC’s players (and another for a member of the coaching staff). Here captain Lamar Batista picks up the team’s first sending off in the 51st minute.

an exhausting affair

Rochester played 70 minutes of the game down a man – and the entirety of the 30-minute extra-time session two men down. The huge effort shows here.

another red for the book

Dolabella, the hometown goal hero early, is shown a second red for Rochester in the 85th minute after a flying elbow was spotted by the ref. The game heads into extra-time with Rochester down two men and the score tangled at 2-2.

advantage fc motown

Most betting folks would have put the house on FC Motown with their hosts depleted by two players, and with a full 30 minutes of extra-time ahead of them. But betting folks blow sure things all the time…

a secret giant on the rochester bench

Rochester survived the extra-time with the score still locked at two-all – and they had a secret weapon to bring off the bench exclusively for the shootout. The 24-year-old spot-kick specialist Caique Santos is 6foot6 and seemed to take up the whole of the goal frame after replacing regular keeper Phillip Ejimadu.

nerves show for motown

With Santos already saving one penalty (and getting booked for leaving his line early on another attempt), FC Motown’s shooters start to feel the heat after missing out on the chance to seal the deal in extra-time.

game over

Santos saves a second spot-kick to send Rochester NY FC through to the Round of 32. Motown, meanwhile, are back on the bus and headed for home with a prize of $25,000 as consolation for reaching the farthest of any of the Open Division amateur teams in this 2022 edition of the Open Cup.

the look of a happy man

Shootout star Santos – on loan from Brazilian club Vitoria – becomes an instant fan favorite in Rochester with his heroics in the past-match lottery.

that old winning feeling

Many of the Rochester fans can still remember the Cup-winning swashbuckling of the 1999 Rhinos – and the good vibes were back again in this 2022 Third Round. But they lasted only until the Round of 32, where reigning MLS champions New York City FC spoiled the Upstate party.