Despite supremely headed goals from Rafa Barbosa and Freddy Okello, Rocket City United fell to Erie Admirals SC in the first match of the NPSL Semi-finals last night in Madison, WI.
RCU went up early when Daniel Segewitz whipped in a picture perfect cross to the head of Rafa Barbosa in the 12th minute. The lanky Brazilian lept to meet the cross and nodded it on to kiss the inside of the far post. The lead wouldn't stand as in the 27th minute, the Admirals direct play led to a ball played through deep into the attacking third. Erie's Eric Tattersal sent in a laser like cross that found the charging Jeremy Dieghton at the far post to level the score.
Halftime subsitute Evan Chate, scored on a deflected free kick shortly after the break to give Erie the 2:1 lead. RCU worked tirelessly to press the Erie defense for the equalizer and found it in the 72nd minute when Freddy Okello rose above the frozen Erie defense to head in a Paul Willoughby corner.
However, the air was taken out of the inflated RCU a minute later, when a bad give away just outside the area gave substitue Afrim Lafiti a clear shot at Tyler Early's goal. Lafiti gave Early no chance as he stroked the ball home for the 3:2 lead.
In the 88th minute, with all hands on the RCU deck to push for the equalizer, Erie broke on a counter and Dan Howell finished the game for Erie. Final score 4:2 and a terrific season ends one game too early for the RCU faithful.
A full game report can be found here.
In other semifinal, the Sonoma County Sol dominated large portions of the match and beat an overmatched St. Paul Twinstars 4:1.