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Thrilling Overtime Win Means Tournament Proper for Beaman

In Round 4 of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Qualifiers, Beaman United beat Texas side D’Feeters Kicks SC for 4-3 Sunday afternoon in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

In another close, intense match for Beaman – coming off as a recent back-to-back UPSL KY-TN Conference Champions – the Lions suffered, went down twice, but stayed compact as a team and through the individual talents of Seth Poku and Alex Rodriguez found the way onto the Open Cup Tournament Proper.

D’Feeters started strong and came close to find the lead with Oscar Ocampo, hitting the post minutes into the game.

In the 15th minute, Ocampo dribbled around Rodriguez on a 1v1, giving D’Feeters the advantage.

15 minutes later, the Lions got the first real chance of the match. Kwadwo Poku found the header off a corner, but the ball ended on the post.

A very quick and technical side, D’Feeters flourished exploiting their qualities on counterattacking where Beaman can be oftentimes caught off guard.

Following Poku’s post, the Kicks countered. Beaman defender Jerson Navarro challenged a D’Feeters forward in a 50-50 shoulder to shoulder inside the Lion box.

The referee, deeming it as dangerous, assigned the penalty and awarded a yellow card to Navarro.

Beaman goalkeeper Alex Rodriguez – excellent penalty saver in Open Cup Qualifier Round 3 –did not disappoint and guessed the right angle.

Gift Ndam’s team went into half-time with a one goal disadvantage and some work to do to keep the Tournament Proper dream alive.

Redemption came quickly in the first minutes of the second half.

From the right flank, Austin Morenzoni crossed the ball into the box for Hayden Black. The forward laid it off to Seth Poku who finished with his left foot to tie the game.

Ten minutes later, a defensive mistake by the Lions cost them the temporary equalizer and the Kicks found themselves on top again.

Beaman did not give up and responded well.

In the 67th minute, the Poku brothers’ connection won the Lions a penalty. Seth Poku converted from the spot finding the 2-2.

The entrance of a speedy Michael Jones Jr. in the last minutes of regulation time brought some unpredictability to Beaman’s attack.

The game went into overtime.

Four minutes in, Seth Poku played Juan Penagos on the left, who crossed it in the middle. Jones Jr. got there in time and with a one-touch volley scored, giving the Lions the first lead of the match.

In the second half of extra time, Nathaniel Bedai made an incredible slide tackle save on the line of Beaman’s goal preventing D’Feeters to tie the game.

But in the 113th minute, the Lions conceded a penalty. The Kicks did not miss this time, making it 3-3.

Three minutes later, Joseph Omundi for Beaman scored with a beautiful finish in the box, putting the Lions on top again.

The drama never ends in Open Cup qualifiers.

The Lions’ defense gave away another penalty too easily. However, Rodriguez did it again, guessing the right angle and sending Beaman onto the Tournament Proper.

“I just like to watch the run of the player,” said Rodriguez. “How the bodies are positioned in front of the ball, just trying to watch the run and play some mind games against them.”

“I think that our attacking players, they played a very good game,” he said. “At the first half, we struggled a little bit to find the space, we came down one nil, but as always, our team never surrendered, we were able to bounce back and get the win.”

Seth Poku mentioned the importance of teamwork in his and Beaman’s success.

The team understands my game and allows me to perform said Poku.

Beaman head coach Gift Ndam saw in D’Feeters Kicks SC a very organized side.

“They were a little bit challenging than anticipated, but really good team, young, energetic and disciplined tactically,” he said. “We meet these teams that are very are unique in how they do things and how they play, and our goal is to continue to find ways to stay together as a group, stay disciplined as a group and break them down, one team at a time.”

“The guys work really hard for each other,” said Ndam. “They try really hard to represent not just themselves, not just their teammates, their families, their community, but they try to put everything on the line, every single time.”

Beaman United will play next in the Open Cup Tournament in the First Round Proper between March 21-23, 2023.

This article was written by Federico Pravettoni

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