FC Baltimore fell in the Mid-Atlantic Conference Championship game 2-1, but their season was not over. They needed a little bit of help, and they got it. FC Motown and New York Cosmos B won their respective games, and because of that, FC Baltimore picked up a wild card position, and advanced to the Northeast Region Semi Final.
The expansion club traveled north, this time, to battle one of the best teams in the NPSL in FC Motown. Motown had only lost one game all season long, and were looking to advance to the region final, which they did in a 3-0 victory over the young expansion club.
Due to many injuries and players headed back to school, FC Baltimore brought a limited squad to Madison, New Jersey. The squad however featured players who showed a lot of heart during the season including players like Jade Mesias, Lucas Mendes, Quantrell Jones, Piroz Bahar, and many more.
With only one sub, Coach Brandon Quaranta put together a game plan, and the first 75 minutes of the game, it seemed to work relatively well. Quantrell Jones was having perhaps the game of his life. The MAC keeper of the year was able to stop multiple one on one chances and keep his team in the game. The offense generated a few counter attacks during the course of the match as well, but were not able to score.
FC Motown struck first in the 22nd minute. David Kavanagh scored his first of the year with a ball that took a couple deflections and bounced into the net. FC Baltimore were able to keep the score at 1-0 going into the half, which was an important score due to the fact that FC Motown had mustered up over 15 attempts.
The second half rolled around and FC Baltimore continued to hold down the fort. With about 15 minutes left, David Kavanagh scored his second of the night and the year with a tap in after being deflected multiple times, yet again. FC Motown led 2-0. Minutes later, recently substituted Christopher Katona scored the Celtics’ third goal of the evening following a cross and that ended the score at 3-0.
The remarkable inaugural season for FC Baltimore has drawn to an end, but not without a handful of memories.
- The inaugural game against DC United saw a packed house and a lot of enthusiasm for the brand new team.
- Tyler Gabarra scored the first ever FC Baltimore goal en route to a 5-2 win at Virginia Beach, the previous regular season winners who had not lost a regular season match in 2 years.
- Scoring 8 goals and winning 8-5 over fellow expansion club Atlantic City FC
- Winning 3-1 at DC United, avenging the opening day defeat.
- Sean Clarke scoring the goal of the season with a curler beyond the 18 in a 1-0 win over then first place Northern Virginia United.
- Josh Fawole scoring 6 in one match and leading FC Baltimore to a 13-0 win at home against Legacy 76
- Winning on the final day and Northern Virginia losing to Virginia Beach, clinching FC Baltimore the Mid-Atlantic Conference regular season title in their first ever year as a club
- Josh Fawole, Jade Mesias, and Quantrell Jones being named to the Mid-Atlantic Conference First Team
- Brandon Quaranta being named Mid-Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year
- Making the Mid-Atlantic Conference Championship game
- Advancing to regionals and being one of the final teams alive in the NPSL.
Coach Brandon Quaranta reflects on what this year brought. “It’s a good start. We wanted to do good things this year and kind of lay foundations down for the club, I think we did that. Now, there’s some things after year one that we can learn and do better moving forward.”
One thing that certainly stuck out was the fans and their support. In all of the away games FC Baltimore traveled to, none of them were as well attended as a home game for the Roons. Not to mention, the traveling supporters and the local supporters’ groups who make all the noise they can to support their team.
“Everywhere we’ve traveled, we’ve had by far the biggest fan base and the loudest fan base. For a first year team, that’s awesome. It’s credit to those behind the club who’s doing the work behind the scenes to make that happen. And hopefully something we can build on,” said Coach Quaranta, “We want to fill this place in years to come and be known as one of the best atmospheres in the league. So that’s the goal moving forward. Obviously winning helps that, everybody wants to watch a winning team, so we gotta put a good product out there and hopefully we can do both. “