It was a moment every aspiring soccer player dreams of, and Malvern native Jimmy McLaughlin lived it out on national television last week.
His penalty kick that found the lower left corner of the net ended up being the difference-maker for FC Cincinnati against the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer, and it sent his team to the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, according to a Brotherly Game report by Matt Ralph.
“I was trying not to think too much. I had the spot made up in my mind; I quickly visualized it and took it,” said McLaughlin, a Great Valley High School alum and former member of the Philadelphia Union now suiting up in the United Soccer League.
“The whole thing is pretty surreal for sure. We’re all still buzzing about the match.”
The U.S. Open Cup is a unique, single-elimination tournament that dates back to 1914 and features not only professional teams but also amateur ones all over the country. This year’s competition commenced in early May with 99 teams.
McLaughlin’s FC Cincinnati competes in the USL, which, along with the North American Soccer League, represents the second tier of American professional soccer, behind the MLS. FC Cincinnati’s victory over the Fire is its second consecutive win over an MLS opponent in the U.S. Open Cup.
FC Cincinnati now faces Miami FC of the NASL on July 12. This winner will square off against the MLS’s New England Revolution or New York Red Bulls, which eliminated the hometown Union.
“I think I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wanted to face the Union,” said McLaughlin, who played collegiately at Colgate for one year before turning pro. “I love Philadelphia, and I love the Union. I had an incredible experience there and still have very close ties to guys on the team and in the organization.”
Read more about Jimmy McLaughlin’s moment in the limelight and his team’s ongoing U.S. Open Cup quest on Brotherly Game here.