An evenly-matched contest saw New Orleans #9 Tony Judice strike with a brilliant header in the 39th minute. The cross came from all-NPSL star Jon Evans from the right wing. With a halftime break and a chance to exhale, it seemed that Atlanta would find an equalizer in the second 45. Although plenty of chances were created by the front trio of Joao Johanning Mora, Alex Nyarko Harlley, and Keka, the failure to execute ultimately lead to Atlanta’s demise.
Subs Thierry Jules and Santi Loaiza brought some fresh legs to an attack that was beginning the run out of steam. Thierry had a great chance on a header past the keeper, but it dribbled just wide right. In the 90th minute, tempers came to a boiling point. Keka and a few Jesters sparred after some time-wasting tactics by New Orleans. Sorting out the affair took a few minutes, and gave Atlanta a few precision chances.
Justin Hanover spoke with center back Abdul Bangura after the match,”I think we played well, but we just missed some calls. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. But we must move on.” Bangura continued, “This hurts. I’m not gonna lie, this hurts a lot.”
“Words can’t express how we’re feeling,” he finished. “We gave everything. We must pick ourselves up and move on.”
The ‘Backs were awarded back to back corners with quality chances to score in the last seconds, but came up empty. The season comes to an end after a 6-4-2 regular season and an NPSL Southeast Conference Quarterfinal win over Asheville City SC.
The Jesters will go on to host Inter Nashville FC Saturday night at Pan-American Stadium for the NPSL Southeast Conference title. Nashville downed Knoxville Force 2-1 earlier in the day in New Orleans. The winner will advance to the South Region Semifinals against Sunshine Conference champion and national contender Miami Fusion FC next weekend.