URBANA — First, FC Frederick gave up an own goal.
Then, it saw FC Baltimore’s Jake Dengler blast a 36-yard free kick into the back of the net.
Frederick has taken its lumps this season, which wasn’t surprising after it lost several key players from a team that won the National Premier Soccer League Mid-Atlantic Conference championship last year, and it took some more on Friday.
Playing the final match on its regular-season schedule and needing a win or tie to earn a postseason berth, FC Frederick suffered a 4-0 loss to Baltimore at Urbana High School.
It was unclear Friday night if FC Frederick’s challenging 2019 season had ended. If Baltimore (5-1-1) beats Charlottesville Alliance FC by 10 goals in Saturday’s regular-season finale, Frederick will claim fourth place in the NPSL Mid-Atlantic Division and get to play two postseason matches (both on the road).
Frederick’s chances of knocking off Baltimore took a major hit when the visitors grabbed a 1-0 lead on an own goal, which came when Frederick defender Jake Wilkinson chipped the ball over keeper Sam Farrell’s head during the 29th minute.
“It was just a miscommunication,” FC Frederick coach Chris Spinks said. “He tried to play it back to the goalkeeper, the goalkeeper was too far out off his line, and put it over his head. It happens.”
Still, there was plenty of soccer left to be played after that misfortune. But Frederick couldn’t find a way to score. Baltimore had no such problems on a night when it outshot Frederick 17-11.
Dengler’s long goal came with 40:55 left. Ben Bender, pouncing on a ball that bounced off Farrell, banged in a goal to give Baltimore a 3-0 lead with 26:20 left, and Kyle Saunderson later scored on a header off Daniel Baxter’s corner kick.
“That’s kind of been the story of our summer,” Spinks said. “We’ve made a lot of mistakes in key moments of the game. We’ve ended up being on the losing side.”
Frederick knew it was in for a challenging season after seeing several standouts go elsewhere after last year.
William Eskay, Frederick’s top scoring threat, played for the Major Arena Soccer League’s Harrisburg Heat this winter and now is with AFC Ann Arbor of the NPSL. Keeper Philip Breno, a brick wall for Frederick, now plays for the Charleston Battery of the United Soccer League Championship Division.
Spinks was glad to see them get good opportunities, but they have been sorely missed.
“You lose your goals, and you lose your goalkeeper, it’s going to be tough to try to replace,” Spinks said. “We’ve had a lot of different guys playing in goal, different guys playing up top. We’ve struggled to score goals this year.”
As returner Brian Flatter pointed out, Frederick also lost another key goal scorer in Jacob Gosselin.
“We lost a lot. We’ve brought in some new players,” Flatter said. “I think we’ve created some chances, but they’re just not going in.”
Flatter is one of Frederick’s returners. After playing mostly as a reserve last season, he’s started every match this season.
“I’m happy about that. Obviously, I wish the results were going differently,” said Flatter, who’s been used as a holding midfielder after performing more of an attacking role in the past. “I’m just happy to be on the field.”