The Wednesday night match between FC Cincinnati and the Tampa Bay Rowdies was a physical affair between teams who expect to be battling for supremacy in the USL Eastern Conference by season’s end. “Chippy” falls just short of adequately describing the aggressive play and extracurricular activity. In a twist, a moment of kindness stood out in the moments following one of the more violent acts in the match.
With the score knotted at one goal apiece in the 75th minute, FC Cincinnati winger Kadeem Dacres planted his studs into the groin of Tampa Bay forward Deshorn Brown. Dacres appeared to be making a play for the ball, but the referee was left with little choice other than to issue a straight red.
Red cards come with an automatic suspension of one match in the USL. Dacres, obviously distraught over the referee’s decision, was at risk of being suspended for additional games if he persistently argued the call. The quick actions of another player may have prevented Dacres from finding additional trouble.
That other player was Damion Lowe of the Tampa Bay Rowdies. When Lowe placed his hands on Dacres, the easy assumption was that Lowe sought retaliation for his ailing teammate. It became apparent that this was something different as Dacres allowed himself to be separated from the huddle that had begun to form around the referee.
Lowe patiently guided Dacres nearly the entire length to the dressing room. Dacres tried to hide his disconsolate countenance with his shirt while Lowe tried to offer consolation.
Why would a player go out of his way to show such kindness to an opponent? A brief comment by Lowe on the Instagram account for Scratching the Pitch indicated he feels he and Dacres are brothers. That brotherhood likely had its genesis in 2013, when the two were teammates at Reading United.
Every now and again, humanity and compassion inject themselves into the most heated of sports competitions. This was one of those moments. It may have lacked the drama of a distance runner sacrificing his own position to assist a competitor to cross the finish line, but it demonstrated that brotherhood can exist between men in disparately colored uniforms.