Early goals were the theme of the evening as Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls both picked up three points with 3-1 wins in the first day of U16 action at Finals Week in Houston.
Chicago Fire 3-1 Charlotte Soccer Academy
A goal just 19 seconds into the match and a second eight minutes later proved decisive as the Chicago Fire collected a comprehensive 3-1 victory against Charlotte Soccer Academy in their first match in the U16 division at the 2011-12 Development Academy Finals Week.
The Fire controlled large portions of the match, pouring nine shots on goal while Charlotte could only muster one against a stingy defense.
The result mirrored the 3-1 victory by New York Red Bulls against Pateadores, leaving the teams tied at the top of Group 1 with two games remaining.
“We talked about wanting to get after them,” said Chicago Fire Academy head coach Larry Sunderland. “We got a real quick jump with the two quick goals. I thought we got a little casual and gave one back to them. In the second half we settled in and kept the ball a lot more and knocked it around. Overall it was a pretty good performance.”
Chicago came charging out of the gates and the sound of the referee’s whistle to start the match had barely dissipated before they were on the scoreboard. Marcus Epps controlled the ball in the area and cut inside, ripping a skipping drive that Charlotte goalkeeper James Pyle parried back into play where Jeffrey Farina had stationed himself in search of a rebound. Farina struck low and hard, giving the Fire a dream start.
Intent to pressure all over the park, the Fire kept their opponents pinned in their own half for most of the opening minutes as they sought another goal. Joy came in the ninth minute when Farina dropped into midfield to receive a pass. Spotting his strike partner on an exquisitely timed run, he played a beautifully weighted ball into the path of Epps. Alone with the goalkeeper, Epps slid the ball underneath Pyle and extended the lead to a pair.
“We were so hyped up for this,” said Epps. “We’ve been training for so long and so hard, and we had to let all that out and it paid off.”
Responding to the wake-up call, Charlotte breathed new life into the match two minutes later. Earning a corner kick from the right side, the delivery found Tomas Hilliard-Arce poised to power home a header from eight yards out.
With the goal, Charlotte shook off the rough start and gained much needed confidence. Possession began to even out as both teams displayed the ability to establish a passing rhythm, but stodgy defending at each end put chances at a premium. The Fire, in particularly, issued several strong and well-timed tackles and the score remained 2-1 heading into the break.
As in the opening stanza, the Fire came out with their foot on the pedal and much of the play took place in Charlotte’s end. Mike Jimenez took the first crack at increasing the lead, hitting a riser that forced a nice touch save from Pyle.
Charlotte showed some spark, and in the 49thminute demonstrated their ability to create danger when Klint Parker made a pacy run down the right flank, whipping in a tantalizing cross that skipped through the box.
Chicago settled matters in the 65th minute by taking advantage of a defensive miscue. A long clearance from the Fire end forced Pyle to come well off his line and with second-half substitute Anthony Smith pressuring, the goalkeeper misplayed the ball and left Smith with the simple task of shooting into the open goal.
The lead could have increased if not for the heroics of Pyle, who pulled out a point-blank save on a snap header from Smith in the 75th minute. He made another great stop in the 83rd minute, denying a breakaway by lunging to push aside a shot destined for the far post.
CHA: 1-James Pyle; 31-Klint Parker, 22-Jared Odenbeck, 4-Remi Frost, 29-Corey Michocki (7-Jared Kent,53); 18-Jordi Poff (36-Giovanni Castro, 41; 37-Kipp Carriker 78), 25-Eddie Iturbide, 34-Tomas Hilliard-Arce, 5-TK Abderahman; 30-Hans Honer, 3-Charlie Coulson (35-JT Spath, 69)
FIRE: 93-Kyle Dal Santo; 62-Mike Jimenez (67-Shannon Seymour, 68), 66-James Myall, 64-Grant Lillard, 65-John Moderwell; 52-Martin Alba, 57-Collin Fernandez, 61-Anthony Jeffries (68-Anthony Smith, 60); 60-Chris Henock (71-Brian Werchek, 54) 56-Jeffrey Farina, 55-Marcus Epps
New York Red Bulls 3-1 Pateadores
A second-half red card helped the New York Red Bulls gain the upper hand in a 3-1 win against Pateadores in Group 1 play of the U16 division at the Development Academy Finals Week on Tuesday at the Houston Amateur Sports Park.
Pateadores midfielder Christian Carrillo was sent off with a straight red card eight minutes into the second half for a violent tackle and the Red Bulls capitalized on the opportunity, scoring two goals in the final 20 minutes of the match to finish the night in a tie for first place in Group 1 with the Chicago Fire. The Fire beat Charlotte Soccer Academy 3-1 in the other group match.
“I thought it was a pretty tight game,” Red Bulls head coach Rob Elliott said. “The red card let us get the upper hand, but I thought we played pretty well in a really tough game because that’s one of the better teams we’ve played all year.”
New York started the game in mercurial fashion with a goal in the opening 28 seconds. Alex Muyl flicked on a header into the path of forward Ismar Tandir, who delivered the ball to Adam Najem in front of goal for the opening tally.
The quick start only aided the Red Bulls’ possession and pressure strategy as the side maintained its hold on the ball for long periods of the game, especially following Carrillo’s expulsion in the 48th minute.
“That’s our style,” Elliott said. “I thought they did a good job of trying to disrupt it and as they tired out we got a little bit more possession. I think they just got tired and we were able to poach a couple goals at the end.”
Pateadores forward Brian Pacheco, a constant threat on the ball for the Southern California side, cut into the box in the ninth minute leaving several Red Bulls defenders in his wake. New York goalkeeper Evan Louro was pressed into duty in an attempt to cut down Pacheco’s angle. Instead, the goalkeeper upended the striker precipitating a penalty call from the referee.
“They have a really talented forward and he just cut our guys up and made a run down the middle,” Louro said. “I thought I had to come out and unfortunately I got him.”
Pacheco buried the spot kick, knotting the score a 1-1 in the ninth minute. Despite heavy pressure, Pateadores was able to see out the first half still level with a New York side that is headlined by several members of the U.S. U17 Residency Program.
Pateadores was able to withstand 13 minutes of seemingly ineluctable Red Bulls pressure following the red card, but the breakthrough finally came in the 61st minute when Muyl latched onto the end of an Amando Moreno long ball over the top of the defense. Muyl took a couple touches and slipped the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Brandon Gomez.
Pateadores saw a golden opportunity go wanting in the 75th minute when an in-swinging corner kick just missed the diving head of a Pateadores player in the box that would have tied the score.
Two minutes after entering the match as a substitute, New York’s Vinny Brunetti scored the final goal for the Red Bulls in the 77th minute after second-half sub Wesley Wade found Brunetti with a pass into the penalty box.
New York plays group co-leader Chicago Fire on Thursday at 9 p.m. in a crucial match, while Pateadores faces Charlotte Soccer Academy at the same time.
“We can go onto the next game feeling a little pumped up and excited and hopefully get the same result,” Louro said.
NYRB: 1-Evan Louro; 6-Mike Kapitula (5-Kaz Boschen, 62), 4-Billy Stevens (19-Kevin Politz, 55), 3-Matt Miazga, 20-Brandon Tetro; 8-Arun Basuljevic , 12-Steven Echevarria, 11-Adam Najem (7-Joe Swenson, 77), 14-Amando Moreno (24-Christopher Lema, 65); 9-Ismar Tandir (17-Wesley Wade, 57), 10-Alex Muyl (13-Vinny Brunetti, 75)
PAT: 60-Brandon Gomez; 30-Jose Castillo, 43-Alex Rosales, 37-Colin McDermott, 39-Corey Schramm (46-Arturo Fragoso, 73); 29-John Baron, 32-Arend Doppenberg (41-Kyle Pizano, 70), 34-Nahum Paz, 28-Kevin De la Torre; 45-Christian Carrillo, 36-Brian Pacheco
St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri’s U16 team controlled from start to finish and erupted with three second-half goals on Tuesday to beat PA Classics 3-0 in both teams’ opening match of Academy Finals Week at the Houston Amateur Sports Park.
SLSG Missouri’s Tommy Barlow, Mark Segbers and second-half sub Brett Hodges all found the back of the net as St. Louis took the lead in Group 2 after CSA Wolves and D.C. United drew 1-1 in the other match.
“In the second half, we tweaked a couple things, got some guys forward a little more and it paid off,” SLSG Missouri head coach Tim Leonard said. “I really pushed the guys at halftime – especially those three up top – to really try to cause some havoc, and they did.”
SLSG outshot PA Classics 8-2 in the first half with a 3-0 shots on goal advantage during the first 40 minutes, yet the teams went into halftime scoreless.
The St. Louis defense played without Curtis Schillingsford, who served a one-game suspension from a red card issued during the team’s Academy Playoffs win against Players Development Academy. SLSG Missouri held PA Classics without a shot on goal for the entire first half.
The best scoring chance for PA Classics was the team’s first shot on goal, when Joseph Julius struck from the right side in the 46th minute. His attempt was stymied by SLSG goalkeeper Jacob Leeker, keeping the match scoreless before St. Louis’ offense got going approximately 10 minutes later. Leeker made two saves in collecting the shutout.
SLSG Missouri’s offense finally broke through the PA Classics defense, beginning with a penalty kick opportunity early in the second frame. SLSG Missouri’s Austin Panchot drew a foul against PA Classics’ Brian Nana-Sinkam in the box, setting up Barlow’s penalty kick attempt in the 55th minute. Barlow shot left and PA Classics goalkeeper Brent Arnold dove in the opposite direction as SLSG took the 1-0 lead.
In the 59th minute, SLSG’s Segbers scored off a rebound from Keegan McHugh’s original strike. PA Classics goalkeeper Brent Arnold got a piece of the shot but not enough to keep it out of the back of the net, and St. Louis garnered a two-goal cushion.
“Keegan got the ball and played it with a nice shot,” Segbers said of the sequence. “I knew the grass was damp, so I just followed up and it came right to me, and luckily it went in.”
SLSG Missouri’s Hodges got into the scoring act during his 11 minutes on the field, pouncing on a rebound to increase the lead to 3-0 in the 76th minute that would hold until the final whistle.
SLSG Missouri faces the Crew Soccer Academy Wolves in their second Group 2 game at 8 p.m. CT on Thursday, July 19, and PA Classics takes on D.C. United at 8 p.m. on Thursday. Both games are at the Houston Amateur Sports Park.
PAC: 1-Brent Arnold; 13-John Philbin (10-Kody Eberly, 67), 8-Brian Nana-Sinkam, 41-Bryce Cregan, 11-Shawn Morrison (4-Keegan Wilson, 67); 21-Austin Kuhn (17-Drew Mahoney, 61), 14-Andrew Skundrich, 5-Shawn Peterson (16-Ian McManness, 50); 3-Connor Maloney, 44-Joseph Julius, 32-Alec Sensenig (12-Andrew Mannon, 61)
SLSG: 1-Jacob Leeker; 19-Blake Gonzalez (8-Matt Steurer, 80), 5-Jordan Klipsch, 2-Justin Graham, 11-Jason Pesek; 6-Austin Ledbetter (4-Brett Hodges, 70), 13-Austin Panchot (22-David Stoll, 77), 10-Keegan McHugh; 27-Mark Segbers, 15-Nick Jones (20-Stephen McMillian, 61), 12-Tommy Barlow (16-Zachary Kavanaugh, 67)
D.C. United 1-1 Crew Soccer Academy Wolves
An 80th-minute Ollie Harris strike rescued a point for Crew Soccer Academy Wolves as the Michigan side drew 1-1 with D.C. United on the first night of Group 2 action of the U-15/16 Division at the 2011-12 Development Academy Finals Week at the Houston Amateur Sports Park.
D.C. United pulled ahead in the 26th minute through a Nigel Robinson goal, but was not able to see out the duration of the match, giving up the equalizer in the last minute after CSA Wolves made a desperate push in the closing minutes.
"It was a game where we played well at times, but it was starting to look a little bit bleak," said Crew Soccer Academy Wolves head coach Lars Richters. "To rescue the point that late in the game was a relief and it's coupled with an excitement that we put ourselves in a position where we can still control our own destiny."
The match started tentatively for both sides. It would be 15 minutes before the first chance for either team fell to D.C. United midfielder Ian Harkes, who blazed a shot over from 15 yards. Despite the dearth of opportunities, play was marked by intelligent, probing balls by both teams as the sides looked to settle into a rhythm and find weak spots in the opposition defense.
Robinson’s speed would prove to be the difference in his breakthrough on 26 minutes as Rafael Fagundo lofted a ball down the right flank that skipped over the defense. After getting an initial touch, Robinson was able square himself on goal and tidily finish from just inside the area; his left-footed effort beating Robbie Beckwell.
CSA Wolves were almost rewarded with an equalizer 13 minutes later through the dangerous Ahinga Selemani, who was on the receiving end of a mazy Blake Townes run through the center of the D.C. United defense. Selemani found himself with room in the box to shoot with this favored left foot, but fizzed his shot past the far post.
The second half started much like the first with neither side creating many clear-cut chances. Not until the hour mark did CSA Wolves start to come alive as they pressed for a goal in the final 20 minutes. Ali Cheaib found space on the left flank to put a low ball across the six yard box, forcing the United defense to scramble the ball out for a corner as Selemani was lurking in the area.
After substitute Tristan Jacobs hit the post on a well-taken free kick in the 63rd minute, it appeared that CSA Wolves were running short on luck. However, after a series of offensive substitutions in the 75th minute, the ball finally broke for Harris who pounced on a missed clearance to stroke home the tying goal from 18 yards and deliver a draw.
"I thought it was unfortunate for us to concede so late, in the last two minutes," commented D.C. United head coach Thomas Torres. "But to be fair Crew Soccer Academy Wolves deserved it. They earned it and they played a very good match," he added.
CSAW: 1-Robbie Beckwell; 4-Matt Habrowski, 6-Andre Morris, 3-Jimmy Fiscus, 22-Brent Winkler (24-Louis Zingas, 41); 7-Blake Townes (9-Ali Jawad, 75), 10-Samuel Brown, 18-Ollie Harris; 21-Zack Atwood (5-Tristan Jacob, 61), 15-Ahinga Selemani, 11-Ali Cheaib (17-Hunter Barone, 73)
DCU: 1-Carlos Canas; 2-Abdi Yusuf, 19-Rafael Fagundo, 4-Suliaman Dainkeh, 7-Christhyan Najar; 14-Christian Kershaw, 15-Ian Harkes (3-Josh Golob, 80+1), 5-Mike Sauers (22-James Doll, 61); 10-Jorge Calix, 9-Michael Seaton, 11-Nigel Robinson