The 2014 Indiana Champions League college showcase kicked off on Friday. We caught some of the action and saw some outstanding performaces.
Indiana Fire Juniors 99B 4 – 1 Indy Premier SC 99B Legend
The Indiana Fire and Indy Premier opened up under-16 play in the Indianapolis College Showcase on Friday with a fast-paced high scoring match. Tied at one at the half, the Fire pulled away with a second-half barrage including two goals from forward Noah Torres to win 4-1.
Indy Premier looked like it might put on a show right away. They created three separate scoring opportunities in just the first seven minutes, but didn’t convert. Justin McKeown crossed the ball into the box near post from the left side, but found no one. Twice Gabe Bowron delivered to teammates behind the back line, but both were called off side.
The first half continued with both sides creating chances out of the midfield, but the Fire got on the board first. Cortland Chitwood took a pass down the right sideline and into the corner from Joseph Ellis and sent it in towards the top of the five-yard box. The ball was deflected toward Anthony Alvarez on the right side near the 18-yard box. Alvarez shot towards the far post and even though the keeper got a hand on it, there was enough zip on the ball to carry it in.
The Premier came right back though with the goal of the day. Shaun Grega served a beautiful ball from about 40 yards out right into the center of the box where Bowron headed it in. The keeper had no chance.
With just a few minutes before the half, the Fire survived a terrible misplay. After a goalkeeper substitution, Joseph Cardwell attempted to rugby kick the ball towards midfield, but made poor contact and kicked it directly to the defender. With just the keeper to beat, Nate Orecchio lined up and sent one towards the net, but Cardwell made a diving save.
Once the teams came back out, it was all Indiana Fire. They went up 2-1 with a header from Torres on a corner kick in the 59th minute and extended the lead with a successful penalty kick five minutes later.
While the Premier were able to launch several threatening counter attacks in the first half, they were all contained in the second and the Fire maintained possession with ease.
The Premier did have a chance to pull within a score a couple of times however. In the 65th minute, Bowron found Connor Moritz on a cross to the near post and he had a good window to shoot, but nearly missed the ball entirely and the keeper scooped it up. Three minutes later Bowron got past the back line on a pass from Orecchio and took a shot from about 15 yards out, but it went straight to the keeper for an easy save. They couldn’t maintain possession though and didn’t threaten for the final ten minutes.
Indy Premier SC 99B Elite 2 – 0 Chicago Edge SC BU15 Premier
Playing from behind is never easy, and that was proven Friday night in the Indy Premier Elite’s 2-0 win over the Chicago Edge. The Premier went into a defensive shell in the second half and the Edge couldn’t through.
After scoring a goal for a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute, it was simply a matter of playing keep away for the Indy Premier.
They didn’t exactly dominate the ball though. Neither side’s midfield could do much but occasionally launch an unsuccessful attack with a mid-range or deep ball. The difference was that nothing, absolutely nothing, got by the Premier back line.
There weren’t many more chances in the first half for the Premier but they converted on another in the 39th minute with a goal from midfielder Vinicius Ferrari to take a 2-0 lead.
The first part of the second half played out much like the first, neither team could mount much of an attack, especially Chicago. About midway through the second half, Chicago started to get some chances, but only because Indy had settled into a defensive shell with four defenders and four midfielders, all playing back.
Kevin Munoz was the driving force of any offense Chicago had from that point on. In the 64th minute, despite egregious over-dribbling, he managed to beat several defenders into the box. The attack earned a corner kick, but nothing came of it. Six minutes later he had the ball again and took a line-drive shot from 20 yards out, but it went wide left.
Chicago’s best chance for a goal came in the 73rd minute when once again Munoz dribbled into the 18-yard box. He kicked a pass to the trailing Eric Gusloff near the top of the box, but Gusloff didn’t get solid contact on his shot and the keeper made an easy save.
While two players scored goals for the Premier, there’s no question the entire Premier back line was the MVP of the match. There weren’t many highlights for them, but only because any attack in the first 60 minutes was stifled.
FWSC 98B Academy 0 – 0 CL Force Elite
A 0-0 tie doesn’t do justice to the match Academy and CL Force played. Both sides had good opportunities to score, there was plenty of shoving and physical play, and a fight nearly broke out in the final minutes. But neither team could gain an advantage and so it ended in a draw.
Both sides got off to a shake start in this one with some disorganized play in the back line that led to scoring chances. Academy’s Niko Rongos snuck into the five-yard box in the sixth minute, but his shot found the outside of the net. Three times in the next five minutes the Force’s back line nearly allowed a one-on-one with the keeper due to poor alignment and miscommunication. Still, both sides emerged unscathed.
Academy midfielder Jacob Shifflett began to assert himself late in the first half and early in the second. He had scoring opportunities in the 43rd minute and 45th minute, but they were either an easy save for the keeper or shot wide. Later in the half, a Force player had open field in front of him after receiving a pass near midfield, but 11 chased him down as the ball approached and stole it away. It prevented an easy breakaway and one-on-one with the keeper.
In the 71st minute, Shifflett found Rongos behind the back line on a breakaway. With space still in front of him, Rongos lined up a shot from 25 yards out and it easily cleared the cross bar. Play had gotten a bit chippy throughout the second half and with the game still scoreless, both sides had begun playing a little desperately.
Five minutes later, on a deep ball into the edge of the Force 18-yard box, the Force keeper collided with Academy’s Nathan Dove while trying to punch the ball out. He remained down on the field for about two minutes and was subbed out with just three minutes left to play.
Academy sensed a vulnerability and immediately attacked. Rongos got behind the back line for what looked like a wide open shot, but stumbled over the ball and the keeper as he kicked the ball and the keeper made an easy save. As Rongos was getting up though, he felt he was fouled by one of the Force players and confronted them. Teammates from both sides intervened before things got out of hand, but the clock remained ticking.
The Force managed one more futile attack after the exchange but time expired.
Top Players from Day 1
GK Joseph Cardwell, Indiana Fire Juniors 99B (3) Navy: Cardwell was subbed in halfway through each of the first and second halves of the Fire’s match against Indy Premier Legend. While Cardwell made one of the game’s biggest blunders in kicking the ball straight to a Premier forward, he more than made up for it with two acrobatic saves. One of them came seconds later on the ensuing attack.
D John Davis, Indiana Fire Juniors 99B (3) Navy: Davis’s role in the Fire’s 4-1 win over Premier wasn’t in leading the attack or making spectacular saves. Against Premier’s quick counter attack offense though, Davis made several tackles and steals in one-on-one situations that saved break away attacks and helped keep the ball on the Premier half of the field
The entire Indy Premier Elite back line: The Premier didn’t give up a goal on Friday and didn’t surrender more than a couple of chances prior to the final twenty minutes when they were already up two scores. None of the individual players stand out since none had to make any stand out plays. They kept their formation, never let anyone get by for open look at the goal, and always maintained good verbal communication.
F Noah Torres, Indiana Fire Juniors 99b (3) Navy: Torres earned this spot by being the biggest offensive threat on both attacks and set pieces on one of the best offenses of the day. He scored early in the second half against the Indy Premier Legend on a header to take a 2-1 lead and scored again near the end of the match to secure a 4-1 win.