The boys Jefferson Cup kicked off on Friday. The annual tournament draws some of the best teams and players from across the nation. These are some of the highlights.
Triangle United SA Gold 1 v. Beachside SC 2
The top team from Connecticut and the top team from North Carolina squared off in a wet, windy, and wild opening match to the 2014 Jefferson Cup at River City Park in Richmond VA.
The slippery conditions seemed to be a factor for the Triangle United back 4 as a few costly mistakes early caused an easy follow up goal from the CT state champs. Although the slick ground affected the back line from both sides, the crafty midfield from Beachside did not seem phased by the conditions. Led by Jeff Charles, Jibri Lawerence-Salaam and the Michigan recruit Francis Atauhene, Beachside was able to move the ball around with one and two touch passes which enabled their wingers to get in behind the Triangle defense.
Triangle did not go down without a fight, as they used the slick conditions into their advantage on the offensive side. The Region 3 powerhouses maintained most of the possession and were able to cash in on a mishandled shot. The follow up gave the United Gold the equalizer they deserved.
Beachside SC had Triangle on the ropes after hitting the crossbar and missing a late one-on-one opportunity, but the relentless attack paid off in the 89th minute when Francis Atuhene scored the game winner. Both sides can walk away from this game proud, as many 2014 hopeful recruits were able to showcase their talent in front of numerous college scouts.
Princeton SA Premier Orange 1 v. Sereno 96 Boys White 0
Princeton got off to a great start capitalizing on a long throw that was flicked on to a left midfielder that with no Sereno defenders around him. The right-footed volley from Matt Skinner sailed into the upper right corner for the early 1-0 lead afternoon.
Sereno Soccer Club didn’t wait long to get there chance at goal as Roberto Valadez Paz’s fancy footwork saw him in a one-on-one opportunity no more than a minute later. The goalkeeper of Princeton tipped the shot to the lower left corner wide.
The Arizona side would continue to apply pressure into the second half as they saw many shots bounce the wrong way in effort to equalize. In the waning minutes of the game the momentum shifted back to Princeton as they forced Sereno to play deep in their own end. With the sloppy conditions Sereno was forced to play the long ball and time was not on their side. The Premier Orange led by goalkeeper Matt Weigner held on to a narrow 1-0 victory.
After the game I was able to catch up with the Princeton Premier Orange head coach James Quinn. When asked about the playing conditions today he responded “ We always try to play soccer the right way…when its wet out its very important that we play quickly.” He went on to add that he was very pleased with the way his group adapted to weather conditions and he is hoping for better weather tomorrow.