Weather warms up for soccer action
West Ham vs. Ipswich
The long awaited match-up between two undefeated Junior 6 teams, West Ham and Ipswich, did not disappoint.
West Ham started strong working as a cohesive unit across the full width of the pitch and forcing a succession of corners. They took the lead when Noah Skelskie broke through the Ipswich defense. His quick pace and powerful shot resulted in the ball tangled in the net before the Ipswich defense could react. West Ham continued to press. Jackson Deysine was very strong in the tackle position. He started a number of moves with his ability to drill long passes towards the West Ham forwards. Noah Skelskie almost made the score 2-0 just before half time. He rounded the goalkeeper, but his shot was turned against the post on the goal line by Charlie Scruton racing back to cover, a clearance described as breathtaking, could have been on Fox Sports by a watching parent.
In the second half, Ry Currier, a forward for Ipswich, was involved in a number of skillful attacks on West Hams goal aided by Brendan Doherty in midfield. Angie Attard left the field with a bloody nose after the ball caught her in the face, but she bravely re-entered the game in the thick of the action after a short break on the sideline. West Hams defense and goalkeeper William Goldstein continued to keep Ipswich at bay despite an incomplete lineup. West Ham worked hard to hold on to their advantage, and it looked as if they would win the game. In the last few minutes, however, Charlie Scruton capped a brilliant performance and scored 2 goals (his 21st and 22nd of the season so far) to turn things around and give Ipswich victory in an exciting finale.
Both sides should take credit from a tense and exciting match that was played with great spirit.
Birmingham vs. Sheffield Wednesday
Perhaps it was the Indian summer morning that kept six of the Sheffield Wednesday players away from the soccer field on Saturday. Fortunately, the coaches were able to find a replacement goalie, and the Birmingham team continuously subbed throughout the game to keep the playing field even.
The guest goalie in the first half made several incredible saves for Sheffield, including a blast from Jacob Roter. James Carney faked a pass, sneaking it behind him to Elias Griffin, who returned it to James. His shot on goal was absorbed by the goalie. Despite aggressive play by both teams, including Birminghams Katie Higgins and Sheffields Brandon Mirabella and Lorren Winder, the score was tied at zero going into the second half.
In the second half, Luke Dilworth played in goal for Sheffield, making several great saves, even crawling after Elias Griffins second shot on goal to prevent it from rolling in. Dario Flores was tripped on the next play, but still managed to pass the ball to Elias, who punted it into the goal. The referee did not let it play on, however, so the goal did not count. Jane Carpenter and Jack Fergus worked the ball towards Birminghams goalie, James Carney, but were unable to connect for a goal. The Sheffield team began to tire due to lack of substitute players most noticeably Brandon Mirabella, who followed several great offensive plays with a quick rest on the ground. Refreshed, he continued to thwart Birmingham. But with great determination, Flores fired a diagonal rocket over Lukes head, for Birminghams first goal. Birmingham kept the pressure on, with fine dribbling skills by Gabriel Colon. Tyler Rohan blasted a laser, but he shot over the bar. Sylvia Krauss-Grimm moved the ball downfield for Sheffield, but goalkeeper James Carney cleared the ball to midfield. This proved to be the rarest of assists, as Elias Griffin took that pass and fired it in, The final score was Birmingham 2, Sheffield 0.
Bologna vs. Lazio
The Minor 8 division reached its theatrical peak on a warm Saturday with a meeting of the divisions two undefeated teams, Bologna and Lazio. As expected, both sides brought huge talent and heart to a game either could have won and neither should have lost. When Bologna emerged with a narrow win and both teams sat down to a communal feast of pizza and birthday doughnuts, it was clear that this was also a tale of two coaches.
Both coaches were proud at how much their teams have improved from two years ago. I told them, that by working together as a team they could overcome players with greater individual skills, said Bill Bialosky, Lazios coach. Working hard is more fun. Geoff Arens of Bologna echoed that, adding challenging them to less comfortable roles feeds into that. Each kid has a sense of what the others experience. A team is created. For both, winning was not the goal but the by-product.
Juventus vs. AC Milan
The beautiful weather this weekend added to a great game. It was a very close game for Juventus and AC Milan, both teams had a very tough defense and the offenses had to work hard for the goals they made. Juventus prevailed with a 2-1 victory in this very close game, key ball handler Samuel Frere-Holmes scored both of the teams goals. His second goal was a beauty thanks to a precise assist from Nicholas Gunther. Taidgh Barron and William Carr were tough in the goal. And the on-field hustle of Peregrine Donaldson and Alden Cope kept the momentum in Juventuss favor and help them pull through with the victory.
Monaco vs. Paris SG
Following a Saturday night game against a DUSC team under the lights at Pier 40 on a full regulation sized field, Monaco was sluggish during the opening moments of their Sunday morning match-up against Paris. Paris scored first on an executed attack that penetrated Monacos defense midway thru the first half. As the second half began, Monacos legs returned as did their signature speed and passing. Corey Betancourt scored her first goal of the 2005 season on a pressure play in front of the Paris goal to tie the match. Playing with speed and determination, Caspar Henak controlled the mid-field of play for Monaco. Cameron Spector took a ball in the face and was on the sidelines for less than two minutes before returning to play. The goalkeeping duo of Brain Boyd and Alessandra Rossi was outstanding, as well as the passing and playmaking of Joseph Demarco and Lindsay Holcomb. The final score was Monaco 1, Paris 1 and there are only two matches left to play this season.
Downtown Soccer League coaches should e-mail game highlights to news@DowntownExpress.com on Monday mornings.