Arsenal and Derby players, mostly 6 years old, congratulate each other on a well-played Downtown Soccer League match last Saturday.
Weekend full of fast play in Downtown soccer
As the Downtown Soccer League season wraps up, teams prove you can never guess an outcome, as demonstrated by several upsets this weekend.
Southampton Vs. Ipswich
A chilly Saturday morning greeted Southampton and Ipswich for their first meet this season. The teamwork and determination by both teams was unstoppable despite the low temperature. The first half began with Southamptons Morgan OMara doing an incredible job on defense, determined to stop Ipswichs star kicker, Charlie Scruton. The second half had an exciting beginning for Southamptons Carlos Ritchie, with his first goal of the season. The level of play by both teams was incredible and really showed the hard work and dedication of all the players. It was great to see the enthusiasm, skill and strategy used by Southamptons Charlie Pomerantz, Hanna Weinstein and James Stanke, trying to hold back Ipswichs Brendan Doherty and Ry Currier. What a difference eight weeks of practice makes. Coaches, parents and kids all had fun watching the game.
Blackburn vs. Birmingham
On another unseasonably warm November day, Blackburn (5 wins, 1 tie, no losses) faced Birmingham (5 wins, 1 tie, no losses) in an exciting but rather lopsided game. At first, both teams seemed to have evenly-matched players. Birminghams Gabriel Colon looked like Blackburns Jack Wysoker, staying low on the ball and dribbling in between the players. Birminghams Dario Flores faced off against Blackburns Liam Fuerst with consistent skills used by mostly older players.
But soon it was obvious that the hole left by the absence of Birminghams Elias Griffin and Jacob Roter made it even easier for Blackburns Sader Matar and Jack McGreevy. Margaret Matthews bravely defended the Birmingham goal, but was just not tall enough to stop the first shot by McGreevy. He followed that up with an assist to Matar, who also aimed above Margarets head. Birmingham fought to keep the ball, but it seemed every pass was either misdirected to a Blackburn player or blocked by great defensive moves by Joshua Fish and Jeremiah Wysoke. Any shots on the Blackburn goal went wide of the target. Blackburn converged upon Birminghams goal again, and Margaret came out to trap the ball, but Sader Matar scooted it in behind her. Moments later, Matar (only 6 years old), booted it in for a hat trick. Birmingham tried to shake it off, but a lack of defense on their part allowed Jack McGreevy to score his second goal. Just before the whistle blew for halftime, Margaret made an excellent save, keeping the score at 5-0.
Birmingham coach John Griffin had a lot to talk about at the half-time break, and the players did their best to remain good sports. Matthew Levine was moved into the Birmingham goal for the second half, and Jack McGreevy and Liam Fuerst split the half to defend Blackburns goal. Again, it seemed Birmingham couldnt get a break, even with all their players returning to the field, as Sader scored with a rocket past Levine. Tyler Rohan threw in to Jacob Roter, who made an excellent shot on goal, but Fuerst squashed it. Elias Griffin followed with his attempt to prevent a shut out, trying to maneuver past the formidable defense of the Blackburn team (specifically Lucy Winokur), but his shot went wide. Blackburn took control of the ball again, and Jack McGreevy launched a missile for his hat trick. Tyler Rohan and Jacob Roter followed with excellent shots on goal, but again, Birmingham couldnt connect. Despite the impending loss, the team fought to the end. The final score was Blackburn 7, Birmingham 0, which was the first loss for many on the Birmingham team in two years.
AS Roma vs. Bari
What had been shaping up to be a fine match ended in a lopsided 3-0 victory for Roma. A change in Saturdays schedule due to an October 15 rainout caused some confusion for both teams. A number of players showed up too late to play, leaving Bari five players short including one of their biggest stars, Devin Cargile.
Roma, also missing integral members India and Adrian Cohen, still fielded a strong side. With last weeks shutout against archrival Verona still fresh in their minds, Roma came out blazing. Starting forward Owen Little Dog OKeefe put on early pressure with several strong shots on goal. Midfielders Elaine Rocket-girl Farah, Layla Raven Fadel and Aidan The Flash Rogers turned up the heat and formed an almost impenetrable wall pinning Bari in their own side of the field for most of the half.
Baris goalie was nothing short of brilliant on the day stopping more than a dozen shots from close range, but even his outstanding effort was not enough to plug the leaks as Romas star center-forward, Bryan Speedy Gomez, put home a blistering stab into the left side of the goal after eluding two Bari defenders with a nifty sidestep on a sweet pass from the Little Dog.
Streaking between defenders in the second-half, The Flash pounded home two goals in the upper left and lower right corners of the net amid rousing cheers from his grandfather and the bench. Bari midfielders Sofia and Alexandra Agnifilo had several good rushes, passing the ball well as Bari fought back for several forays into Roma territory with Walter Bernath and Steve Povlitz getting off shots on Roma goalie Joltin Jimmie Demsak who posted his 4th shut out of the season.
Taylor Road-Warrior White played his best game of the season for Roma working tirelessly up and down the field. Left wing Chloe Lombardis star continued to rise as she showed off her skills with a number of excellent rushes putting the ball repeatedly on net and setting the stage for both second half tallies. Anthony The Force ODonnel and Justin The Toe Wenig also had some of their finest moments moving to the attack in the second half as each had scoring opportunities thwarted only by Baris outstanding goal play. Midfielder Eve Grassfield and defenseman Professor Michael Shorris were impressive making numerous stops and moving the ball well up field.
Hearts vs. Aberdeen
At the second Hearts-Aberdeen match-up this season, the Hearts worked to erase the 5-0 shutout by Aberdeen earlier in the season. And they did. The underdog Hearts came back to win 3-1. Early on, Aberdeens Jakob Rosenberg scored with a penalty kick to take a 1-0 lead, but that was the only goal allowed by Hearts goalie Liam De Voe, who expertly defended the goal throughout the entire game. Hearts Peter Manny, assisted by a great pass from Theo Munger, kicked in a goal to tie the game before half time. Strong play from Hearts defenders Zachary Lemonides and Clara Hendler, along with midfielder Conner Doherty who played all over the field, kept the score close.
In the second half, Peter Manny, again assisted by Theo Munger, scored again to give the Hearts a 2 -1 lead. Hearts Alexander Irikura, assisted by good hustle from Rosamund Berdann and Robbie Martino, knocked in the games final goal to give the Hearts a 3-1 victory.
DC United vs. Dallas Burn
DC United prevailed over Dallas Burn 2-1 in a tightly fought contest. DC United played their usual lively game against the very tough Burn team. After exciting action at both ends of the field, Miro Lebeuf-Boncich managed to head the ball over Burn goalie Jimmy Rogers outstretched arms for Uniteds first goal. Terrific work by Cole Evelev and midfield hustle by Oidie Kuijpers then led to a corner. With a slight deflection, Felix Chmiels corner kick flew into the net to give United a two-goal lead. Great defensive work by Carolyn Dean Wolf, Taylor Hickson and Darby Northington held off the surging Burn for the last 15 minutes.
Zach Herman scored Dallas Burns lone goal off a superbly lofted assist from Thomas Stolanki. Other standouts for Burn included forward Harrison Laifer, goalkeeper Jimmy Rogers and defenders Harry DAgostino and Cristin Hu. Emma Vasta-Kuby and Vitaly Kahn also played well, hustling on both ends of the field.
Compiled by Caitlin Eichelberger