USA U21 v Moorpark Select XI Match 2 – Saturday 2nd August 2008
Following their close game on Thursday evening, USA U21 and Moorpark Select again locked horns in a tight game on Saturday morning. USAU21 came from behind to score a late winner and win the game 2-1.
The game started with Moorpark engaging in a half-court press, enabling the USA U21 back four plenty of time on the ball. It was in the 5th minute that USA had their first clear cut chance with Jed Cunningham setting up Will Holt with a very open shot which was flashed over the bar.
Soon after, Moorpark started to take control of the game and scored in the 8th minute when they latched onto a hopeful cross to tap in from close range. Some very loose defending in the circle saw any one of 3 Moorpark players available to knock in the goal.
Moorpark continued to pressure the USA and had penalty corners in the 10th and 16th minute, the first of which was excellently saved on the line by John Ginolfi from a dummy strike and then flick which had the goalkeeper logged.
In the 18th minute the USA went excruciatingly close when Jed Cunningham delivered a super cross but the deflection went just high and wide. shortly after, the full press the USA had been working on worked wonders as a turnover was converted into a goal after some slick short passing set up Asavir Kalla to slot home.
The end of the half saw the USA having the lions share of possession with Colin Scally Manny Martinez and Nick Szoke working hard up front but mis-traps letting down the flow of the play. Two penalty corners in the last 10 mins were both sent wide.
A call for greater composure in the circle, and greater persistence in the pressing at half time, went largely unnoticed as Moorpark had the better of the opening exchanges in the 2nd half. Moorpark had penalty corner in the 5th minute after a mis-trap in the D, which was well saved, and USA had a clear cut chance soon after in the 6th minute where a lack of composure in the circle averted a great opportunity for the USA to go ahead.
The frustrations for the USA started to creep into the game, with Will Holt being shown a yellow card in the 8th minute for dissent, and a 10 minute period of pressure for the USA also saw an unnecessary penalty corner awarded for indiscipline in the 18th minute.
The teams shared opportunities, with penalty corners at both ends. The USA not making the best of penalty corners in the 14th, 20th and 22nd minutes. Moorpark had an excellent chance to go ahead in the 26th minute from a Penalty Corner, but Andrew Zayac in goal made a fantastic save from a drag flick into the top left hand corner. The ensuing counter-attack saw a great piece of attacking hockey from the USA, with a swift transfer and cross which wasn’t quite latched onto.
USA really should have taken the lead in the 28th minute when a strong drive from Will Holt resulted in a penalty corner. The drag flick was saved, but the rebound which came to Ryan Sundeen at chest height was put across the face of the goal.
Late in the game, as both teams searched for the elusive winner, it was Moorpark who felt they had snatched it when a deflection opportunity went just wide in the 31st minute. An inspired substitution which saw Jed Cunningham playing in the forward line was rewarded when an excellent incisive pass by Liam Walsh a quick free hit, and a nicely taken reverse stick shot saw Cunningham put the USA ahead in the 33rd minute.
In some nervous final minutes the USA conceded a penalty corner from some messy tackling and Jed Cunningham received a yellow card for knocking the ball away in the 34th minute. However, the USA was able to stay strong and hold onto a 2-1 win to take the 2nd game and thus the series.
The two teams meet again on Sunday in the final game of the 3 match series.