Tuesday afternoon's game against a Rosario Select team was played in the outskirts of Buenos Aires in hot, humid conditions and temperatures in the low to mid 90's.
Following the first game, we spoke to the team about being more competitive and having better vision and movement. Their response was excellent and they began the game playing some of the best soccer we have seen from them in some time. The rhythm of their passing and the tempo of play was dictated by some good work from our central midfielders, Eric Bird and Cody Albrecht and some sharp wing play from KJ Hall. The guys were much sharper in all aspects of the game than against Quilmes and could have gone ahead five minutes before the break when a perfect left wing cross from Hall was met by Zach Batteer, but his header came back off the cross bar and after a scramble was driven back at goal by Drew Klingenberg whose shot again clipped the bar and went over the goal.
To counter the effects of the heat, we made some changes in the second half and inserted two new strikers. They made an almost immediate impact seven minutes into the half when Cole DeNormandie rose to meet a beautiful cross from Albrecht at the near post after some excellent work from Klingenberg and substitute striker Dan Metzger.
It was DeNormandie's second goal of the trip and it proved to be the game winner. He worked hard as a target for us and Metzger put in a man of the match-type performance with his willingness to run at defenders and also chase hard to pressure the ball defensively.
Rosario had some good offensive players but struggled to close the ball down. We were able to move the ball and make them chase. This helped our confidence and at times we looked very good.
As coaches we were delighted with the team's capacity to bounce back from a disappointing performance in the first game and show their true capabilities.
Wednesday is an off-day and we will have some down time and later a tour of the city. Thursday we travel to La Plata to face Estudiantes who will be a very stiff challenge for us. The game is in the morning so we are hoping that the heat will not be as severe and we can continue to improve the consistency and effectiveness of our play.
Lineup: Tyler Miller (NJ), Will Hare (VA), Kyler Sullivan (VA), Tim Parker (E-NY), Mark Liebensperger (PAW), Drew Klingenberg (PA-W), Eric Bird (VA), Cody Albrecht (MD), KJ Hall (DE), Zach Batteer (PA-W), Stef DeFregger (NH)
Subs: Andrew Coughlin (NY-W), Dan Metzger (NJ), Cole DeNormandie (MA), Zander El-Hindi (NY-W), Gio Esposito (NJ), Ryan Tauss (E-NY)