Game Three Report: US Youth Soccer ODP Boys 1993 Region I
February 19, 2009 09:00 PM
Our third game of the week saw us face the best team and the toughest weather conditions so far. The result was a hard-fought 5:2 loss in a game that was much closer than the score might suggest.
The game against Estudiantes was played in La Plata, about an hour outside of Buenos Aires and although it was a 10:30 a.m. kickoff. I would estimate the heat index to be in over 90 with extremely high humidity. It was reminiscent of the dog days of August in the northeastern United States.
The game started well for us and we were able to create a chance in the 5th minute which resulted in Cole DeNormandie turning on a ball in the box and driving it off the goalpost. Although we were playing against the best team, we have seen all week our confidence was good and we competed well. We fell behind in the 14th minute when an errant back pass to our keeper was intercepted and finished.
The response was very good and we came back into the game and got a well-earned equalizer when Drew Klingenberg, continuing his solid play of the week, clipped a terrific cross into the box for DeNormandie to rise above the defense and head in from about 8 yards. It was his third goal in as many games and we were deservedly tied going into the break.
Our best period of play came at the start of the second half when we were able to force numerous turnovers among the Estudiantes defenders and keep them under pressure with balls into the box. Unfortunately, as often happens in soccer, we conceded a goal while playing well. A misplaced corner kick led to a breakaway that was well finished by Estudiantes in the 45th minute.
We went further behind when we conceded a far post header on a corner kick that probably could have been cleared. It was obvious the heat was taking its toll on our ability to concentrate and move the ball but despite the effects of fatigue our midfielders continued to force turnovers and Eric Bird was a dynamic presence on both sides of the ball. We pulled a goal back to make it 3-2 when substitute striker Zach Batteer ran on to a DeNormandie flick to finish calmly inside the far post.
It seemed reasonable to think that we could get another goal and pull ourselves level, but Estudiantes caught us flat-footed on a through ball and we conceded a fourth goal within a minute.
The final goal came three minutes from time when we turned the ball over on the wing, which led to a counterattack by Estudiantes' best player who is reputedly a U-17 national team pool player from Colombia. He had a couple of their goals and did a good job of punishing our mistakes.
Overall, it was a good performance by our players and although the score might suggest we were outplayed, it was actually our team that controlled much of the possession and tempo. Unfortunately as the game wore on and fatigue got the better of us we were caught on a couple of breakaways and a restart.
Estudinates was a good team and their experience showed in the way they managed to find goals even though they didn't have much possession in our half. It was a painful, but valuable lesson for our team who played with great spirit and conviction in extremely difficult circumstances but weren't able to turn possession into game-breaking goals.
We have played better each game and have shown good adaptability to the conditions as the week has progressed. On Friday, we conclude with a game at San Lorenzo and will look to finish with a strong performance.
Lineup: Tyler Miller (NJ), Will Hare (VA), Ryan Tauss (NY-W), Tim Parker (E-NY), Mark Liebensperger (PA-W), Drew Klingenberg (PA-W), Eric Bird (VA), Cody Albrecht (MD), KJ Hall (DE), Cole DeNormandie (MA), Dan Metzger (NJ)
Subs: Andrew Coughlin (NY-W), Zander El-Hindi (NY-W), Gio Esposito (NJ), Zach Batteer (PA-W), Kyler Sullivan (VA), Stef DeFregger (NH)