This match started with the threat of rain hanging over, and ended in the 84th minute due to an extended thunder and lightning storm. In between, however, there was a back and forth match which included alternating 15 minute stretches in which each side had the upper hand. A 1-1 tie is a fair result for this game, and without some stellar saves from Ronnie Pascale, it could have been even worse.
Jason Yeisley has been a revelation at center back, able to play it in a physical manner that makes it seems like he has always played there. Combined with the rookie Shane Johnson, they played well and were able to keep pressure off of Pascale for most of the game. However, Johnson and Yeisley were not give much help by their central midfielders, Gerson Dos Santos and Luke Vercollone. Both were anonymous during the game, forcing Johnson and Yeisley to be under more pressure.
They also weren’t able to get into the attack, forcing the attack to go through the fullbacks and wingers. Sascha Goerres and Bobby Foglesong were up to the challenge, but their crossing was somewhat lacking (a wet, heavy ball will do that). Edson Elcock and forward Christopher Agorsor were also active, but caught offside on a number of occasions. The pieces are there for this team, which is mostly unchanged from the team that made the semi-finals last year, but they seem like they need more time to gel. A third of the way through the season, time has run out for gelling.
Player of the Match: Stanley Nyazamba. He was active up and down the field, and he put in the free kick that Shane Johnson headed home. When Gerson Dos Santos and Luke Vercollone weren’t able to get things going through the middle, Nyazamba dropped into the midfield and picked up the ball to start attacks. A good performance all around. Honorable mention to Ronnie Pascale, who had another great game, and to Shane Johnson, who scored his first professional goal.
I’ll be back later tonight with a game thread for the second game in two days, against the Rochester Rhinos.