In perfect playing conditions, Charlottesville Alliance FC faced off against Northern Virginia United in front of their home crowd. The Alliance shut out NVU 2-0 in what was a fantastic win for the home team.
Cville Alliance FC started off with a heavy amount of possession where they rarely gave the ball up, instead working it around looking for the best pass available and making the opposition work on defense. The Alliance midfield made some remarkable passes during the first 25 minutes, but failed to finish due to some great defensive play from the away team and the great defensive play from Jacob Campbell and Jared Valdez.
The NVU defense dominated from early on, cutting off any advance by The Alliance. Cville midfielder Joe Bell and striker Aaron Ward-Baptiste moved the ball up the left side of the pitch with some incredible footwork and passing and eventually found Forrest White right near the goal. White, seeing there was a defenseman in his way, made a great pass to the wide open Carson Jeffris on the right side, who knocked the ball into the bottom left to give Alliance a 1-0 lead at the 28-minute mark.
The start of the second half brought even more heavy possession from The Alliance, keeping the same gameplan of moving the ball around and looking for the best pass available. Within the first three minutes of the second half, an NVU defender passed the ball back to his goalkeeper, which was intercepted by Bell with unprecedented speed and confidence. Bell did not waste the opportunity and quickly put the ball in the back of the net before the keeper could get to it, giving The Alliance a commanding 2-0 lead at the 48.
Being up 2-0 in the second half, The Alliance took a more defensive approach to the game and kept taking their time with their possessions, making sure that a comeback stayed out of reach for the away team. Tommy Buono and Abdul-Azim Ismail played fantastic for Northern Virginia, creating some great chances for their club with Buono almost netting a goal a few times throughout the second half. Yet they weren’t able to muster a comeback as the defensive core of Christopher Szeto, Price Thomas, and Fernando Casero proved to be too much for the away team to overcome as the game ended in a win for Cville on their home field.
After the game Bell shared some thoughts on his goal early on in the second half.
“We were happy with the first half but we knew they were gonna come out firing. So I knew it was important as we talked in the locker room to press them hard straight from the get go and they shut off for a second which allowed me to sneak onto that back pass. I think that was a good turning point and crucial for us in the second half.”
Head coach Jon Atkinson also shared his thoughts on the match.
“I think we’re starting to understand to share the responsibilities as a team, and that we enjoy playing at home in front of our fans. Tonight was a opportunity where we challenged our guys if they wanna make a good run in the league. It was a good opportunity tonight to take down one of the best teams in the league, which I think we did well tonight, but we have to be careful to not let complacency creep in.”
Contributor: Charlottesville Alliance FC
Photo Credit: Charlottesville Alliance FC