By Ricky LaBlue/Virginia Beach City FC
The only thing more beautiful than the weather on Sunday night at Powhatan Field was the scoreboard, which showed a 4-0 Virginia Beach City win over FC Frederick.
VB City FC’s win in the NPSL National Game of the Week was perhaps the team’s best performance all season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“We’ve got a lot of good attacking players,” said Virginia Beach City FC head coach Brian Hinkey. “We’ve got a lot of pace, a lot of creativity up front… In the second half, I thought we really put it together, in terms of our speed of play, opening them up a little more, finding our targets, getting balls laid back and getting our spacing a little bit better in order to create more chances.”
Forwards Jesse Miralrio and Trevor Knight were responsible for VB City FC’s first two goals, starting with Miralrio’s booming goal from outside the box in the ninth minute. His goal was one of just many opportunities created by VB City FC’s quick and efficient offense.
Knight’s second-half goal in the 49th minute added to VB City FC’s advantage, and it was Knight’s first goal of the season. Knight came on as a sub in the 17th minute, when midfielder Prince Idornigie came off with a leg injury.
FC Frederick wore down as the match went on, and Ezana Kahsay added two goals in a five-minute span late. Kahsay struck in the 74th and 78th minutes, doubling the Virginia Beach City FC lead to 4-0. Kahsay has four goals this season and has scored in each of VB City FC’s three NPSL contests.
“We just stayed focused,” Kahsay said. “We kept the ball more and as our guys start coming back, we’ll build more chemistry and try to play even better. That’s what we’ve been focusing on and the goals, they just keep coming because we have so many threats up top.”
VB City FC’s inspiring 4-0 win came just days after the tragic shooting that claimed the lives of 12 Virginia Beach residents. Friday’s calamity shook the Hampton Roads area to its core, and the VB City FC players hoped to use Sunday’s match as a calming occasion. VB City FC gave free admission to all City of Virginia Beach employees, first responders and their families, held a moment of silence before the match, reserved 12 of their best seats in remembrance to those victims, and each VB City FC player wore #VBStrong on their arms.
“Ultimately, we look at ourselves as a community asset or resource,” Hinkey said. “We want to be something that the community looks to and looks at and says, ‘Those guys have some class, they work hard, they put on a respectable performance and they always try to do their best,’ and I think it’s always hard to figure out how we memorialize when the nerve is very raw. As a team, we really just wanted to come out and put on the best performance that we could. A lot of the situation hits close to home. We’ve got some people we know that have directly been impacted by those events. Hopefully, this provided a little bit of a release, for them to come out and watch the match.”
Virginia Beach City FC now stands at 2-0-1 on the season and holds seven points in the NPSL Mid-Atlantic Conference. VB City FC holds a four-point advantage over Northern Virginia United, who hosts VB City FC next week on Saturday, June 8th. That match will be the first of two straight on the road before VB City FC returns home on June 16th.
“I think it’s a huge match in that you can gain an advantage in the away part of the series with one of the teams I think is probably going to be there vying for the title of the conference,” Hinkey said. “I think it’ll be a pretty pivotal match for us. So going up there, putting up a good performance away, if we could come away with three points that would be enormous.”
Photo Credit: Ciara Strickland Photography and Kathleen Payne