Bristol Rhythm AFC Ends Season with 3-0 Win over Greenville United

By Parker W. Cox/Bristol Rhythm AFC

Bristol Rhythm AFC prevailed 3-0 against Greenville United on Saturday, July 6.  This win marks their second of their inaugural season in the NPSL and gives Rhythm fans high hopes going into the offseason.

If there is one word to sum up Bristol’s performance tonight, clinical would be the word.  The Rhythm perfected the counter-attacking style of football, and despite not dominating possession, they created chances when they needed to and finished them brilliantly.  It was a stalemate until the 26th minute when Stooge Mbaakanyi created a moment to remember, a brilliant piece of individual skill setting up an absolute rifling shot past the Greenville goalkeeper’s near post.  The first half ended with the Rhythm holding, and they looked eager to add on to their lead coming out of halftime.

The Bristol lead was doubled early on in the second half by Dan Pinkney, and quickly turned into three goals shortly after, thanks to a beautiful curling shot from Mate Langyel.  The reintegration of Lengyel into the starting 11 has been massive for the Rhythm as he has been able to provide a progressive and attacking midfield presence that had previously been lacking in the squad.  Saturday’s win demonstrated how dangerous the counter-attacking style of football can really be. 

The clean sheet away from home for the Rhythm tonight was marshaled by goalkeeper Logan Cassel who made a number of routine saves.  Cassel’s presence in the penalty area has kept the Rhythm safe from opposing set pieces all season long, and earning a clean sheet tonight is a perfect conclusion to his season.  He was of course protected all night by Bristol’s back line who held formation perfectly throughout the match.  They shut down Greenville’s attacking threats and barely gave them a sniff at goal all night.

As for what went wrong from a Greenville United standpoint, their individual skill was never in doubt, but they just couldn’t put together the puzzle.  They had moments of possession where it really seemed like it might lead up to a goal, but most of their chances were either saved or snuffed out by the formidable Rhythm defense.  Greenville will certainly be eager for a rematch against Bristol, but it will have to wait until next season.

This is the style of play fans have been hoping to see from the Rhythm all season.  Being a newly-established side with players who have never played together, the Bristol staff likely opted for a counter-attacking style to suit the circumstances coming into the season.  There have been glimpses throughout the summer of what it might look like if this style of play was perfected, but they would have to get better at finishing their chances if that would ever come to fruition.  On Saturday Bristol did exactly that: took their chances almost flawlessly and tied their season-high for goals scored in a match.  Keeping their first clean sheet of the season was the cherry on top. 

Bristol players, staff, and fans will likely look back on this season and take away a lot of positives despite not being on the winning column very often.  This new organization has grown tremendously and ending the season in winning ways will leave everyone involved with the club in high spirits leading up to next season.  

 

Photo Credit: Austin Pantaleo/Bristol Rhythm AFC

 

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