Virginia Beach City FC Draws D.C. United U-23 in Friendly

Virginia Beach City FC hosted D.C. United’s U-23 team at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex on Sunday night in a friendly that shows the continued strengthening of the bond between the two clubs.

VB City FC controlled much of the game but allowed a goal in stoppage time, playing to a draw.

“I liked the overall mentality of our group,” said VB City FC head coach Brian Hinkey. “To give one up at the end like that, it’s ok. I changed the lineup quite bit throughout the game to get some different things, but I feel like we put a stamp on the game. So I’m pleased with it.”

It was an exciting first half at the Sportsplex, as VB City FC peppered D.C. United with shot after shot. VB City FC failed to score in the first but in the 57th minute, Thomas White headed in VB City FC’s first goal of the night on a corner kick from Jordi Davis. The score gave VB City FC a 1-0 lead, a lead they would hold for almost the entire game. D.C. United tied the game in stoppage time, forcing a draw.

Despite the result, Hinkey walked away pleased with his side’s performance.

“Our defensive pressure was much better,” Hinkey said. “It was hard for them to play out of the back, it was hard for them to play out of the midfield. I don’t really think we gave a lot away. I think we created some good chances. I think we still need to be more patient on the attack and more secure with the ball at times.”

Hinkey awarded Man of the Match to Alvaro Tina, who moved from outside back to center back for Sunday’s friendly.

“We slid him into the centerback spot and I thought he was fantastic tonight,” Hinkey said. “The intensity was there and the quality was there. He was covering all over the place. I thought it was a great match for him.”

Sunday night’s friendly marked another point in the strategic partnership between VB City FC and D.C. United that began in February 2018. The two clubs announced an agreement designed to benefit both clubs through annual friendlies, educational sessions for Virginia Beach City FC academy staff and an expanded scouting network for D.C. United.

“I’m Virginia Beach-born myself. I was born and raised here,” said Phillip Croft, DC United’s U-23 head coach. “I was with Beach FC my whole life and I think there’s so much talent down here. You look at football players that come out of this area, it’s the same thing with soccer. There’s so much talent that goes on to play at Division I schools but there’s so streamline, like, ‘This is the club to play for.’ So it would be huge if we could get it where Virginia Beach City FC is the team that the top players want to play for.”

Croft said that he was impressed with Virginia Beach City FC’s players, particularly forwards Amir Shihata and Tye Stallins.

“His positioning was fantastic,” Croft said of Shihata. “In the first half, he was always sneakily between out centerbacks. We got caught in the counter so many times because of his positioning.”

Stallins subbed into the game and controlled much of the second half, creating numerous opportunities in the second half.

“He was so quick,” Croft said of Stallins. “He probably could have snuck a goal in the second half. We got kind of lucky.”

In April 2018, Hinkey was named head scout of the Hampton Roads metropolitan region. Hinkey’s role with both Virginia Beach City FC and D.C. United brings the two organizations closer together.

“I think it’s a win-win situation for D.C. United and Virginia Beach City,” Hinkey said. “I think there’s a lot of quality players that are coming out of this area. We’ve already seen some of our youth players get opportunities in their youth development academy, and there isn’t one here in Hampton Roads.

“Ultimately, what I want to see is players getting the opportunities to reach the highest levels of the game. In the United States, that’s the MLS. So naturally, we want to be affiliated with something at that level.”

Virginia Beach City FC will resume their NPSL schedule when the boys travel to Maryland to take on FC Baltimore at Essex Community College Stadium on June 9. The match, which is scheduled to start at 7 p.m., gives VBC another opportunity to add to their point total. Hinkey is hoping for a higher level of intensity, something the team lacked in their win vs. Charlottesville Alliance FC.

“Compared to Friday night, I thought our mentality was good,” Hinkey said. “Ultimately, I thought we had a great mentality as a group and when you’re building these teams, you have very limited time and I think we’re hitting our stride here at a good point in the season.”

Prior to the men’s game, the VB City FC women played the NWSL’s Washington Spirit reserve team. Down 2-0 in the second half, the VB City FC women scores back-to-back goals to tie it up. Savyon Hammond scored in the 67th minute, while Starland White tied it up in the 71st. The two teams played to a draw, but the result should give the VBC women confidence moving into their next match vs. Old Dominion Cesena USA on June 23.

Contributor: Ricky LaBlue/Virginia Beach City FC
Photo Credit: Martin Mitchell/Upper 90 Photography

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