Charlottesville Alliance FC forces draw against Northern Virginia United
The Alliance prevent loss while away with a 1-1 draw
Charlottesville traveled up to Evergreen Sportsplex Stadium to visit the conference’s top seeded Northern Virginia United. The Alliance were able to avoid a loss as the dogfight of a match resulted in a 1-1 draw.
With lightning and a strong downpour greeting the players as they arrived, many were skeptical on whether or not the game would be played. After a 90-minute delay, the players were finally able to take the field and the match begun. With the rain still coming down hard onto the pitch, players had difficulty handling and controlling the ball early on because of the wet and slick conditions.
The Alliance started the match with some great runs up the right side of the pitch led by James Kasak. Using his incredible speed Kasak was able get by defenders and take some great shots from the right side, but unable to find the back of the net. On the opposing side, forward Giovanni Vasquez had some fantastic opportunities to score early on as well, but he was not able to capitalize on his chances either.
At the 18-minute mark, NVU midfielder Ghiles Harmouche received a pass from Shaka Bangura on the left side. Harmouche, who was just inside of the penalty box, was able to find open space and knock the ball into the bottom left corner, giving NVU a 1-0 lead ealy on.
Besides some great shots from NVU forward Tommy Buono, the rest of the first half was a struggle for both teams. With neither team able to penetrate the others defense, the first half ended with Northern Virginia United up 1-0 against the visiting Charlottesville Alliance.
As the downpour turned to drizzle, both teams came onto the pitch to start the second half. The Alliance came out with a newfound aggression as they cut off opposing passes and beat their opponents to the ball almost every time. This aggression gave them what they needed as Simeon Okoro found Carson Jeffris in a similar position to how NVU had earlier scored. Jeffris was also able to find space and curve the ball into the top right corner at the 54-minute mark, evening up the score to 1-1.
The Alliance defense kept NVU from scoring on many different occasions mainly thanks to the incredible play from defender Christopher Szeto as well as midfielder Fernando Casero. Alliance Goalie Connor Jones made some fantastic saves throughout the match, but most notably at the 74-minute mark when NVU took a corner which found Tommy Buono just three feet from the goal. With quick reflexes, Jones made the save regardless and kept NVU from taking the lead.
Kasak and Christopher Welsh later received red cards and were sent off the pitch.
After the game ended in a draw, Charlottesville coach Sam Avery had this to say about his team’s performance.
“This showed out team can fight with anybody. We’re gonna get into dogfights with teams. They’re a great team but at the end of the day we came out here with a result which is what we wanted. The team morale is good, we walk away from this with our heads held high. We played a good team and I’m proud of our guys, they put everything on the field for us.”
Contributor: Ben Montes-Bradley/Charlottesville Alliance FC
Photo Credit: Charlottesville Alliance FC