Virginia Beach City FC’s mastery of FC Frederick continued Saturday night as the visitors held on for a 1-0 victory at Thomas Athletic Field.
Over three seasons, Virginia Beach City has won all five matches against FC Frederick, but Saturday’s result certainly was a struggle as both teams entered with undefeated records.
In the closing 10 minutes, Virginia Beach City’s keeper made a leaping save to keep a clean sheet, FC Frederick had an apparent match-tying goal called back on an offside call and on the game’s final play a header by an FC Frederick player off a corner kick sailed just over the crossbar.
At the final whistle, Virginia Beach City improved to 2-0-3, while FC Frederick fell to 3-1. Both teams are tied for first place in the Mid-Atlantic Conference, each with nine points. FC Frederick has two matches remaining, including the return trip to Virginia Beach, whose only remaining contest is the FC Frederick match.
Virginia Beach controlled the first half and was rewarded in the 35th minute by a goal from James Pace. The play originated with a pass to Pace from Prince Idornigie. With the FC Frederick keeper committed to Idornigie, Idornigie’s pass ended up at the feet of Pace, who shielded off an FC Frederick defender and scored into an open net.
At the half, Virginia Beach held a 9-3 advantage in shots to go with its 1-0 lead.
FC Frederick went to the bench for super subs Benjamin Dao and Jake Gosselin, and within a minute into the second half their presence was felt as FC Frederick had a goal-scoring chance stuffed by Virginia Beach keeper Sharief Stancil.
FC Frederick outshot Virginia Beach 4-0 in the second half, but could not find the equalizer in what turned into a chippy contest. The teams combined for 25 fouls and a pair of yellow cards.
FC Frederick put Virginia Beach under a lot of pressure, and Shawn Baker, who entered in the 72nd minute, nearly caught Stancil off guard with a high shot from 25 yards out. Stancil adjusted quickly and made the leaping save, one of three for the match. In the 83rd minute, Dao appeared to tie the contest but the side judge had a flag raised for an offside call, which negated the score. FC Frederick had one last chance in the closing seconds, but Sinclair Tueno’s header went over the crossbar.
Stancil earned Man of the Match honors, posting his second straight shutout for Virginia Beach City. The loss by FC Frederick ends a four-match win streak. Phil Breno, FC Frederick’s keeper, who finished with three saves, had a personal six-match undefeated run ended in the loss.
FC Frederick is back in action Friday at Fredericksburg FC. A win or a tie will clinch at least a second-place finish for FC Frederick.