City Falls to Sporting in Regular Season Opener
THe start that we all wanted
City started the game off just the way anyone on the team would have hoped. 45 seconds into the game a brilliant combination play between Aldony Mendez and Willy Guerrero put City up 1-0. The next ten minutes of the game would see both Sporting and City pressuring each other's goal with ferocity. A couple great saves by City's Buegar kept Sporting at bay, and some equally great saves by Sporting's Ryan Shifflet kept a thunderous attempt from Klepal out and a sneaky toe poke by Belliard from entering the goal. Neither side was giving an inch.
With 7 minutes to go in the first half, Sporting finally found the back of the net and tied the game 1-1. Then it started to go downhill for City. Two (second) PK calls later City found themselves going into half 3-1. A discouraging score line for such a tremendous effort and resilience by the City squad.
Second half flurry of Goals
City came out of half with a determination to create chances and press the game. 1v1 attacking by Klepal, brilliant ball movement by Belliard, and some dominant pivot play by Mendez, saw City take an upper edge early in the second half. The movement was smooth and defense tight as the first 5 minutes of the second half went by. City finally broke through when Klepal beat a player 1v1 on the outside, dished it out to Belliard who rolled it past a defender and shot it. First attempt got saved by the keeper but the follow up went through putting City within striking distance at 3-2. Sporting responded 2 minutes later with a brilliant strike from midcourt that put Sporting up 4 - 2. Sporting scored again shortly after, off of a back post finish that put them up 5-2. City dug in and started pressing again. Klepal again took Sporting on 1v1 on the outside and found Belliard who spun around and slotted a perfect ball to Ryan Derby who slotted one home at the back post to put the score line at 5-3. 2 minutes later Derby scored again off a brilliant 1v1 effort by Mendez, who slotted a pass to Belliard who again slotted Derby a perfect ball to the back post to make the score 5-4. With 8 minutes to go in the second half, it went all Sporting. Another 1v1 effort from Sporting put them up by 2 (6-4). Than a free kick goal went in for Sporting to make it 7-4. With the last 5 minutes remaining, City started pressing. Some great chances were created with some individual 1v1 efforts by Mendez and Klepal. City's Guerrero found himself in space as well, just missing a near post shot attempt. With 3 minutes to go Sporting scored as City found themselves caught pressing the ball, making the score 8-4. Attempts in the final three minutes were thwarted by both teams and the game ended with Sporting ahead 8-4.
What we Learned about City in the first regular season Game
City created multiple scoring chances and continued its attacking prowess. The creativity by Klepal and Belliard, combined with the lethal scoring ability of Mendez, is destined to drive City. Problems defensively showed again, as City was unable to keep Sporting at bay. 1v1 defensive struggles plagued City and is something the team will have to improve on. Five things we know for sure. Buegar is tremendous in goal, Klepal can beat players left and right off the dribble, Belliard is settling into a dominant Ala role, Mendez is lethal in front of goal and Derby and Guerrero showed tremendous signs of improvement. The Future is bright.