Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rangers Defeat U-17's

The Swope Park Rangers (the Wizards reserves) defeated the US Under 17 national team tonight out at the Swope Park training complex 3-0 on goals by Roger Espinoza, Herculez Gomez, and Kevin Souter. The Rangers dominated their younger opponents for much of the game, but the 17's still did well throughout, having their moments. The lineups to start the game, looked like this:
Watson - McKenzie - Hohlbein - Marquess
Morsink (C)
Myers - Souter - Espinoza
Zoltan - Gomez
And for the U-17 team
Kitchen (C) - Watts - Herold - Polak
Shinsky - Gil - Duran - Palodichuk
Jerome - McInerney

Both teams started the game off a little cautiously in the rain tonight with very few chances early on. The 17's had a free kick from about 25 yards out that was easily taken by Boris Pardo while the Rangers were sending in some crosses that weren't finding any one on the end of them. The best chance early fell to the 17's, who had a 2v2 break, but Lance Watson did well to shield the 17's forward out of bounds for a goal kick. As the half went on, the Rangers started to control more of the possession and create more dangerous chances. Most of those dangerous opportunities fell to Gomez, who ended up with shots being saved both by the keeper and going just wide of the post. The 17's almost caught the Rangers on the counter, as Jack McInerney got played in behind the Rangers defense. Unfortunately on the wet turf, McInerney got too much of a touch on the ball and Pardo beat him to it before he could get another touch.

The Rangers took the lead late in the first half, as Gomez crossed a ball along the deck. The ball deflected to Espinoza at the back post, who had his shot partially blocked by Earl Edwards in the 17's net, but not enough, as it made it past Edwards, giving the Rangers the lead. The 17's almost answered immediately, as McInerney was played over the top of the Rangers defense. He rounded Pardo, but in doing so went wide of the goal, when he turned and shot from a tight angle, he only hit the post. KC had one more late chance, as Chance Myers broke with Gomez and Zoltan Hercegfalvi on a 3v3 break. Myers found Gomez on the right, but Gomez's cross was easily handled by Edwards.

Both teams made some half time changes, as Matt Besler, Eric Kronberg, and Michael Kraus entered for Aaron Hohlbein, Boris Pardo, and Zoltan respectively. The 17's had Andrew Craven enter for Stefan Jerome while Carlos Martinez entered for Nick Palodichuk. In the second half, the Rangers continued their late dominace of the first half, and doubled their lead early on. A corner by Kevin Souter was headed on goal by Kraus, Edwards made a good reaction save, but the rebound fell to Gomez, who biked the ball into the net, past Edwards to make it 2-0. Gomez continued to be the focal point of the Rangers attack, as he got in behind the 17's defense, but had his shot saved on the line by Edwards. By this point, much of the play was in the 17's end of the field, and while the Rangers weren't always getting good attacks out of it, they were keeping the 17's under a lot of pressure. Kraus almost got behind the 17's defense as well, but at the last second had the ball touched away by Perry Kitchen.

Matt Marquess attacked up the left and played a cross into Kraus, but Jared Watts headed the ball out for a corner. Marquess likely should have made it 3-0 on the ensuing corner, but his downward header bounced off the ground and skimmed the outside of the post and went out for a goal kick. Gomez almost made it 3 himself soon after when he connected with an Espinoza cross, but Edwards did well to block the shot and then knock away the rebound before Kraus could pounce on it. As the half wore on, Victor Chavez entered the match for Alex Shinsky. By this point, the Rangers sat back a bit more, which actually gave the 17's more room to attack and they were able to get deep into the Rangers end. They got a few shots off, but none of them really tested Kronberg in the Rangers net. It was KC that almost struck on the counter a few times, as Gomez got played in behind the 17's defense, but Edwards was well off his line and cut down the angle so Gomez had no shot. Kurt Morsink played in Myers on another opportunity. Myers had Kraus and Gomez square but instead tried to take it himself and ended up firing his shot into the side netting.

Finally, late on in the game, Gomez tried to get by the 17's defense, and ended up getting fouled in the box. Kraus stepped up to take the PK, but put his PK high and over the bar. It wouldn't be long, though, until the Rangers hit their 3rd. It came from Souter after KC had pulled back a counter. The ball got partially cleared to Souter about 30 yards from goal. Souter hit a one time volley that looped over Edwards and into the net to make it 3-0. The final whistle came soon afterwards. The Rangers won like they were supposed to, while the 17's had a good showing. I was particularly impressed by the play of Edwards, McInerney, and Luis Gil at times as well.

Rangers Man of the Match - Herculez Gomez - Gomez was all over the forward line tonight and gave the 17's back line trouble all night marking him. With better finishing or a keeper not coming up with some fine saves, Gomez has a hattrick tonight.

For my readers that are following the U-17 team, their man of the match for me was Edwards, without him in net, the 17's would have lost this game by quite a bit more. His hands were ok, but he needs to hold shots better, although the conditions tonight probably didn't help him out much. Good reflexes and read the game well, only 1 real gaff when he misjudged a cross early in the first half. I thought McInerney was the most dangerous player for the 17's he challenged McKenzie and Hohlbein in the first half, but against Besler in the second he disappeared a little bit. Gil did pretty well overall, but Morsink did a good job of helping to shut down the middle of the field for the 17's. Good luck to them in Nigeria.

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