Sunday, June 28, 2009

Finally!! RCU beats Atlanta FC

In his first start for Rocket City United, Derek Pirtle was the difference as Rocket City United secured a crucial three points in the standings with a 2:1 victory over Atlanta FC. RCU head coach Greg Petersen dispatched Pirtle into the midfield to provide an "athletic presence" and the ever-ready midfielder did not dissapoint in his 65 minutes on the field.

After RCU gave up a nice goal to AFC's Jose Silva in the 21st minute on a powerful header from a corner kick service, it was Pirtle who evened the tally with a backpost header from a Paul Willoughby free kick from the flank. In the 29th minute, RCU newcomer Kyle Timm used excellent vision to play a terrific through ball to Willoughby. Willoughby used his quickness to draw a foul just outside the penalty area a few yards from the end line. On the ensuing free kick, Willoughby's ball found Pirtle who just needed redirect the ball toward net to score his first goal of the campaign.

Man of the Match Derek Pirtle discusses the big win

In the 38th minute, it was Pirtle's energy that led to the second goal. After Sutton Shults lost the ball, Pirtle doggedly tracked down the touchline after winning a desperate challenge. Pirtle then spotted Willoughby making a run into the area. Pirtle's service caused the AFC backs to misplay the ball which fortuitously fell to Rafa Barbosa who made no mistake and smashed the ball into the net for the go ahead goal.

The second half saw both teams squander multiple chances in front of goal with the highlight being Paul Willoughby mazy dribbling exhibition in the 61st minute. After receiving another excellent pass from Kyle Timm 40 yards from goal, Willoughby glided past five AFC defenders as if they were traffic cones on the training field. After getting past the last defender, Willoughby lashed a curling shot that crashed off the far post to end a truly Messi-like display of skill and body control.

With the time on the clock clicking down for AFC, coach Ricardo Montoya replaced defenders for attack minded players in an effort to equalize.

AFC coach Ricardo Montoya discusses the loss

While on the other end, RCU continually looked to apply the final protective coat to the game's shine. In the 86th minute, it looked as if Rafa Barbosa had his hand on the brush when he reached around the last AFC defender to pick the ball away. As he charged into the area and crisply beat the AFC keeper, a flag went up and the play was whistled dead as a foul had been judged to have occured.

As cries of derision rained down on the officiating crew, RCU took to the task of seeing out the match and the 3 minutes of injury time. A few tense moments occured as the back line of RCU yeilded but did not break and RCU had the three deserved points.

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