Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mayor's Cup Recap

Saturday saw the return of the Huntsville college soccer derby known as the Mayor's Cup in the form of a preseason exhibition match. Alabama A&M traveled across town to take on UAH and after a scoreless first half, the crowd of about 100 was treated to fiery affair that saw both teams tally once from good build up and once by exploiting their opponents mistakes for a hard fought but entertaining 2:2 draw.

It was UAH who broke the seal covering the goals with good work down the left side where a cross was met at the back post for a side footed volley that awoke a confidence in the blue and white squad. A few minutes later, an enterprising UAH forward intercepted a weak goal kick and rocketed a missile inside the near post for a 2:0.

UAH Coach Tafadzwa "Lincoln" Ziyenge discusses the upcoming 09 season and the Mayor's Cup

The second UAH strike seemed to have awoken the sleeping A&M Bulldog, however. As the confident UAH midfield stroked passes together, they were met with determined challenges from the A&M defenders. After several clashes fit for an MMA ring in the center of the midfield, the referee was forced to stop the action to have a word with the coaches to remind them that this was just a preseason friendly, after all.

At this point, the speed and inventiveness of the A&M attackers ratcheted up the pressure on the UAH defenders. With less then a quarter hour left on the referees watch, that pressure paid dividends. Nice work by the A&M number 10 to find a streaking A&M winger who rounded his defender to the endline where he rifled a pass that was met by a lunging sidefooted finish by a hard charging forward in the strikers channel. A few minutes later and A&M worked from the same blueprints as the first goal, but before he could release a shot the winger was clipped from behind for an undisputed penalty. The A&M central defender stepped up to stroke home the final blow in the day's bought and a level score of 2:2.

Alabama A&M Coach Salah Yousif talks about his young squad and the Mayor's Cup

Note: Despite attempts to contact the school's media relations, I've not been able to locate rosters for either team. If anyone has the names and numbers of the players, I'd greatly appreciate it.

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