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ORSA U17 at Mercer - 05/04/14

posted May 6, 2014, 7:42 PM by Thomas Pfennigwerth
ORSA U17 drew 2-2 away at Mercer. The smaller, skillful Mercer team showed some good play on a huge field with wind and slope having their affect. However a decent game occurred as ORSA battled hard and a draw was a fair result even if it was the result of an extremely dubious penalty decision.
ORSA started slowly and could have been behind early except for Morgan and Stryffler coming to the rescue defensively. Against the run of play Max lane battled through the defence and nodded it past the keeper to open the scoring. It was a close game with ORSA's 4-1-4-1 formation struggling to cope with the size of the pitch and keep shape while supporting the lone striker. Too often the center midfield players pushed forward and were unable to get back, leaving the defence exposed, even with McClaughlin playing holding midfield. Joey Weaver best managed to hold the shape together, by staying more central and pushing on less. Mercer generally bypassed the center particularly going down their left where Savannah King, Crystal Coon and Chris Morgan work hard and well to stop them. Eventually Mercers passing game paid dividends and they tied it up before half time.
For the 2nd half coaches Richards and Euchler (the oldest coaches in the league, 108 years between them) decided to switch from a 5 man midfield and add a second striker to support Lane, so going 4-4-2. Swartz, McClaughlin and Wolfee took that role. The plan was to continue to have the Mercer defense turn and try and cope with pace. McClaughlin, Dye and Lane played some delightful passes through and behind the Mercer defense to stretch them. However the game took a turn as Malik Richburg was adjudged to have fouled in the box, despite getting all ball. The cocky penalty taker duly dispatched to make it 2-1. The game became a little edgy as Richburg took the fight to Mercer regardless of whether he was left back, left midfield, center back or center midfield. He was eventually "asked to take a break" to relax for a few minutes. to be fair ORSA was just a bigger, older team, so while aggressive, some of the "pushing" fouls were very dubious. With Malik off the field, Savannah King took his place. Luke Dye decided to bang his eye into a tiny defender with beautiful results as he sported a shiner which could be his prom date.
With 15 minutes to go and Richburg restored he won posession just inside Mercers half and using his and Lane's special method went forward striking the ball from 30 yards out which looped over the keeper into the net to tie it up. Brilliant.
It looked like ORSA would win it as they pressed late on, but the huge pitch had taken its toll.
Honorable mention to Zach Stryffler in goal who made several fine saves and clearances, he is having a fine season. A Good team performance all round, this team is finding its character and has lots of heart. With 2 wins and a draw we are in charge of our destiny. Player of the game honors have to go to Malik Richburg for entertainment value, being involved in everything and giving 110%