HOUSTON (July 22, 2012) – North Carolina Fusion forward Alec Rotunda scored a hat trick in a 17-minute span to help lead the Fusion to a 4-1 win against Solar Chelsea SC in the Academy Finals Week third-place game of the U-17/18 division at the Houston Amateur Sports Park.
Rotunda scored goals in the 44th, 53rd and 61st minutes added to a Marco Sunol tally in the 39th minute to help North Carolina overcome a 1-0 deficit set in the first 20 minutes.
Despite being outshot 17-11, including 7-5 on frame during the match, North Carolina made the most of its opportunities to capture the highest finish in the club’s Development Academy Finals Week history.
“We’re delighted with the result,” North Carolina Fusion head coach Marc Nicholls said. “It’s a special moment for the boys and for our club and our area. Maybe the score line flattered us a little bit today. We wanted to win the game and thought it was important.”
After both teams patiently worked the ball around in the opening minutes, Solar Chelsea SC struck first with Hayden Partain’s goal from more than 20 yards out, finding the right side of the net for a 1-0 lead. Jesse Toledo had the setup pass for the assist.
Solar Chelsea SC held the bulk of the scoring chances in the first half, but the Fusion turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead by halftime.
North Carolina’s Marco Sunol scored an unorthodox goal in the 39th minute as his shot hit a Solar Chelsea SC defender and changed the trajectory too much for goalkeeper Adam Esparza to recover. The ball hit the left post and crossed the goal line to tie the score at 1-1.
Rotunda began his scoring tear in the 44th minute as he got behind the Solar Chelsea SC defense and took a shot that was saved by Esparza. Rotunda got the rebound and his second attempt was partially clipped by a Solar Chelsea SC defender, but had enough juice on it to get into the back of the net.
The captain made the Fusion lead 3-1 eight minutes into the second half before putting the game out of reach in the 61st minute off of a nice feed from Craver Stamey.
“It’s been a special season,” Rotunda said. “A lot of us have been playing together since we were really little and we’re all friends on the team. Just to think that we could come all this way and get third place is really special. We’re all representing our families and friends, and everybody back home in Greensboro. We’re proud of what we’ve done all season.”
Solar Chelsea SC was unrelenting in its attempt to get back into the game, peppering the Fusion goal with shot in the last 20 minutes of the game.
Zach Mathers, one of Solar Chelsea SC’s more potent strikers, had several looks at goal including a shot in the 85th minute that forced a nice kick save from North Carolina goalkeeper John Brooks.
After nearly earning a spot in the U-17/18 championship match, Solar Chelsea SC finishes the Development Academy Finals Week in fourth place.
- U.S. Soccer Development Academy Match Report-
Match: Solar Chelsea SC vs. North Carolina Fusion
Date: July 22, 2012
Competition: 2012 Development Academy Finals Week – U-17/18
Venue: Houston Amateur Sports Park, Field 5
Kickoff: 5 p.m. CT
Weather: 87 degrees, partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
SOL 1 0 1
NCF 2 2 4
SOL – Hayden Partain (Jesse Toledo) 20th minute
NCF – Marco Sunol 39
NCF – Alec Rotunda 44
NCF – Alec Rotunda 53
NCF – Alec Rotunda (Craver Stamey) 61
SOL: 18-Adam Esparza (00-Oshick Shams, 45); 10-Murphy Short, 4-Reagan Dunk, 7-Trevor Haberkorn, 12-William Webb; 16-Ryan Condotta, 19-Hayden Partain (3-Sam Hayward, 58), 6-Adam Bonville (2-Chandler Crosswait, 45), 26-Jonathan Guzman (15-Colton Missimo, 58); 23-Jesse Toledo (8-Mason Miller, 58); 21-Zach Mathers
Substitutions Not Used: None
Head coach: Kevin Smith
NCF: 1-John Brooks; 26-Alex Requarth (2-Erik Casterline, 58), 32-Alex Rosenbower, 7-Adam Storm, 6-Mason Billings; 96-Matteo Busio (36-Myles Mansfield, 45), 13-Brandt Bronico, 8-Warren Marshall (38-Hassan Kouyateh, 78); 14-Craver Stamey (17-Taylor Adler, 61), 4-Alec Rotunda, 10-Marco Sunol (16-Sam McBride, 58)
Substitutions Not Used: 00-Jeff Caldwell
Head coach: Marc Nicholls
Stats Summary: SOL / NCF
Shots: 17 / 11
Shots on Goal: 7 / 5
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 3 / 3
Fouls: 6 / 2
Offside: 1 / 1
SOL – Trevor Haberkorn (caution) 89th minute
Referee: Juliana Duncan
Assistant Referee 1: Jason White
Assistant Referee 2: Brandon Rinkenberger
Fourth Official: Cedric Adams
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Alec Rotunda