HOUSTON, Texas (July 17, 2012) – An 80th-minute Ollie Harris strike rescued a point for Crew Soccer Academy Wolves as the Michigan side drew 1-1 with D.C. United on the first night of Group 2 action of the U-15/16 Division at the 2011-12 Development Academy Finals Week at the Houston Amateur Sports Park.
D.C. United pulled ahead in the 26th minute through a Nigel Robinson goal, but was not able to see out the duration of the match, giving up the equalizer in the last minute after CSA Wolves made a desperate push in the closing minutes.
"It was a game where we played well at times, but it was starting to look a little bit bleak," said Crew Soccer Academy Wolves head coach Lars Richters. "To rescue the point that late in the game was a relief and it's coupled with an excitement that we put ourselves in a position where we can still control our own destiny."
The match started tentatively for both sides. It would be 15 minutes before the first chance for either team fell to D.C. United midfielder Ian Harkes, who blazed a shot over from 15 yards. Despite the dearth of opportunities, play was marked by intelligent, probing balls by both teams as the sides looked to settle into a rhythm and find weak spots in the opposition defense.
Robinson’s speed would prove to be the difference in his breakthrough on 26 minutes as Raffi Fagunda lofted a ball down the right flank that skipped over the defense. After getting an initial touch, Robinson was able square himself on goal and tidily finish from just inside the area; his left-footed effort beating Robbie Beckwell.
CSA Wolves were almost rewarded with an equalizer 13 minutes later through the dangerous Ahinga Selemani, who was on the receiving end of a mazy Blake Townes run through the center of the D.C. United defense. Selemani found himself with room in the box to shoot with this favored left foot, but fizzed his shot past the far post.
The second half started much like the first with neither side creating many clear-cut chances. Not until the hour mark did CSA Wolves start to come alive as they pressed for a goal in the final 20 minutes. Ali Cheaib found space on the left flank to put a low ball across the six yard box, forcing the United defense to scramble the ball out for a corner as Selemani was lurking in the area.
After substitute Tristan Jacobs hit the post on a well-taken free kick in the 63rd minute, it appeared that CSA Wolves were running short on luck. However, after a series of offensive substitutions in the 75th minute, the ball finally broke for Harris who pounced on a missed clearance to stroke home the tying goal from 18 yards and deliver a draw.
"I thought it was unfortunate for us to concede so late, in the last two minutes," commented D.C. United head coach Thomas Torres. "But to be fair Crew Soccer Academy Wolves deserved it. They earned it and they played a very good match," he added.
Both sides have one point and sit behind St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri, who posted a 3-0 victory against PA Classics in the other Group 2 match.
-U.S. Soccer Development Academy Match Report-
Match: Crew Soccer Academy Wolves vs. D.C. United
Date: July 17, 2012
Competition: 2012 Development Academy Finals Week – U-15/16 Division
Venue: Houston Amateur Sports Park; Houston, Texas
Kickoff: 9 p.m. CT
Weather: 82 degrees, humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
CSAW 0 1 1
DCU 1 0 1
DCU – Nigel Robinson (Raffi Fagunda) 26th minute
CSAW – Ollie Harris 80
CSAW: 1-Robbie Beckwell; 4-Matt Habrowski, 6-Andre Morris, 3-Jimmy Fiscus, 22-Brent Winkler (24-Louie Zingas, 41); 7-Blake Townes (9-Ali Jawad, 75), 10-Sam Brown, 18-Ollie Harris; 21-Zack Atwood (5-Tristan Jacob, 61), 15-Ahinga Selemani, 11-Ali Cheaib (17-Hunter Barone, 73)
Substitutions Not Used: 0-Grant Mattia, 2-Chase Pagani, 19-Kosti Moni
Head Coach: Lars Richters
DCU: 1-Carlos Canas; 2-Abdi Yusuf, 19-Raffi Fagunda, 4-Suli Dainkeh, 7-Christhyan Najar; 14-Christian Kershaw, 15-Ian Harkes (3-Josh Golob, 80+1), 5-Mike Sauers (22-Jimmy Doll, 61); 10-Jorge Calix, 9-Michael Seaton, 11-Nigel Robinson
Substitutions Not Used: 27-Sergio Reyes, 12-Graydon Hester, 29-Mike Monahan, 18-Robert Palmer, 20-Dolu Oyewole
Head Coach: Thomas Torres
Stats Summary: CSAW / DCU
Shots: 7 / 4
Shots on Goal: 1 / 3
Saves: 2 / 0
Corner Kicks: 3 / 9
Fouls: 6 / 9
Offside: 2 / 1
Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referee 1: Jason White
Assistant Referee 2: Jeffrey Greeson
Fourth Official: Ramy Touchan
ussocer.com Man of the Match: Ahinga Selemani