Vardar Defeats Concorde Fire 3-0
CARSON, Calif. (July 13) — Michigan’s Vardar dispatched Atlanta’s Concorde Fire with a 3-0 win in the final game of the day at The Home Depot Center. Ezekiel Harris opened up the scoring for Vardar in the 21st minute, but it wasn’t until midway through the second half that Joseph Dillon put the game away for his side. A third by Miche’le Lipari capped the night. The win propels Vardar to first place in Group 2 with 4 points, but only ahead of Real So Cal on tiebreakers.
On one of the warmer days in Finals Week so far, this matchup began slower than most. Vardar contained most of the possession, but was unable to connect on final passes in the attacking end while Concorde used their trademark grit and hustle to pressure their opponents at every opportunity. But one moment’s lapse of attention enabled Vardar to gain an early lead from the foot of Ezekiel Harris.
Starting with possession along the back line, defender Zach Schewee passed along the ground to Harris just past midfield near the center of the park. Seeing space diagonally to his left, Harris pushed the ball forward and split between the center and right backs, eventually entering the box to the left of the key. Holding off his challenger on the right, Harris shot cross-body across the goal and off the inside of the post for a 1-0 lead.
Keeping their heads up, Concorde continued to pressure in hopes of tying the match. But consistent Vardar possession kept their chances to a minimum, and saw the half end with a 1-0 scoreline.
The second half began much like the first, with Concorde’s determination starting to disrupt the Vardar passing game. It took a set piece for Vardar to extend their lead in the 63rd minute off the head of Joseph Dillon.
Looking to stop a fast break, Concorde fouled Vardar’s Peter Jacobson just inside their half. With his team filling up the goal box, Caleb Stanko stepped up to loft a ball in on goal. With the pass going straight down the middle, goalkeeper Brendan Moore was waiting to catch the ball but was beaten to it by Dillon, who’s slightly glancing header re-directed it just to the right of Moore.
Concorde had a solid chance just two minutes later to pull one back of a set piece of their own. The Fire’s Greg McKenzie sent in a free kick from the right side in the attacking half, but the ball was headed clear by Vardar. Waiting to collect 25 yards from goal was captain Stephen McGill who collected and fired hard from dead center. Diving to his left, Vardar goalkeeper Jonathan Jebson made the biggest save of the night to preserve his shutout.
Miche’le Lipari finished the match for sure with a strike of his own in the 76th minute, capitalizing on a scramble in the box. A cross from the left by Stanko was initially knocked down by the defense, but Lipari pounced on the loose ball to the right of the penalty spot. Stepping around a turned around defender, Lipari fired hard to the back left post and hit the side netting to give his team their third of the evening.
The result puts Vardar at the top of their group with 4 points, ahead of Real So Cal on goal differential. Both teams will play next on Thursday, July 15 at 4 p.m. PT.
Development Academy Finals Week Match Report
Match: Concorde Fire U-17/18 vs. Vardar U-17/18
Date: July 13, 2010
Competition: Development Academy Finals Week
Venue: The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif.
Kickoff: 6 p.m. local time
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Concorde Fire 0 0 0
Vardar 1 2 3
VAR – Ezekiel Harris (Zach Schewee) 21st minute
VAR – Joseph Dillon (Caleb Stanko) 63
VAR – Miche’le Lipari 76
CON: 24-Brendan Moore; 23-Alex Sullivan, 15-Nolan Hemmer, 18-Nikos Papanikolopoulos, 7-Alex Sandland; 21-Jordan Levine (32-Ehiosasele Aburime, 46), 10-Greg MacKenzie (22-Sawyer Hemmer, 69), 6-Stephen McGill (capt.), 11-Kevin Rodriguez, 2-Malcolm Miller; 28-Carlos McCrary (4-Connor McWhorter, 86)
Subs not used: 0-Simon Carter, 8-Mitchell Williams, 12-Chris Duvall, 16-Sean King, 17-Tyler Daly, 25-John Davidson, 29-Arturo Cruz,
Head Coach: Ken Kurilec
VAR: 0-Jonathan Jebson; 23-Zach Schewee, 2-Zachary Carroll, 4-Joseph Dillon (capt.), 18-Mario Teixeira; 20-Garth McClellan (19-Miche’le Lipari, 54), 5-Derek Schrauben, 21-Caleb Stanko, 8-Rob Dolot; 10-Peter Jacobson (12-Michael Pugh, 63), 11-Ezekiel Harris (7-Blake Skamiera, 72)
Subs not used: 1-Dean Dziewit, 14-Dario Folino, 15-Mahamoudou Kaba, 22-Fatai Alashe
Head Coach: Demir Muftari
Stats Summary: CON / VAR
Shots: 14 / 11
Shots on Goal: 7 / 5
Saves: 2 / 7
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 7 / 12
Offside: 1 / 6
Referee: Fotis Bazakos
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Contreras
Assistant Referee 2: Robert Sarfaraz
Fourth Official: Sorin Stoica