• December 5, 2021

Full Throttle

WNY Flash and NTH-NASA battled each other in Sunday’s Featured Match of the Day at ECNL South Carolina, and it lived up to the billing. 

During the first half, it was all WNY Flash, as the team took over the game from the opening whistle. 

Just five minutes into the contest, after a couple of scoring chances, WNY Flash got on the board off a goal from Bryce Koagel. Sprinting down the middle of the pitch, Shane McMillan received a pass from his midfield and then brought the ball out wide to the left before crossing it back into the middle. Running to the back post, Koagel knocked a header into the open cage to give the Flash a 1-0 lead. 

Following his assist on Koagel’s goal, McMillan added a tally midway through the first half. Once again, WNY Flash corralled a ball on the left side of the pitch, where it was lofted into the box toward the back post. Waiting there was McMillan, who got his head on the pass for the easy score and 2-0 lead. 

Trailing 2-0 and with the half winding down, NTH-NASA started to build their own attack and earned some scoring chances, but the WNY Flash goalkeeper stood strong and kept his sheet clean. And with just minutes to spare, and two clutch saves, WNY Flash launched the ball toward the NTH-NASA goal. A miscommunication between the goalkeeper and defense allowed Will Field to give the New York club a 3-0 advantage heading into the break. 

“We came out flying in the first half,” said WNY Flash goalkeeper Carter Kladstrup. “One goal, two goals, three goals. We knew they were a very good team and that they were going to be ramping it up at some point.” 

“First half, we came out pretty slow,” said NTH-NASA winger Dylan Williams. “We didn’t really get off to a good start and definitely put ourselves in a hole right off the bat.” 

Coming out of the half, NTH-NASA changed up its formation, and it took some time before the team saw its formation switch pay off. The two squads went back and forth, but slowly and surely, NTH-NASA started to tilt the field in its favor. Midway through the half, NTH-NASA got on the board. 

Williams received a pass from his backline with a defender right up against him. Williams made a turn with the ball to beat his man, raced in on the Flash goalkeeper, then snuck a shot between his legs to cut WNY’s lead to 3-1. With 10 minutes left, Williams then added his second of the game, cashing in on a rebound after a shot from his teammate, bringing the score to 3-2. 

“In the second half, we switched to a 4-1-4-1 from a 3-5-2, so our wingers were able to stay up and mark their outside backs, and it paid off,” Williams said. “My first goal, I got the ball on the half-turn and beat their center back and was able to slip it past the goalie. And then the second, just an easy put back.” 

Back on their heels, WNY Flash had to weather the storm to earn a victory. Kladstrup was being tested more and more, but despite the two goals against, his confidence remained high. 

With just minutes left to play, NTH-NASA earned a free-kick outside the box, setting up a pivotal moment in the match. NTH-NASA put the service into the box, and there were plenty of bodies ready to get a head on the pass. The header went on net, and Kladstrup leaped into the air, pushing the ball up and over the crossbar for a corner. On the ensuing restart, Kladstrup came off his line to snatch the ball out of the air, ending the scoring chance. 

“They have really good strikers on their team and they were hitting the ball well,” Kladstrup said. “We kept giving up fouls, but shout out to our defense, they did a really good job of staying in front of them.”

Moments later, the final whistle blew, and aided by its three first-half goals, WNY Flash walked away with the 3-2 victory. 

To view all ECNL South Carolina scores and the full schedule, click here