ECNL ARIZONA CLUB COMPETITION DAY 2 RECAP: EVEN STEVENS
In today’s Featured Match of the Day, Marin FC and Seattle United showed what happens when two incredibly even teams face each other. High skill, quality play in all areas of the pitch, and all it takes is one slight mistake and the ball can end up in the back of the net.
For much of the first half, Marin FC and Seattle United did battle in the midfield. From the opening whistle, the two teams were looking to expose the other, which resulted in many changes in possession as they were looking to exploit the other. Early on, Seattle United believed the best chances would come with a high-pressing attack, while Marin FC preferred to play with a more methodical approach down the field.
As the half progressed, the game started to open up and both sides earned quality scoring chances. Midway through the half, Seattle United earned three consecutive corners, but Marin FC cleared each attack. On the other end of the pitch, Marin FC put quality looks on net, but each shot was either blocked or pushed wide.
The half ended with the score tied 0-0 and during the break, each side regrouped and made adjustments to best find the back of the net.
Out of the break, Marin FC tilted the field in their favor, generating plenty of possession in the attacking third. Marin FC’s Enzo Zamorano sliced through the defense and into the box, getting a quality scoring chance that was saved just at the goal line. But just minutes later, Malcolm Zalayet did the same, moving the ball quickly through the heart of the Seattle defense. He ripped a shot low to the left, beating the goalkeeper and giving Marin FC a 1-0 lead.
“We knew that we had a lot of space in the midfield, and we kept trying to play through the midfield,” Zalayet said. “It was working. Eventually, we got through a couple of times and then scored the goal. That came through our midfield play.”
Marin FC’s lead did not last long, however. Right off the restart, Seattle United pushed the ball down into the attacking third and put pressure on the Marin FC backline. Earning a corner, Seattle put a service into the box. It was blocked and popped into the air, where multiple Seattle and Marin FC players jumped at the ball. It was knocked toward the goal and barely crossed the goal line before being cleared. The attempt was too late though, as the assistant referee ruled the ball fully crossed the line, awarding a goal to Seattle United.
“Honestly, I’m not even sure who scored that goal,” Notzka said. But it was great to even the game up like that. It was a little boost of confidence for us.”
Now back even at 1-1, the two goals got the offensive juices flowing. What was once a midfield battle turned into a track meet, with both teams pushing forward often, looking to gain one more goal to get the victory.
Seattle United went down the pitch, forcing multiple quality saves from the Marin FC goalkeeper, while Marin FC continued to dictate possession to push the offense forward. In the final minutes of the contest, Marin FC earned multiple corner kicks, but couldn’t beat the Seattle defense one more time.
As the final whistle blew, the two sides played an incredibly paced and hard-fought contest to a 1-1 conclusion. A game like that speaks to the level of competition at ECNL Arizona, that two clubs from different conferences can play each other that tightly for 90 minutes.
Both Marin FC and Seattle United said a game such as today’s Featured Match of the Day is what makes events like ECNL Arizona so much fun and worth attending.
“The competition level has been good,” Zayalet said. “Very tight games and good players everywhere. It’s very fun and I’m excited for tomorrow to hopefully end the weekend with a win. The complex has been amazing and it’s really fun to be out here.”
”It’s a very high competition level here,” Notzka added. “We’ve played two really good teams here that are pretty high up in their standings. So it’s good to come in and play teams that we’ve never played before.”
To view the complete scores and schedule from ECNL Arizona, click here.