ECNL ST. LOUIS DAY 2: TACTICAL BATTLES
The second day of ECNL St. Louis featured some highly entertaining and competitive games across a number of age groups throughout the day.
At the 04/05 level, Houston Dynamo Youth took on Minnesota Thunder in an action packed back and forth battle.
Houston Dynamo grabbed an early 1-0 lead on a rocket that was nearly saved by the Minnesota Thunder goalkeeper, but just managed to trickle across the line.
The Dynamo held that 1-0 lead until midway through the second half when Minnesota was able to find the equalizing goal.
That game tying goal caused the Dynamo to switch up their formation for the remainder of the second half, in an effort to create more scoring opportunities.
“We changed the formation and went with a little bit of a high press,” said Head Coach Alfredo Martinez. “We knew after they tied the game we wanted to go for the win.”
The Dynamo began to create some excellent scoring opportunities with the change in formation. In one sequence, Houston slammed a shot off the crossbar, got the rebound and fired it on goal where it was cleared off the goal line by the Minnesota defense, then had a headed shot miss just wide of the post.
Eventually, the offensive pressure paid off as Houston was able to get a rebound off the post and fire it into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead late in the second half. That goal would hold up the rest of the way and the Dynamo earned a hard-fought win over Minnesota.
“I think it was a good game,” Martinez said. “We tried to play our game, organized, passing and moving.”
After winning the National Championship at the 07-age group last season in St. Louis, DKSC was back and looking to build on their success from the prior year. They faced a stern challenge from a Washington Premier side that was ready on the defensive end to give DKSC all they could handle.
DKSC held a lot of the possession throughout the game, while Washington Premier set up in a more defensive formation, anticipating DKSC to have a lot of the ball.
“We didn’t have the ball much, so we had to defend, be organized, and counter out,” Washington Premier Head Coach John Yorke said.
They did exactly that. Although DKSC was able to generate some chances, the Washington Premier defense held strong throughout the course of the game.
In the 68th minute, Washington Premier got their opportunity on the offensive end and took advantage of it. Harper Sabari put one away for the lone goal of the game and gave Washington Premier a 1-0 victory.
“I thought our guys were really good,” Yorke said. “That’s obviously a very good team we played. Their resume speaks for itself.”
Washington Premier has been extremely successful in the Northwest Conference so far, posting a 6-2-2 record through their first 10 games of the year. Yorke believes that a win over a great DKSC team in St. Louis is something that will help his team build confidence as they move further along in their season.
“Anytime you get big wins like that it just builds confidence and allows you to get in situations where you can build back on the memory of how you performed here when you need to perform at a high level.”