Written By Brandon Best – Pictures By Destiny Fernandez
Match day: Sunday August 21st, 2011
Starting XI: Campbell, Gonzalez, Kroening, Burstein, Yarletts, Firebaugh, Woodworth, Marks, Greenley, Marchant, Bravo
Subs: Best, Harrison, DelPiccolo, Elbin, Imbrongo, Wilson, Bourland
Broomfield, CO (Broomfield Commons Park) –
After a disappointing week one draw against El Alamo, FC Denver was slated to take on the recent winner of this summer’s Vail Adult League Tournament, Colorado Sporting. In the first week, Colorado Sporting dismantled 3-0 a Pars America squad that has had a recent resurgence. The FC Denver squad knew that they were going to have to improve on their effort from a week prior, if they were going to get the result they desired.
Coaches Firebaugh and Elbin decided that a more aggressive formation would work best with the personnel available on the afternoon, and that it would help stymie Colorado Sporting’s strengths. Right after kickoff, it appeared as though FC Denver had erred, as they were under immediate and sustained pressure for about the first 10 minutes. Colorado Sporting though, were unable to capitalize though as most of their shots were from distance and off target to boot. The individual efforts of Juan Gonzalez, Dave Kroening, and week one MVP Mario Burstein were all key at one point or another in keeping a clean sheet through the first portion of the match. Eventually, FC Denver’s players were able to better understand their roles in the new formation and Tom Marks and Jesse Woodworth began to close up Colorado Sporting’s opportunities through the midfield. With the defensive battle being won, FC Denver’s offensive trio of Vitor Bravo, George Marchant, and Skipper Kyle Firebaugh, were allowed to show their creative chops and started to find seams in the Colorado Sporting backline. The initial goal would not come from the creative play of the attackers though. It would come off the head of the mighty Juan Gonzales (correction), whose streaking run into the box on a corner allowed him to test the tensile strength of the net nylon.
The goal energized the proceedings as the intensity of both squads picked up, which would lead to a slew of hard challenges and some greater pressure on the FC Denver goal. Ian Campbell was able to marshal the backline and clean up any opportunities that Colorado Sporting created. However, he would need the help of the cross bar as a Colorado Sporting player was able to rock the woodwork with an impressive donkey kick while running at a good clip. It was about this time that FC Denver began to bring on their bench, and to once again create some decent opportunities on the Colorado Sporting goal. A run into the box by sub Tyler Wilson would actually be the catalyst for the 2nd FC Denver goal, but instead of scoring himself, he was fouled in an area the referee deemed to be inside the penalty area and awarded a PK. Brandon Best was selected to finish the business, which he eventually did after following up his blocked PK shot and putting the rebound underneath the Sporting Colorado keeper. The rest of the half would go by without much fanfare; except for injuries sustained to Gonzalez as he was trying to hit a cross field pass and Tyler Imbrongo who was injured during a nice American football open field tackle from a Colorado Sporting Defender. The injury to Juan would give Kevin Bourland his first minutes of the season.
Having the most dangerous lead in soccer to FC Denver’s advantage, the players knew that coming out and establishing themselves would be vital to securing 3 points. It didn’t take long for FC Denver to establish their style of play in the second half, as Firebaugh was able to increase the lead shortly after half with a shot from inside the goal box. Firebaugh was the beneficiary of some hard work in the corner by Marchant, where he beat two Colorado Sporting players before hitting a low cross into Firebaugh for the goal. With the third goal against them, Colorado Sporting knew that their chance for a comeback was slipping away and all but made it official when their central midfielder was sent off for his second yellow. The additional caution coming after a run in with Kroening, who did well to squash an attacking play, draw Sporting’s player into picking up his second yellow, all while avoiding receiving his own early exit. That my friends.. is what I call a trifecta.
FC Denver was able to completely kill off the match when Marchant, blasted in a fourth goal from a quick turn and shoot from about 12 yards out. With a score line of 4 nil, the only things left to do was to try and avoid injury from the hard tackles that were taking place and to perhaps try and better the 8-0 score line laid against Colorado Sporting by FC Denver United in the Spring season. Fortunately, most everyone was able to avoid injury in the second half, but unfortunately the game ended with no more goals for FC Denver.
Next week, FC Denver Premier will take on Aguilas at the Dick at 3 pm. FC Denver United will be the game before at 1.
Coach Firebaugh’s thoughts on the match:
“That was the Vail Tournament Champion? I thought we were real creative offensively. We attacked from the flanks. We attacked with small touches centrally. We even stretched them defensively using the long ball. It kept them off balance for most of the game. After the first 5 minutes we were organized and tenacious defensively. Sometimes it’s about looking at the player opposite you and thinking – I’m gonna shut this guy down today; and I think we did that”.
Man of the Match:
Congratulations to Curtis Greenley for being the smartest player on the field with a simple off season choice to join FCD. He also did a great job of tormenting Colorado Sporting on the wings all day and kept his head when some hard tackles were directed at him. Revenge is sweet!