OUTSTANDING TEAM PERFORMANCE BY ATLetic TO DEFEAT TOP D3 SIDE ESTUDIANTES
GOAL SCORER (ASSIST):
1-1 (40′) AARON KING – PK (JOSE BALTAZAR)
2-1 (42′) AARON KING – PK (JOSH MERFELD)
3-1 (80′) JOSE BALTAZAR (NICK LINK)
MAN OF THE MATCH AWARD: JOSE BALTAZAR
VaHi ATLetic FC continued their winning form by defeating top D3 side Estudiantes by a score of 3-1, taking their league record to 6-3-0 this season. The game was played at 11 am under cloudy conditions at ATLetic’s home field, Boulevard Crossing Park, in Atlanta.
ATLetic were looking to pick things up in 2013 just were they left them with a 2nd win in a row after their last win 4-0 vs Bafana.
The initial 20 minutes of the game saw Estudiantes control much of the ball to create scoring opportunities. Moving the ball sharply in the middle they stretched ATletic’s defense and had at least 3 scoring opportunities on shots that forced GK Scott Stilwell into action to save his team. Stilwell also helped the team push forward and one of his long punts was almost capitalized by Aaron King. Estudiantes finally opened the scoring when their forward found space behind the defense and lobbed the ball over a rushing Stilwell.
The goal was a wake-up call for ATLetic. Although Estudiantes kept pressing and creating chances, ATLetic was able to regain some ball possession and battle in the middle. Lobelo and Baltazar started finding each other and in one of those ocasson Baltzar found space in the left of field to send a cross into the box looking for King. The Estudiantes center back backpedal to head the ball but did not reaching it resorted to swat it away with his hand resulting in an easy PK for the ref. Aaron King asked to take it and he did not miss putting it in the right low corner for the equalizer.
Smelling blood, ATletic found the 2-1 right after. Jose Baltazar dribbled past two opposing players and gave a perfect assist to Josh Merfeld who came flying on the right wing and was brought down in the box for yet again another easy PK call. ATletic’s skipper gave it up again for King who is in contention for the top scorer title. The forward did not flinch wining the mental games as he put it in the exact same spot for the 2-1. Excellent come back for ATLetic to end the half.
On the Second half ATletic’s game plan was to defend by keeping possession of the ball. Estudiantes attempted to pressure high but their anxiety to get the ball made them commit foul after foul. They also resorted to send many long balls that resulted in at least 7 calls for offside as ATletic’s back line worked well and synchronized. ATletic found space in the counter-attack and King was unlucky not to sign off his 3rd hat trick of the season. Lobelo found him twice on long balls that he was unable to put away and Link found him as well but his shot hit the post.
ATletic’s 3rd was more predictable than Estudiantes equalizer as the game progressed. The game was decided by Baltazar in the 80′ minute who put the final nail in Estudiantes coffin. Another one of Link’s long balls found Baltazar free and with space in the left wing. The man from Angola showed his pace and ball control with a 30 yard run beating the defender and shooting hard and low to the GK’s post who was unable to keep the ball away as the ball cleared the line.
With the game pretty much decided ATletic kept control of the ball while Estudiantes kept looking for it and in many cases resorting to physical play, trash talk and fouls. ATletic’s players kept their cool despite some nasty unsportsmanlike behavior that was surprisingly not punished by the ref. Overall Estudiantes committed 22 fouls (12 on the skipper) whereas ATletic had 8.
In the end a very important victory for ATLetic to keep their 2nd place in the ADASL D3 blue conference but only 1 put behind Piramex who lost to Georgia Tech Club. The team knows they control their destiny to challenge for the divisional title but they must approach this 1 game at a time.
Man of the match award goes to midfielder Jose Baltazar.
Next stop for ATLetic will be a game at home vs Brewhouse United on January 13th at 1 pm.
Stay tuned for team news and come out to support ATLetic in their quest for the D3 ADASL title. Games are free and open to the public!
Check out some game statistics as measured by adidas miCoach