Today, under the watchful eye of KUA’s Live Stream camera, our boys faced off against Proctor Academy’s JV2 team. We had met them before at Cardigan’s Round Robin and ended the match with a 0-0 tie. Today we faced them without the stalwart support of Cody Nguyen and Kyle Young, two of our key defenders who are on the DL.
For the first four minutes, the play was back and forth in the middle of the field. Suddenly, Proctor pulled a dump and run and they were inside our box. Max van Dijk attacked and pulled off a save from a point blank shot. After his punt we saw Tryder Kulbacki drive far up the right side and send a cross into the middle; a play we would see many time throughout the afternoon.
Proctor attacked again and through the efforts of Cam Barton, Nick Wilder and Max, they were held at bay. Unfortunately, in the ninth minute of play, Proctor was able to sneak a ball in so close to the post that those of us on the bench thought it had gone wide. Proctor was up by one.
Despite trailing on the board, we got to see our developing skills on the field. Jonathan Li, Ollie Cozzi, and Will “Wemu” Haynes were passing the ball well up the right side. Jack Lavallee brought the ball deep into the defensive end, crossed it to an attacking Trong Phan who shot, but sent it a bit wide. After retrieving the punt Trong and Wemu displayed outstanding give-and-go skills and passed it off to Ollie who shot but the keeper was able to save it.
The play continued to go back and forth. Max earns two more saves, Ethan Rozycki and Ben Weise shut down drives into our back field, while Liam McKewan and Trong pushed in close to their net. Kiel Tan worked hard on defense and displayed an incredible two footed kick! Something we had never seen before, but it worked. With nine minutes left in the half, Jon Li blasted in what looked like a sure goal but the keeper was there to deflect it out. A minute later Proctor again got in deep on a dump and run and was able to take a long high shot that lofted into the top corner just above Max’s outreached and diving fingers. They were up by two.
After tip off Proctor came right back but Ben was quick enough to get in close; however, he was tackled and got the wind knocked out of him. This allowed Tyger Gao to enter into the match for the first time of the year and he proved to be a tough defender. The minutes ticked down and we saw another diving save from Max and a quick rush and shot off from Wemu, but we were not able to get on the board.
Proctor came out hard from the half and after six minutes were able to send a blast from twenty-five outside the box and up and over goal keeper Josh Wang. Proctor was up by three and sounding cocky. Yohan Do was back in and was clearly following the instructions given him at half time. He played smart and extremely tough. And while Proctor continued to press forward, Josh Wang was thwarting their efforts.
Then at the twenty-minute mark, Wemu took a direct kick after a Proctor yellow card. He sent it up to an awaiting Jack Lavallee who sent it into Ollie Cozzi who blasted it up high and over the keeper’s head. Kimball Union was on the board and fired up. Proctor answered with a second yellow card when a defender took Ollie out at the knees. Ben took the DK and sent it up to Wemu whose shot just barely missed the top corner.
For the next fifteen minutes Coach Custer and all the boys on the bench were wowed with some of the best passing we have seen all year. Our boys were working as a team and controlling the play. Tryder again brought the ball deep into the right corner, sent it over to Jack who pushed it to Trong who took the shot. Liam faked out a fullback, went in deep, sent in a long shot, but it went wide. Ollie kicked another pass up to Jon, who shot but it went wide. Meanwhile for any Proctor attempt, Nick and Fintan Trimbile were solid walls of defense.
Then with about nine minutes left, Nick had had enough of defending. He and took the ball up the field by himself and into the corner. He lofted the ball into Jon who dumped it to David Chuong. David drove it into the back of the next. KUA was within one point again.
Our boys were fired up and the passing continued to be fun to watch. Keenan Thygesen, Kevin Tran, and Tho Duc Loc displayed smart plays in the middle and drove the ball up to our forwards. Proctor was getting a bit nervous and sent in their one very quick striker, but KU kept him at bay. Ben Weise showed speed we had not seen all year when he came in from behind to shut down a potential one on one with Josh. Josh followed up with a nice save from a blast from the outside. He sent it up to Tryder. Tryder chipped it in to Jon, but it was a bit too powerful. Off the punt, the ball got behind our defensive line and it looked like Proctor had the green light straight to our goal, but out of nowhere, and with incredible speed, Nick Wilder showed up in a flash and dashed their efforts. Who knew he was so fast!
Unfortunately, despite the great passing and amazing efforts of our defensive line, Proctor was able to get inside one more time in the last few seconds and blasted in the assurance goal.
Despite the 2-4 loss, Coach Custer and I were buoyed up by the quality of play and the character of our team. We have great potential and stellar souls. If you would like to watch today’s game against Proctor, check out our Live Stream on the KUA website.
This Saturday we face off against Cushing Academy here at KUA. The game starts at 2:30.