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Chicago Fire rallies to move atop U-19 Boys table

July 24, 2013 04:54 PM
Day two of the Under-19 Boys quest for the 78th McGuire Cup began to put the group into focus with one match to play following a day of rest tomorrow.  Saturday’s final will be broadcast live in HD on FOX Soccer, with the pregame show beginning at 7 p.m. ET and kickoff at 7:30.
Chicago Fire Academy (IL) conceded a last-minute equalizer in their opening match versus Pateadores ANA (CA-S) yesterday to draw 1-1, but rebounded to take a 4-1 victory over Plantation Copa (FL) on day two.  Plantation suffered its second straight defeat.
Plantation’s Alejandro Garcia (Darton State) opened the scoring in the 12th minute to put Fire under pressure, but Chisom Ogbanna (Robert Morris) responded 10 minutes later with a lazer to the upper corner after turning on his defender from 22 yards out. 
The teams entered the break at 1-1, but it was all Fire in the second half as they netted three times.  Ogbanna grabbed his brace nine minutes after the restart and Daniel Lojek (Notre Dame) cushioned the lead with a left-footed volley from inside the box.
Knowing goal differential could come into the play, Fire coach Larry Sunderland urged his team to press forward and after some near misses, Michael Frasca (Dayton) struck in stoppage time to complete the 4-1 victory.
Starting Lineups
G – Zachary Allen
D – Joel Salmeron, Tanner Witsken, Benjamin Kucera, Michael Frasca
M – Daniel Lojek, Andrew Conner, Manuel Chavez, Michael Kozielek
F – Chisom Ogbanna, Joseph Calistri
GK – Cedric Guichard
D – Michael Fernandez, Allan Kuhne, Jose Santana
M – Richard Monteagudo, Gonzalo Gelso, Alejandro Garcia, Armando Acosta, Alejandro Miranda
F – Darwin Espinal, Jeffrey Michaud
Wednesday’s matchup between Lehigh Valley United 93 (E-PA) and Pateadores ANA (CA-S) played out like a heavyweight boxing match as neither team could fully break the other down for 80-plus minutes.  Both teams feature loads of skill at every position and the coaching and organization to back it up, and it showed as both teams scored within five minutes late in the game to end in a 1-1 stalemate.
With the result, Lehigh Valley stays tied atop the four-team group with four points from six, and Pateadores have taken two points with two 1-1 draws.
"It was a tighter game than our first match," said Lehigh Valley United head coach and club Director of Coaching, Greg Ramos.  "In addition to being very technically sound, Pateadores are very well coached, very well organized, they have depth and when they make substitutions and changes their level remains the same or even gets stronger.  So that was a real test for us today.  I felt like we did a lot better through possession and I thought Tim Lazorko and Melvin Snoh were magnificent in the center for us today.
"Our back-four, defensively, were very solid and not giving anything away, so I’m pretty pleased with that.  It’s something we’ve struggled with in Rhode Island at Regionals, just managing games, falling behind at times and it was a little bit loose.  Here I think we’re in form and its coming together, and I’m really pleased with how we’re playing right now."
Pateadores finally got on the board after 82 scoreless minutes when they earned a corner kick.  Daniel Gonzalez served the ball into the back post where Lester Hayes (California - Irvine) nodded it back into the middle of the box.  Luke Kadillak, who scored both goals in Pats come-from-behind victory in the Regional final, headed a powerful shot back into the far side to break the deadlock and score what looked to be the game winner.
Lehigh had an immediate response however, and once again dynamic playmaker Melvin Snoh (Georgetown) was the catalyst as he was served a ball into the attacking corner and did well to separate from his marker.  Snoh clipped a flighted ball into the box and Nick Zambetti’s run was timed to perfection as he slotted in the serve to level the game with three minutes left in regulation.
Starting Lineups

GK – Logan Keys
D – Mark Forrest, Alexander Murphy, Joseph Farrell, Matthew Ross
M – Colin Phillips, Timothy Lazorko, Colton Storm, Melvin Snoh, Jared Martinelli
F – Thomas Shiiba
GK – David Elias
D – Jack Birkenbeuel, Andrew Sanders, Mitchell Bell, Christopher Adriano
M – Caleb Candelaria, Luis Castillo, Carlos Barrios
F – Hugo Cobian, Lester Hayes, Conner Bevans