Tophat 17 Gold’s (GA) swift dominance sufficed for a triumph against Under-14 Girls opponent NSA Rockets (IL). Tophat got two back-to-back goals within the first ten minutes of the game that held up for the remainder of the match, and gave them a 2-0 victory in their second day of preliminary play at the 2013 US Youth Soccer National Championships.
"It gave us a great jump start at the beginning of the game, and I felt like we calmed down a bit after and were good to go," said Tophat head coach Troy Garner.
The Georgia team quickly gained control of the match in the 6th minute after their left forward was taken down in the box. Tophat striker Reagan Glisson stepped up to the spot and delivered an unstoppable shot right off the right post and into the net.
Just a minute later, Chloe Maize kept the momentum going, and after receiving a good pass, cut inside, sprinted down field and fired the ball into the top left corner of the goal.
Tophat kept possession of the ball, dominating at a fast pace, but couldn’t add another tally despite their 22 attempted shots.
"I thought we played great the first 15 minutes, and the rest of the game. Our finishing was just not good enough," said Garner. "I think we left a lot of goals on the table but as far as possession was concerned, the quality all the way up to the attacking third of the field was great."
"Our defenders didn’t give them a lot of chances. All in all I thought we were solid, and getting a shutout at this level is a big deal with the quality of attacking players that every team has; I was proud of the girls from that aspect."
Tophat now faces a big challenge in their last preliminary match facing Eastside FC 98 Red (WA), which has two wins that have placed them at the top of the U-14 standings.
"I’m happy that we got the result, and now we have a big game on Friday," said Garner. "We’ve put ourselves in a position where we have to win the next game to get to the final.
"Our strategy for the next game is to go out, play tough defense, be creative, try to break people down, try to make the defenders ask questions and try to finish our chances. When we’re playing at the top of our game, it’s very difficult for teams to stop us."