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Win puts CSA Impact back in 15U girls race



Momentum is not confined to changing within a single game — it can build for a team from day to day.

On Wednesday, CSA Impact United 03 Black (OH-N) generated a momentum swing in its favor by producing a solid performance in a 2-0 win against PDA Shore Freedom (NJ) on the second day of play at the 2018 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Frisco, Texas.

The Ohio North side, which dropped a close 1-0 decision to Beach FC DPL (CA-S) to begin the week, rebounded to pick up the three points and get right back in the running for a semifinal berth out of Group B.

“Yesterday, we came out a little flat and were a bit nervous,” CSA coach Marko Raduka said. “They met together as a group today and really bought into what they wanted to achieve. This was all about them coming together and achieving that result today.”

The early going suggested PDA — a day one winner — was poised to take control of the match, as the New Jersey side earned a few early corners and looked dangerous on the attack. However, CSA did well to defend the multiple looks PDA gave on the set pieces and didn’t allow Freedom to build on its early chances.

After withstanding the early push from PDA, the Ohio North side grabbed a 20th-minute lead. Mackenzie Muir hit a shot from distance that sliced and dipped down before hitting the underside of the crossbar and finding the far side netting.

As PDA continued to push in search of an equalizer, CSA maintained its defensive shape and used looked to use its pressure to shift from defending to attack.

“I’m really happy with how we defended,” outside right back Mia Kelly said. “Everyone did their part to make sure they didn’t score on those, and we defended really well on the corner kicks and set plays. Our defensive pressure was one of the main points of our strategy to win the game.”

The flow of the game saw the play move from end to end — as one team would produce a chance before the opposition gained possession and immediately looked to hit on the counter attack.

Early in the second half, CSA’s Elizabeth Vorhees and Samantha Wiehe were parts of a couple of dangerous passing movements in the final third. Wiehe receive a pass from Vorhees at the top of the box before hitting a first-time shot off the crossbar, and Vorhees later had a similar chance that slid just wide of the right post.

CSA capitalized on its next opportunity, with what Raduka called a “brilliant display of composure and confidence on the ball” from Wiehe. She ran down a diagonal ball on the right side of the PDA penalty area and — rather than shooting from a tight angle — cut back to her left foot and slid a pass across the face of goal. The ball found Sydney Schaeffer’s back post run, and her first touch blasted the shot past the keeper to give CSA a 2-0 lead.

“They had a lot of opportunities against us, and we kind of broke their momentum by hitting them on a counter attack,” Raduka said. “That’s something we talked about yesterday — making sure when we counter we don’t go through the middle and open them up a little to expose some space.”

The win leaves CSA and PDA level on three points, while Beach FC sits in first place with six points. All is still left to play for, and CSA hopes to build on the positive momentum that it created with its performance on Wednesday.

“The level of competition has been exciting for the entire group,” Raduka said. “This is their first experience here, and we know the best level of competition brings the best out of you. Our girls stepped up today. I’m proud of them and excited to see how we do tomorrow.”