Teams Make Development Academy Debut

CHICAGO -- Behind goals from Thomas Driver and Mark Millard, Greensboro U-17/18 defeated Bridge FA, 2-0, in the club's Development Academy debut Saturday afternoon.

Greensboro opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when Jonathan Leonard played a ball into the box that Driver put away.

After taking the 1-0 led, Bridge FA began creating counterattacks, created mostly by dangerous forward Alex Filomany, But goalkeeper Peyton Ford and the Greensboro defense held strong.

Millard doubled his team’s lead when he broke through the Bridge defense on a breakaway. He took on the goalkeeper and slotted the ball into the corner for the final score of 2-0. The goal was the second one-on-one opportunity in six minutes for Millard, who had the ball knocked away at the last second by Bridge defender Justin Keys.

“We were a little nervous early on,” said Greensboro head coach Marc Nicholls. “Once we settled down, I thought we pretty much took command of the game. While I didn’t think they created a lot of chances, they had several slippery players that made it difficult for us,” said Nicholls. They were right in the game until we got the second goal.”

“For our first game, I thought we did well,” said Nicholls. “There was some rust, especially in our finishing, but what I was most pleased with was that every player who got on the field today contributed. It was a solid effort by everyone.”

Also making their Academy debut, North Meck U-17/18 traveled to Richmond on Saturday to take on the Strikers in Atlantic Conference action, falling 6-0.

The game was scoreless until Brian Ownby sprung Will Bates with a through ball, and Bates gave Richmond a 1-0 lead heading into halftime. Just after the start of the second half, Ben Anderson took a corner kick, driving it to the far post where Brandon Gary doubled the Striker’s lead.

Just two minutes later, Ownby scored a goal of his own on a counter-attack. Bates played a through ball that sent Ownby one-on-one with the goalkeeper before slotting it in. Robert Medairos continued the scoring with a strong effort, winning a pair of tackles in the offensive end and firing a shot across the goal that was tipped by the goalkeeper, but ended up in the back of the net. Two minutes later, Bob Goldnetz slid to get a foot on a rebound from an Ownby shot, putting the ball across the line for the Striker’s fifth goal. Ownby’s second goal of the game and 17th goal of the season rounded out the scoring in the 70th minute.

“I was pleased with today’s performance,” said coach Erwan Le Crom. “I thought the players played the game with discipline and enthusiasm and managed to impose their style and rhythm. After a 3 week break from competition, it was important for us to start the winter stretch on the right foot.”

The win keeps the Richmond Strikers atop the U-17/18 Atlantic Conference with 18 points.

Development Academy action continues on Saturday, January 12 and Sunday, January 13.

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