On Sunday, ASLA U-20 defeated IEFC 3-1 in SoCal Premier play.
This matchup will be the second time both teams faced each other this season, with ASLA beating IEFC 3-1 back on match week 3. IEFC was ranked higher in 4th place before the matchup, while ASLA placed in 7th place. In terms of form, ASLA has the advantage with an L-W-L-W-D record in their last 5 games, while IEFC’s 5 game record was L-D-W-L-W.
On a cold breezy evening at the Ralph Lewis sports complex, both teams were set to kick off the last match of match week 14. IEFC would play out from the back from the first kick and retain the ball. They get a chance at goal in the 9′ with a shot blocked by the keeper, but the forward receiving the rebound shoots it wide from the open net.
IEFC would then draw first blood by getting a goal off a corner kick in the 13′. They crossed the ball in, and Darrin Vogel headed it in without being covered. 1-0 for the boys in red and black.
ASLA would respond with a shot that got blocked, and the keeper denied the rebound to help IEFC keep the lead. He would make another four or five crucial saves in the half.
IEFC was more quick and alert and intercepted the ball from ASLA to keep more possession. They were also more physical and played in tight spaces, often getting the ball back if they lost it on a tackle.
Meanwhile, the boys in orange were more
counterattacking with the forwards pushing the ball up and using their speed to beat the defenders. They were also caught ball-watching, made mistakes in passing and receiving, and were passive in 50/50 balls.
However, they were able to tie the game up in the 33′ when one of their players took a shot from the half circle to the right and banged the post and into the net. It would be the last notable play as the half ended 1-1.
The second half would start following a passionate pep talk by the ASLA coach. The players would take note of the pep talk in the 52′. An ASLA player intercepts a clearance from an IEFC defender and boots the rolling ball to the top post and out.
Now the orange team started to click as they intercepted IEFC passes and forced more turnovers. They kept their game plan the same as they stuck with counterattacks.
In the 56′, the ASLA keeper boots the ball down the field past the half circle where his forward and an IEFC defender were fighting the bouncing ball. The ASLA forward wins the battle and shoots the ball into the net before the keeper can trap it. The tides have turned as the IEFC defense voice its frustration. 2-1 in favor of ASLA.
The boys in black and red looked slower than in the first half, as they would lose more bouncing ball battles and out-ran on the wings. They also started to make mistakes, and overall looked tired.
For ASLA, they increased their intensity, fighting for more 50/50 balls, controlling the ball and passing, then shutting down the IEFC attack on their final third. They also got more chances at goal from IEFC mistakes, the dumb and run plays, and shooting from outside the box.
The boys in orange get a counterattack in the 82′ on the left wing; the player passes the ball to the middle for his forward, then goes 1v1 with the goalkeeper and finishes into the net.
It would be the nail in the coffin for IEFC, as they didn’t fight back to change the game. ASLA closed the game 3-1 as the final whistle blew.
ASLA complete the sweep of IEFC in the SoCal premier first division. They remain in 7th place but now with 13 points and tallying their fourth win of the season. Their next matchup is against 5th-place FC Golden State U-19.
For IEFC, they got their 6th loss of the season but still held on to their 4th place spot with 17 points. Their next matchup is against bottom-of-the-table side Olympiacos CA.