Amidst a slew of away games, your Manteo Redskins traveled to Elizabeth City to take on the Northeastern Eagles on the 29th day of August. Getting the win on the road on Northeastern’s field is always a much more difficult task than playing them at home. The field’s grass is thick and high causing the ball to move slower and seemingly the players as well. Manteo was focused on a getting off to a quick start and to assert an early dominance on the ball.
Right from the start, Manteo applied high pressure, forcing the Eagles into their own half. The ball would remain there for the large majority of the game. The high press would prove effective just a couple minutes into the game as the Eagles’ keeper took a goal-kick, playing the ball up the middle to his center-back. The defender took a poor touch on the ball, and Joe Zafra was right there to take the ball away and into the top of the box. The keeper was still out of position and Zafra was able to simply place the ball into the left side netting.
Manteo dominated the ball, really working the right side of the pitch early on as Hernandez, Perez, and McOwen formed effective triangles, utilized numerous overlaps and 1-2s to work the ball down the right wing. When Northeastern did shift and take the right side of the pitch away, Manteo calmly played it back and switched the field along the backline. For the Northeastern goalkeeper, it must have seemed like a barrage of balls being playing into the box.
Manteo’s second strike on the goal came from Hernandez as he drove into the box, cut back and fancied a strike with the left foot. It was struck and placed well towards the far post, yet the keeper made a terrific diving save, knocking the ball just wide of a crashing Zafra. Hernandez tweaked his groin on the play and would not play the remainder of the game. Carter Calvio was more than happy to slide over in the midfield, filling the center midfield position.
Minutes later, striker Andrew Hayman would test the keeper again with a blast from the right side of the box. The keeper again knocked it down, but Noah Goetsch was on the far side of the play and read the rebound all the way. Goetsch made his run in from outside the box and drilled the ball into the back of the net as the ball popped out to the six-yard line.
Defensive midfielder, Brandon Gonzalez-Martinez, would later add to the scoreline in the first half as Manteo was working the ball around inside the 18-yard box. Taylor out-muscled a defender along the end-line, playing a ball back to Gonzalez-Martinez atop the six-yard box. On his first attempt on goal, the ball was deflected, but Gonzalez-Martinez persisted and followed up his own shot to place it in the back of the net.
Andrew Hayman caped off a dominant first half as he headed home a ball sent in by Landon Taylor off of a corner kick. Hayman timed his run perfectly, went up to get it, and headed it down to cement his second goal of the season.
Halftime was a welcomed hydration break as the heat index was in the 100’s. Manteo was reminded to never take their foot off the gas and to always play their hardest if they are on the field.
It was not long into the second half when Carter Calvio got his first goal of the season. It came off a long throw-in from McOwen that lead Calvio into the 18-yard box. Calvio controlled the ball amongst the bodies in the box, cut inside, and fired one at goal with his left foot. It was well placed and gave the keeper no chance to make a save. The goal placed Manteo up by a score of 5-0.
Manteo began to make a lot of substitutions at that point but they continued to dominate the ball and racked up a plethora of opportunities on goal. Adam Reed, Bradys Zavala, Owen Clark, Irving Chavarria, William Pendleton, and Bryson Casey would all have attempts on goal that fell just short of the back of the net. Zafra made the scoreline 6-0 when he gathered the ball along the left wing, dribbled wide around the outside back, turned the corner and attacked the near post. The keeper felt as if Zafra was going to play the ball across the box but Zafra only had eyes for goal. He placed the ball between the near post and keeper to rack up his second goal of the game.
Defender, Sam Diaz, got in on the scoring action through a beautiful combination play through the midfield with Calvio. Diaz collected the ball in the middle, danced around his defender before playing Calvio as he showed for the ball. Diaz kept his run and called for the through ball. Calvio played a well-weighted pass through the backline and Diaz one-touched it into the corner of the goal.
The game would end 7-0 in favor of the Redskins. The Eagles only attempt on goal came late in the game as a through-ball made its way past the Redskin backline and Casey was unable to body the attacker off the ball. The striker got a good shot off but the keeper, Steven Ortega, made a great diving save to keep the clean sheet for Manteo.
Coach Cleaver stated after the game, ” I am certainly happy with the result on the road as that field is a difficult one to play on. We passed the ball extremely well and played team soccer. Our tempo was certainly not as high as I would like but I suppose we can chalk it up to the heat, the high grass, and coming off a hard-fought game with First Flight. I feel that we are ready for conference games to start next week.”