Costly Mistakes Keep Manteo Winless

Manteo’s 2019 home opener took place on Monday, August 26th against the Currituck Knights. Over the last several years, the fixtures between the two have been split fairly evenly, resulting in exciting and competitive matches. Last year, Manteo took a 2-0 win at Currituck, while drawing with the Knights 2-2 in the previous year.

A large and excited crowd was there early to see Manteo kick-off for the first time this season on their home field. Manteo kicked-off to start the game in the worst possible fashion imaginable. Thirty seconds into the game and Currituck was up by a score of 1-0.

Manteo dropped the ball all the way to their backline with a hard pressing Knights team pushing quickly into their defensive third. The pass out of the backfield was sent directly to a Knight’s attacker. Calvio and Gregory quickly pressed the attacker with the ball but he muscled his way through them, squared the ball to the top of the box as their midfielder, then one-touched a short diagonal ball through the backline to their striker. Their striker split two defenders and used the outside of his right foot to slide the ball to the far post. The ball clanked off the inside far post and across the goal-line for a goal.

Manteo was stunned at the dreadful start as they did not seem fully prepared and focused to play in that sequence. However, they did not hang their heads and looked to even the score right away.

Upon the resulting kick-off, Manteo did a better job of going forward with the ball. Calvio won the ball in the midfield and quickly sent Hernandez off and running into space down the right flank. Hernandez drove the ball into the 18-yard box and then cut back inside as the defender approached. He picked his head up and squared the ball across the box to Calvio who made a well-timed run into space atop the box. Calvio struck it on his first touch, bending it towards the right-side netting but the keeper made a diving two-handed save to knock the ball wide for a corner kick.

Two minutes into the game, and it was already wide open, end to end for both teams. Currituck knew they would need more than their first goal to take down the Redskins and Manteo was desperately trying to draw even to cancel their dreadful start.

Fifteen minutes into the game, Manteo leveled the score with a beautiful left-footed shot from the boot of Carter Calvio. Calvio began the possession by intercepting a pass from a back-line defender. Calvio looked to find Goetsch and Hayman holding space against the backline atop the box but the ball was knocked away by the center-back. Hayman chased the ball down to regain possession. Hayman took his touch with the momentum of the ball away from the goal and back into space. Calvio made a forward run just on the outside of Hayman, and Hayman simply taped the ball over to Calvio as he passed by. Calvio took a set up a touch and then curled the ball into the far right top corner of the goal from twenty-five yards out. The keeper read it well and made an effort, but the ball was perfectly placed and evened the score at 1-1.

Ten minutes after leveling the score, Manteo would concede their second goal of the first half. Again, an errant pass off the backline was delivered right to a Knight’s attacker in the middle. Manteo’s center-back looked to close quickly on the ball but the Knight made a touch around him and cranked it from 20 yards out. The ball was struck well with downward movement on it, sending it skipping just under the outstretched hand of Manteo’s Ortega.

In an effort to draw level again before the half, Manteo looked to exploit what they thought to be an advantage on the right flank with Hernandez’s speed against the Knight’s left-back. Calvio and Goetsch began pumping balls into space out wide for Hernandez to run down and cut in with. Hernandez was wreaking havoc and giving the left-back fits while creating several good chances for the home side.

Hernandez would finally combo with J Zafra up top to even the score at 2-2 with less than ten minutes remaining in the first half. Calvio began the possession by playing a long diagonal ball outside to Hernandez. Hernandez drew inside to win the ball out of the air, taking his defender central with him as well as drawing the attention of the center back. Hernandez cut back to his right side before slipping a short diagonal ball between defender to Zafra who had found space just inside the box. Zafra took one touch forward and then quickly flicked the ball with the outside of his right foot just as the defender leveled him in the box. The keeper was frozen as the ball had begun its track towards the goal outside the box, but bent just inside the near post at the last second to cement Manteo’s second goal of the half. Zafra has always had a knack for coming up with big goals just when Manteo needs them most and the equalizer was a huge momentum boost going into half-time.

Upon a few half-time adjustments, Manteo carried their momentum into the second half with an early and fantastic opportunity on goal. The opportunity came from a quick counter-attack that began back on the goal-line after Manteo’s center-back, Yeifer Perez, cleaned up a short cross off the end line, and played it out to Zafra as he dropped into the midfield. Zafra took his first touchback out wide on the left flank, and then played a short diagonal back into Calvio as he replaced the space vacated by Zafra. Calvio then quickly switched it over to Hernandez on the right-wing, leading him into the space behind the defender. Hernandez drove the ball into the box, beat two defenders and laid it off for Aldo Herrera as she came in from the left-wing. Herrera was all alone just outside the six-yard box with just the keeper to beat. Herrera struck it one time with his left foot but the keeper stood tall and deflected the ball back out wide.

Missed opportunities throughout the second half would come back to haunt Manteo in the end. The run of play throughout the second half was fast-paced, intense and quite even overall.

Manteo earned a solid amount of attempts on goal but could not put anything else past the keeper. Currituck found a unique way to score in the second half as they weaponized the long throw-in of one of their attackers. Anytime a throw was won down near the 18-yard box, Currituck sent him over for the long throw that would reach the middle area of the six-yard box. Midway through the second half, as a pile of bodies encroached upon the six-yard box, the long throw was launched into the choas. A Currituck attacker rose high above the rest to flick it on into the back-post side netting.

Manteo was down again for the third time in the game but they kept fighting back, earning good chances at goal. Perhaps their best look at goal came just five minutes later that began with a bruising run down the right flank by the striker, Andrew Hayman. Hayman bumped outside to receive the ball along the width, pushed it far past the first defender and then chased it down. As he caught up to the ball now nearing the 18-yard line extended, the center-back met him with a physical challenge. Hayman delivered a crushing blow with his shoulder that sent the defender to the ground. Hayman stumbled over the defeated defender but kept his balance and the ball moving towards goal as he cut in and then cross the ball atop the six-yard box. Zafra was there with the effort on the first attempt but the defender got just enough of Zafra and the ball to negate his efforts. The ball bounced straight down and fell kindly Gonzalez-Martinez. He looked to volley it out of the air on the bounce from the six, but he leaned back a little too much and sent it over the bar.

Shortly after, Currituck dealt a crushing blow with a second goal scored off a long throw-in. This time it would be an own goal as Ortega went up to punch it out of the air, he misjudged it and knocked the ball back into the net.

With a two-goal lead, the Knights dropped into a defensive shape to hold off the Redskins remaining attempts. The game ended in a 4-2 loss for the Redskins.

Team Stats
Possession %
Attacking Transitions
Free Kicks
Successful Passes
Pass Success Rate
Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “We were not mentally focused and dialed in to start the game and it cost us an early goal. We made too many mistakes throughout the game to win as Currituck is a very good team and made us pay for our mistakes. However, the mistakes we made are my fault as a coach as I have not fully prepared the plethora of young players we have for all situations they may encounter and how to react. We are working hard to correct the little things we are doing wrong and they will get it. We certainly did a ton of great things on the pitch as well though. The effort and passion are there and once we put it all together, we will be the team to beat.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s