National Academy Open Cup Tour Continues

April 13, 2014

The Bermuda National Academy teams turned in solid performance yesterday [Apr 12] at the Jack Allen Recreation Complex in Decatur, Alabama during day two of the Open Cup Tournament.

U14 Team

The U14 National Academy select, coached by Maceo Dill and Sergio Goater, fought back from 1-0 down to defeat Manderville Soccer Club 3-1. With other matches in the U14 Gold division producing favorable results for Bermuda, they are now poised for a crucial matchup with Atlanta Fire with a chance of advancing to the final.

Bermuda fell behind 1-0 in the first half when Manderville scored on a free kick from outside the area. The team from Louisiana would hold onto the slim lead at half time. Bermuda continued their steady progress and began to assert themselves in the second half creating several chances. T’ai Williams was menacing with his pace and when Manderville felled the Bermuda forward inside the penalty area captain Zuhri Burgess would convert the penalty to cancel out the deficit and tie the score at 1-1.

Manderville would continue to create chance and test the Bermuda defense. Bermuda were fortunate to not fall behind again when a shot from Manderville cannoned off the post.

With time ticking away Bermuda would find the go ahead goal when Cory Booth dribbled through the defense into penalty area and finished with a left foot shot to give Bermuda its first lead of the tournament. Spurned to life, Jaquari Paynter would guarantee the result for Bermuda when he produced a moment of brilliance to cut back onto his left foot and drill his shot into the net, to make the scoreline comfortable. Bermuda would close out the match 3-1 and pick up three vital points in group A.

With yesterday’s opponent Birmingham United losing to Atlanta Fire, and Manderville Soccer Club securing a draw against the Fire this has opened up the possibility for Bermuda to top the group and advance to the final.

They will need to defeat Atlanta Fire in the morning match and hope that Birmingham United lose or tie with Manderville. Should both Bermuda and Birmingham win in tomorrow’s final group matches, they will both finish tied on 6 points, however Birmingham will advance with the first tie breaker being head to head results. Kick off is on Sunday at 9:30 AM at the Jack Allen Complex.

U16 Team

The Bermuda U16 National Academy select produce another fine performance against Baton Rouge Soccer Club to improve to two wins in as many matches in the U16 Gold division. The match would determine the #1 seed for the semi-finals as Baton Rouge Soccer Club had earlier defeated Tupelo Futbol Club to ensure that they would advance along with Bermuda from the group.

Bermuda controlled most of the first half but found a well-organized and hardworking Baton Rouge unit committed to preventing them from scoring. The pace and technical ability of the Bermuda team kept Baton Rouge’s defense busy, with the opponent not shy to put in some hard tackles. Judah Chapman was at the heart of many of Bermuda’s attacks, while Jason Symonds marshaled the Bermuda defense that was very difficult to penetrate.

At half time the match remained deadlocked at 0-0 as both teams sought to try and find a way onto the score sheet. Bermuda would take the lead midway into the second half when an excellent cross from the left by J’Nai Butterfield Steede would find Chapman at the back post inside the penalty area to make it 1-0. The intensity on the pitch was high with some hard tackles keeping the referee busy and ensuring the fans for both sides were vocal in their appeals to the referee.

A growing contingent of Bermudians living in Alabama had found its way to the fields to support the Bermudian teams, sporting flags and t-shirts. The cry of “Go Bermuda” could be heard spurring the team on with pride and excitement for the performance being demonstrated.

Baton Rouge would continue to battle but were being worn down by the pressure from the Bermuda attacks. Bermuda would extend the lead to 2-0 in the final 10 minutes when a corner from the left by Judah Chapman was neatly tucked away by Zenawi Bowen who met the ball on the goal line in front of the Baton Rouge goalkeeper.

The result now means that Bermuda will play #2 seed from group B, FC United from Mississippi, in the semifinal Sunday morning at 9:30 AM.

The challenge in tournaments such as these is the frequency of games and small recovery time between the matches. Bermuda will be hoping that the recovery protocols of ice baths will be effective to give them an edge to be ready for what is sure to be another intense and physical battle, as they seek to advance to the final and defend their Championship in this age group they won at last year’s event.

Baton Rouge will do battle with Club Ohio in the other semifinal at 8:00 AM. The championship match is set for 2:15 PM at the Jack Allen Complex on Sunday afternoon.

Read More About

Category: All, Sports

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Prayerful says:

    Well done Judah Chapman!