The U-13/14 Advanced Training Program (ATP) squad weathered a rocky start to bravely edge past the DC United Academy 3-2 in an exciting match the past Tuesday. In a tightly contested affair, the DC United boys bolted out of the blocks first and quickly established rhythm with some precise passing and good movement. Midway through the first half they found the net and continued to control the match while the ATP boys’ play still sputtered with irregularity. But the brave ATP boys hung on and fought back and forward Ian Carroll needed no prodding to pounce late in the half and neatly tuck away a cross from the right to pull his team even.
Coach Sona Walla calmed his boys at half-time, made some tactical changes and demanded more patience and most importantly better ball possession. The introduction of Andres Cubeddu and Matt Goodman to the ATP back-line immediately brought poise and bite while Danny Benavides’ shift from the center of attack to the flank provided great penetration. Benavides’ mobility and capacity to eliminate defenders on the dribble constantly unbalanced the DC United defense as he repeatedly rounded his opponent to cross from the wing or dribbled inwards to combine with his teammates. The momentum shifted and the ATP boys took control. Zachary Stern beat the DC United keeper with a low left foot shot and later ATP Captain Ben Wilson crowned his outstanding midfield efforts with a breathtaking 25 yard free-kick. DC United clawed it’s way back into the game to reduce the score but there was little time left and the ATP boys maintained their advantage till the final whistle.