Fredericksburg shows well against D.C. U23s
By Scott Wyant
For Fredericksburg Hotspur: www.fasahotspur.com
FREDERICKSBURG, Va.—In anything, a year can make quite a difference. For the Fredericksburg Hotspur that may just be an understatement.
On Wednesday night, the Hotspur matched up with Major League Soccer legend Jamie Moreno’s D.C. United Under-23 team, falling 3-1 at the University of Mary Washington’s Battleground soccer stadium. A year ago, Moreno’s team handled the Fredericksburg team 8-1, with the Hotspur scoring their only goal in the 88th minute.
This season, the Hotspur sit in second place of the Premier Development League’s South Atlantic Division. The improvement made in a year was evident very early in the game Wednesday evening.
In the sixth minute, midfielder Ryan Sappington lined up for a free kick with the idea of just getting it into the box.
“I just wanted to put it in space that could give the other guys a chance to put it in,” Sappington said. “We got Dale [Robins-Bailey], we got Grant [Silvester] and some big guys in there [to head it on goal].”
Fortunately for Gene Daniels, Sappington’s placement was a little off and his idea didn’t come to fruition. As the ball fell to his feet, the smaller forward was able to slam it home giving the home team the early 1-0 lead.
“It was just a little bit of luck actually; the ball came through two of their defenders and I didn’t really think I had a play on it,” said Daniels. “When you’re inside the 18 you always have to have the mindset that something could go wrong and the ball could come down to you. Lucky it came through two of their bigger guys and it came down to my feet and I put it away.”
For the most part, Daniels has played a reserve role for the Hotspur, but as the season progresses opportunities for him to perform are increasing.
“It’s a huge opportunity for me, regardless of the way it comes,” said Daniels. “I’ve been given an opportunity here and my mentally is just to make the most of it.”
Newly appointed Hotspur coach Jason Kilby has a great opportunity as well, taking over for a team that is 5-2-2 in PDL play on the year. Though Kilby believes taking over mid-season may be difficult.
“It’s not easy, but I enjoy the challenge,” Kilby said.
The rest of Kilby’s night was a challenge with D.C. United’s pace causing problems the entire night.
That speed would crack the Hotspur defensive line in the 40th minute as a breakdown in communication led to goal from Uwem Etuk.
“I was just staying out wide, Etuk said. “Jamie gives the freedom to go after the defender anytime I get the ball. So, I feel comfortable in that position, getting the ball and going at the defender every time.”
United would score once more before half, taking a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
The speed of D.C. United haunted the Hotspur a year ago when it scored five of its eight goals in the second half. This time, the defense of Fredericksburg was up to the task holding its opponents to just one goal after the intermission, and included a penalty kick save from second-half goalie Colin Newcity.
Now, the Hotspur will place all their focus on their match-up with the Real Maryland Monarchs on Friday.
“That game Friday is huge for us to try to get us back on a winning streak that we can try to carry in to the rest of the season,” Daniels said.
As Sappington put it, Friday is an opportunity to get things rolling again.
“It’s a chance to start the season fresh and build it from here. It’s a new season so we’re gonna see what happens.”
D.C. United U23: 2 - 1 - 3
Fredericksburg: 1 - 0 - 1
FRED: Gene Daniels (Ryan Sappington) 6
DCU: Uwem Etuk (Rudy Tyler) 40
DCU: Franck Rayou 44
DCU: Mladen Lemez (Liam Collins) 79
Shots: DCU: 12 (Schillo Tshuma, Franck Tayou, Chris Hegngi 2). FRED: 7 (Gene Daniels 3).
Saves: DCU: Daniel Withrow (1), Jon Dawson (1). FRED: Ryan Taylor (4), Colin Newcite (3).
Corners: DCU: 6. FRED: 2.
Fouls: DCU: 11. FRED: 8.
Offsides: DCU: 2. FRED: 3.