Clearwater Chargers Academy director Garth Pollonais was looking for consistency from both the boys under-18 and under-16 squads as they opened the U.S. Soccer Development Academy season this weekend.
Unfortunately, neither side was able to provide it, as they both went 0-1-1 on the road.
“I thought we played some good soccer at times, I thought we weren’t as consistent in our game as I would like,” Pollonais said. “We were clearly the more talented in both games on the under-18 side, but we needed to do a better job of finishing off our chances, because we created a lot of chances but we didn’t finish.”
The Chargers under-18s earned a point against Birmingham United on Saturday, Korey Veeder scoring in the 67th minute to earn a point for his side, but then fell 2-1 against the Atlanta Fire, unable to overcome a two-goal half time deficit.
“We had our chances in that game,” Pollonais said of the loss. “We made some poor defensive errors that allowed them to go up early, and then we had to play catch-up.”
Clearwater was also reduced to 10 men after the break against the Fire, Shane Wixted being sent off after two yellow cards, but Pollonais said that didn’t affect the Chargers overly as they still were able to create opportunities to tie the game.
“We made an adjustment after we went down to 10 men, and actually we played some good soccer,” Pollonais said. “We moved the ball well, we were getting in behind them, (Wes) Sever had a chance to put away he missed, (Anthony) Baumann had a chance to put away he missed, so we were still creating chances even though we were playing a man down.”
The Chargers under-16's results went in the other order, as they fell 2-1 to Birmingham before a pair of goals by Jesse Caron helped them to a 2-2 tie against Atlanta. Pollonais said the most important thing for the teams to work on ahead of a pair of games in Virginia next weekend was establishing their own style of play instead of reacting to what their opponents wanted to try and do.
“We have to learn to impose our style of play on the opposing team, and not let them impose their game and then we react,” Pollonais said. “They came at us, especially in the Atlanta game, they came at us because they were at home, and we allowed them to get a rhythm in the game. After we started settling in and started playing, it was plain to see we were the more talented team. It’s just that we gave up two goals, and they gained confidence, and we had to try and fight back in the second half.”