LAND O’ LAKES – Nick Patterson scored in the second minute to give Hillsborough County United’s boys under-16 team a 1-0 victory against Super Nova FC from Harrisburg, Pa., but Coastal WFC’s victory over Parsippany in the other group game means that HCU cannot advance to Monday’s semifinals of the United Soccer League's Super-Y North American Finals.
It was, however, a far better performance from HCU, who took the lead when Patterson took one touch to control a centering pass from the right by Chase Goodwin at the top of the penalty area, and then fired home a right-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the net.
HCU almost immediately gave up their lead when goalkeeper Brian Paullack was caught in possession by Nova’s Cody Hess, but HCU was able to clear the danger, and Paullack more than made up for his mistake with an excellent diving stop to turn a shot from Nova’s Connor McAliney just around his right post.
As the game wore on, though, HCU controlled the tempo and possession far better than it had in its opening defeat to Coastal, Tyler Hartlage proving critical in the midfield, and almost doubling HCU’s lead just before halftime when his shot went just over the crossbar after a good run from midfield.
In warm conditions, Nova’s players gradually wore down in the second half, a chance by McAliney that was denied by Paullack their best chance to get back on level terms. HCU’s Tevin Gage also had a chance well saved, but as the game wore on HCU took control as it wore out Nova’s players with good ball control and passing through the defense and midfield.
“I think they got the jitters out yesterday, (today we) just relaxed and played,” HCU coach Eric Sims said. “We played like we should have played yesterday. Yesterday I think we played scared to lose instead of trying to win, today we played a much better game, possessed the ball, much more to our style. We did a good job today.”
HCU could tied Coastal with six points were it to defeat Parsippany, and Super Nova defeat Coastal, but Coastal would still advance thanks to their victory over HCU in the opening game of the tournament on Friday.