LAKE BUENA VISTA – The Clearwater Chargers boys under-18 side didn’t find top gear too often on Sunday afternoon, but the soccer they were able to play was enough to give them a 3-0 victory against Jackson FC from Mississippi in the Disney Soccer Showcase at the Wide World of Sports Complex.
The Chargers got off to a flying start, Ben Sweat driving a shot into the top left corner of the net in the fourth minute after a strong run down the left from his full back position, and possessed the ball well to start off the game. The side’s lack of recent playing time showed at times, though, with passes going astray, allowing Jackson to find some opportunities to break into attack quickly.
“We played well in spurts,” Chargers coach Garth Pollonais said. “I didn’t think we put our game together completely the way I would have liked. We scored goals, we created chances, but I thought in the final third we could be a little more efficient in our play, but overall, it wasn’t too bad.”
Bruno da Silva scored the first of his two goals in the 25th minute, the beneficiary of some poor goalkeeping as after he cut in from the right, his shot from just outside the penalty area went underneath the dive of the Jackson goalkeeper. da Silva added his second goal of the game in the 64th minute, firing home at the far post after a low cross through the penalty area from the right reached him.
“As a team, I thought we were OK,” Pollonais said. “I thought Bruno did some good things up front, had two goals today and did some good things. Ben Sweat got the goal to start if off, I thought his goal really got us going.”
The Chargers under-16s also won their opener, playing up in the under-17 division, defeating the IPSC Force from Indiana 5-3 later on Sunday evening.
Hillsborough County United’s under-18s needed a late goal from Kahleel Forde to earn his side a draw against TLSC/Ayses SC from Texas. HCU likely should have come out the victor, with numerous chances missed after they fell behind to an early goal, but Coach Kelvin Jones was pleased his side was able to salvage a point.
“They scored in the first two minutes, and for the rest of the game we did all the playing,” Jones said. “We were inside the six a half a dozen times, and should have converted, so I think a draw is not what we deserve, but it’s better than nothing.”
Andrew Buckley had, in his own words, a frustrating day in front of net, missing opportunities you would ordinarily expect him to put away. Others were just as wasteful, but HCU gave itself a chance to advance from the group as a free kick by Kevin Sierra from the right of the penalty area was flicked in low by Forde from close range in the 88th minute.
Potomac Soccer sits on top of HCU’s group with a victory in its opening game, with the two sides facing each other on Monday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. A win would put HCU in good position to advance.
HCU’s under-17s also earned victory in their opening game as they defeated FSA Soccer Plus from Connecticut 3-1, but the under-15s weren’t as fortunate as they fell 2-1 the the Greensboro Dynamo.
In other action, Fusion Futbol Club’s boys under-17 team opened play with a 4-2 win against Mockingbird Valley from Kentucky. Strictly Soccer’s boys under-16 team won 1-0 against SYA Nova from Virginia, with its under-15s winning 2-0 against Charlotte United.
Elsewhere, Strictly Soccer’s boys under-18 team fell 2-1 to the Dallas Texans while both RSL Florida’s boys under-17s and under-16s fell 2-1, the under-17s to the GSA Phoenix and the under-16s to the Penn Fusion Celtic.