After a one game road trip and several training sessions in between, FSA PRO returned home to Hudson Sports Complex this past Saturday. The Foxes proved too strong for their past two opponents as they netted 12 goals and allowed 0! Without a doubt, those stats show that the team is gelling, not only on the offensive end, but on defense as well. In effect, the big storyline for their fourth match was: Could the Foxes continue their great form or would their winning streak end by the likes of Krajisnik FC?
The sun was shining and the temperature was just right throughout the entirety of the day at the Fox Den. By all accounts, Saturday was a beautiful day, but the hometown team knew that Krajisnik could quickly spoil it and make it an ugly one. The team from Utica were only three points behind FSA PRO entering the match so the Foxes realized they were up against a quality side and had to be aggressive from the opening whistle.
Coach Holzer made sure the Foxes had the right mindset all week long and told the boys prior to the match that the first 10 minutes were paramount for setting the tone. The setting was set as the sun started to leave the Fall sky and the fans took their seats...it was game time.
Just as the previous three matches, FSA PRO came out strong, but a little sloppy as well. They weren't as sharp as usual as some simple passes went awry. You could tell Krajisnik didn't drive a few hours to share the points as they were an especially physical team.
It didn't take long though for the boys in orange to collect themselves and take the lead. After a cross and a mess of a clearance by the visitors, the ball fell into Valentino Di Lorenzo's feet. He finished it with composure on his favorite left boot. For the fourth game in a row, the Foxes took a pretty early lead.
Despite going down a goal, Krajisnik did not let their feet off of the gas. Tackles were being made all over the field...50-50 balls were constantly being battled for...this was probably the most physical match for the Foxes yet.
The rest of the first half was certainly a grudge match. Each team had some free-kicks, corners, and some quality chances overall. Luckily for each team, the goalies were in the zone and didn't want anything getting behind them. Fortunate enough though for your hometown team, it appeared the travel may have started getting to the away team. They definitely slowed down a bit in the final couple minutes of the the 1st half. After 45 minutes, the Foxes were up 1-0.
Coach Holzer and Adam provided some inspiring words for the team at the half. The energy level was a bit too low for their liking and challenged the boys to come out strong in the opening minutes. Coach Adam proclaimed, "Krajisnik are a quality side fellas...You can tell they are getting tired though. We are the more fit team and we're in front of our home crowd. Let's get this second goal and finish them off."
The lights were shining bright at this point and the fans were itching for another goal. The second half began.
Much like the first half, the Foxes were able to move the ball around decent enough to hold most of the possession. Passing was much cleaner and purposeful. The boys kept the ball on the ground, but were also able to take advantage of some spacing mistakes from Krajisnik and played some great long balls down the flanks. They put a lot of pressure on the visitors with several chances either being blocked by defenders in the last second or the goalie making some great saves.
After 25 minutes or so of looking for that next goal, the Foxes hard work finally paid off. They played the ball in off a corner and the Krajisnik goalie was only able to get a slight touch to the ball. It was deflected and took some odd bounces to ultimately hit one their players directly in the hand. After a few seconds of discussing, the referee and linesman award the Foxes a penalty kick. Up stepped, you guessed it, Papa Mane. He approached the ball and nailed it passed the keeper. 2-0 for the Foxes.
The second goal was quite controversial, at least in the eyes of the away squad. They didn't appreciate the penalty kick call and things began to get a little chippy after that. Several hard fouls and several yellow cards were dealt in the final 15 minutes. Krajisnik had one final great chance with about 10 minutes left, but Etan made a great save for the Foxes. Krajisnik were deflated at this point. The Foxes made some subs and their energy remained constant while the club from Utica were totally exhausted. The final whistle blew and that was it...your Foxes won their third straight match by way of yet another shutout.
After the game, Coach Holzer spoke of how impressed he was about the team's grit. The quality wasn't there as in previous matches, but their fitness and overall persistence allowed the team to be victorious in front of another great crowd of over 150 people. Coach told the media team, "Etan was the man of the match for me. He had a great presence in the goal and a very important save at the end. He has been consistently strong. At the end of the day, we were able to get another three points so I can't be any happier for the team. We'll get back to work this week in preparation for our away match in Philadelphia. I'd like to thank my coaching staff, the fans, and of course my guys for giving a great effort here at home to allow our winning streak to continue."
The next home match for FSA PRO is Oct. 26 v Lincoln FC. You can purchase tickets here!