RCU Fall 1-0 to Atlanta, Return Home to Finish SeasonPublished 12:26pm Wednesday, July 6, 2011
“We played really well. We should have won the game, but we didn’t,” said head coach Gerry Cleary. “At this point, it was just a typical game in our league.”
It has become a familiar story to fans following Rocket City United’s progress this season. A game in which numerous chances were created, but the goals never came.
RCU travelled to Atlanta this weekend to face the Silverbacks Reserves in an away game that could have kept them in the hunt for the top spot in the NPSL Southeast, if only mathematically. In the end, the game was just another verse of the same song the team has struggled against all season long.
With many players unavailable over the 4th of July weekend, RCU travelled with a squad of just 14 players, making for something of a makeshift team.
“We were playing an injured player at center back, a center midfielder at right fullback,” said Cleary, “It was strange.”
Despite their setbacks, the team started brightly enough. Early chances in the first half culminated in a penalty kick drawn by Andrew Nkurunungi. Kenniel Hyde stepped up to the spot, but his shot was saved. From there, the evening turned against RCU.
“They didn’t have a lot of chances until the referee gave them a penalty kick right before halftime and then the whole second half they just wasted time like they did at our field,” Cleary said.
The narrow 1-0 loss was difficult for the team to take from a game where they felt they deserved more. Still, Cleary credited the home goalkeeper for a tremendous performance.
“Their keeper was probably the best player,” Cleary said. “We created really good chances but he saved one from Jacob [Letsholo] and one from Andrew that I still don’t know how he saved them. And he saved the penalty kick.”
United now returns home for their last two games of the season, and Cleary is determined to take the positives from the game in Atlanta and build on them.
“Jacob, Andrew, and Kenneil had a lot of really good shots and their keeper saved them, whereas, before we were missing them,” Cleary said. “The lads in the back played really well. Joseph [Omondi] was really good. He and Felix [Obilo] were two of our better players.”
The coach also said that he does not plan on throwing away these last two games of the season in order to give run-outs to some of the younger players.
“We’re not running out,” Cleary said. “We’re still going to stick to the same team, stay with our philosophy and do something we haven’t done all season which is win at home.”
He said he also plans to take stock of players with an eye for next season, with commitment being the key word.
“Georgia is a very good team,” Cleary said of next Saturday’s match against the Revs, “But we’ve just got to see who comes to training. We’re lacking commitment right now at this part of the season and we just need to see who’s committed to Rocket City and we’ve got to take notes for next season.”
RCU will return home next Saturday, July 9th, to host Military Night against Jacksonville United. Anyone with a military ID or CAC card will receive 4 free tickets.