Archived Story

Rocket City United season ends with loss

Published 10:40am Monday, July 18, 2011

Looking desperately for their first home win on Saturday, Rocket City United’s final home game of the season went the same way as most of their season.

Early goals looked to undo RCU as the visiting Georgia Revolution converted a chance just 5 minutes into the match.  Matters grew worse in the 28th minute when a long free kick cannoned into the top corner of the RCU net, putting them two goals in the hole.

Not to be outdone in their final game of the season in front of the home fans, RCU clawed their way back into the game with a penalty kick in the 41st minute, drawn by Andrew Nkurunungi and converted by Joseph Omondi.

As the second half kicked off, the game was in the balance. Less than 15 minutes in, the ball moved forward and found Nkurunungi, who burned his defender and found the net.  At 2-2, the home side finally looked poised for a scintillating comeback.

The Revolution had plenty to play for though, as a Chattanooga loss opened the door for them to take the top of the table.  Just minutes after the equalizer, the Revs found their third goal and eventual game-winner, knocking what wind remained in them out of the home side.

Things went from bad to worse, as sloppy defending and poor goalkeeping allowed the visitors to snag a fourth goal and effectively close off the game. 

Despite fighting valiantly for their first home win in the last game of the season, RCU was forced to settle for a 4-2 loss.   

After the game, head coach Gerry Cleary was proud of the effort his team gave, but still unsatisfied with the early lack of focus.

“We dug a hole by going down 2-0,” said Cleary.  “We got back in the game at 2-2, had two chances to make it 3-2.  Then we give up another silly goal to go down 3-2 and you’re chasing the game. 

“This is the story of our season,” Cleary said. “We get back in it and then we kick ourselves in the teeth.”

Again, RCU had to face the game with only 13 players, allowing them just two substitutions the entire game and highlighting one of the challenges the coaching staff has faced all season.

Looking back on that season, Cleary said he does at least see value in the experience he and some of the younger players have gained.

“It was good,” Cleary said. “It was a learning experience for me.  We had a lot of young players and made a lot of mistakes defensively.  We didn’t win at home.  So I’ve got to sit down and summarize it. We’ve got to try to build for next year.”

While the regular season is over, RCU will close out the summer with a 6v6 tournament, followed by an exhibition game against the NPSL All-Stars. 

“The 6v6 will just be a good chance for the lads to finish off the season, have a bit of fun and play,” Cleary said, “And then the All-Star game is a chance for some of the lads to be seen.”

As for his future with the club, Cleary seems open to returning but recognized that his record will not be his greatest selling point.

“I don’t know whether they’ll want me back,” Cleary said. “Instead of me, they might need a good coach.  But we’ll see.”

RCU will play their last game of the summer against the NPSL All-Stars on July 29.  The team will also be hosting the NPSL Championships July 28-30 as the four regional champs fight it out to be crowned national champions.

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