It’s the end of April and in Riverside, CA, that’s when the heat starts to kick in. Sunday was one of those days. High eighties and a bright sun that caused some fans to bring big umbrellas, which would prove too weak of a defense against the elements. Just when they thought they had the umbrella covering them, a gust of wind would take down their defense. Similar tactics were seen in our first game from Riverside Coras U19s who swept away Valencia Warriors FC 5-1. In the second match, Riverside’s senior squad took on UPSL side The Valley FC. The Valley FC took a 3-0 lead at half and while Riverside did battle back valiantly, it was not enough. Riverside Coras FC lose to the Valley FC 4-2.
U19 vs. Valencia Warriors FC
Riverside Coras U19s came out and gave the crowd a show. Their attack was ruthless and they pounced on any mistakes that were made by Valencia Warriors FC defense. After 70′ minutes of play in the hot sun, the U19 Coras stood victorious. The young Coras scored five goals while only allowing one from a rebounded penalty kick. When watching an academy match I try to look at a few different things a player is doing off the ball rather than on the ball. Are the players covering vacated spaces, are they consistently checking over their shoulder to look for options/ threats and how do they respond to making a mistake? You want to see a knowledge of the game and an awareness of ones surrondings, and if you see those things, regardless of score, you will have had a meaningful academy match.
The young Coras lined up for most of that match in a flat 442. They played quick, wide and relied on their athleticism to beat defenders.Throughout the match the U19s would continuosly attempt long through balls, either in the air or on the ground, in attempt to break the back line. This resulted in a few forced balls that were intercepted or played too long. The passes that did make it through or that created the best chances, had the build-up play to help draw out the defense. Late in the first half Coras LM drove down the left flank playing a series of quick passes that released him down the field passing three different defenders in the process. Both players saw the run early on and executed it perfectly.
Overall the match was satisfying. We got to see some great talent go out there and try things; whether that was a fancy step-over or a back heel attempt at goal, we got to see the young Coras demonstrate their passion for the game.
Riverside Coras FC vs. The Valley FC
The tempature was cooling down and the crowd was now warming up after the U19s performance. This bye week came at a great time for Riverside. It allowed some players to rest, and some younger players a chance to step up, including academy U19 player Daniel Herrera who played in both matches. Daniel played at RB for the senior squad and had an awesome play where he overlapped his right-sided partner Jimmy Ross, and layed a perfect throughball to ST Juan Aguila. I asked him about today’s game and that moment after the match:
We had some good moments on the pitch, but we also had some bad ones. In that particular play I just saw the man open and you have to respect the run, so I sent him through.
At the start of the match Riverside was moving the ball really well. Shane Shelton was moved into a more advanced role leaving Eric Gonzalez and newcomer Bryan Luna to patrol the midfield. This allowed the Coras to play further into VFCs side of the field, but leaving a decent sized gap between our defensive line and our midfield line. The Valley’s quick attackers were able to exploit the gaps in our midfield and often split the defenders. VFC put away three before half:
The second half looked to be a whole new match. Riverside came out determined, looking angry and ready to score some goals. In the 50th minute the Coras chip away at their deficit, scoring their first match. Riverside passing tempo quickened and it started to open up more space for their attackers. It was clear from the start of the second half that the Coras were going to attack and take advantage of their set pieces.
Just when Riverside was feeling the momentum, Miles Metoyer (left wing for VFC) received the ball with his back to goal, made a swift turn and placed a beautiful shot that hit the back of the net. Even the opposing fans admired such a clean goal.
To be honest, I wanted to just get it on target. Their was two defenders in front of me and I just had to split a gap, God is good.
– Miles Metoyer
Overall it was a good batch of friendlies. There were 160 minutes of soccer played, twelve goals scored four clubs that battled for their fans and three different communities that got an opportunity to come together in celebration of life and soccer.