DKSC’s U17 squad came into ECNL San Diego with a 7-2-4 record, which is good enough for the top mark in the Texas Conference. Heading into the national event, DKSC was aiming to test itself against similarly tough competition from across the country. 

And the team got its wish; first up was the undefeated, 10-0-0 Kansas City Athletics, who occupied the Champions League 1 spot Friday morning. 

The match held true to the spirit of all ECNL national events: pitting the best clubs in the country against each other while playing exciting soccer for 90 minutes. 

“Game ones are always important,” said DKSC coach Michael Bones. “Regardless of whether it’s a showcase or whether you’re playing for playoffs, we put a lot of emphasis and a lot of importance on game one.”

DKSC and KC Athletics opened up the match with plenty of play in the middle third of the pitch. But as the two teams settled into the contest, it was the Texas side who managed to strike first. 

Building momentum through the midfield, DKSC started to flip the pitch in their favor. After multiple scoring chances, DKSC pitched a looping shot over the goalkeeper but under the bar to take a 1-0 lead. 

KC Athletics turned up the heat after allowing the first goal, and nearly tied it up just before the half ended. Kansas City had a corner from the right side, and the service into the box was headed on net, but rang off the crossbar before being cleared of danger. 

Using that near tally from the first half, KC Athletics continued to press forward and just minutes into the second frame, the team cashed in. Once again coming off a corner, KC Athletics snuck a shot past the DKSC’s goalkeeper to make it a 1-1 game. 

The two teams continued to battle, searching for the go-ahead goal. And as the half wound down, it was DKSC who pulled ahead. 

DKSC chipped away at the Athletics defense, getting numerous scoring chances, but all were thwarted by Kansas City. That is until late in the half, when DKSC sprung its forwards for a 2-on-0. After a quick pass to the middle with the KC Athletics goalkeeper charging, DKSC buried its shot into the empty net for the 2-1 lead. 

Hunkering down after earning the 2-1 advantage, DKSC kept KC Athletics in check, never allowing their opponents to earn a quality scoring chance. 

At the final whistle, DKSC walked away with a 2-1 win, handing KC Athletics its first loss of the season in the process. It was exactly the type of game, and type of win, Bones was looking for when preparing for the event. 

“We knew coming in, KC Athletics was going to be a really big challenge for us,” Bones said. “We put in a lot of work and in preparation for this game, and I think it showed. Kansas City is a very well-organized team and works, extremely hard, and they have a lot of good players. But I’m really proud of our girls and how we responded and got the win today.”

Bones will now look to parlay the win into success for the rest of the weekend. But at least for today, he’s enjoying the spoils of ECNL San Diego. 

“More than anything else, you take the positives and carry that over into league play,” Bones said. “You build off the fact you were able to play against different styles and strategies and then bring that back into conference play.”

“And thank you to ECNL,” Bones added. “This event is fantastic as always. We’re so appreciative of being in this league and being able to represent the league and our club to the best of our abilities.” 

It’s a Bones Day indeed. 

To view all ECNL San Diego scores and the full schedule, click here