ECNL PHOENIX DAY 2: GOALS GALORE

The second day at ECNL Phoenix saw competitive action and goals everywhere you went across all the age groups.

In the U18/19 age group, one of the premier matches of the day saw San Diego Surf taking on Davis Legacy.

The game was a tightly contested battle throughout with each team controlling possession for stretches and both sides generating multiple chances to score. In the 20th minute, San Diego Surf opened the scoring on a goal by Anya Van Den Einde, after the ball fell to her in the box and she was able to slide it home. 

It was not long though before Davis Legacy answered with a goal of their own. In the 30th minute, Erica Grilione hit a rocket in the right corner to tie the game up at 1-1. They then grabbed the lead early in the second half on a strike by Elle Quinn.

The lead did not last long though. Midway through the second half, Maryn Wolf got open in the box and was able to slot one home to even things at 2-2, a score that would hold the rest of the way.

After the game, both sides expressed that they were happy with the result.

“Pretty even game, even chances, even possession. That’s a proper match between two really competitive teams,” San Diego Surf Head Coach Philip Wolf said. “I think maybe we had a little bit more of the ball and they are a little bit more dangerous on the counter, but it was always going to be a one goal game, and I think a 2-2 draw is fair.

Davis Legacy Head Coach, Andres Olmedo, thought seeing Surf’s style of play was very beneficial to his team. “We learned a lot. It’s a different style that we haven’t seen where we’re from and we were able to adjust well,” Olmedo said. “They created chances, we created chances as well. The game kind of went back and forth. I’m very pleased with the result.” 

While there was no late winner found between San Diego Surf and Davis Legacy, Gretna Elite Academy and South Carolina United squared off in the U17 age group in a match that featured some very late fireworks.

The scoring opened up right from the start with a goal in the second minute by Allison Marshall to put Gretna Elite up 1-0. South Carolina United responded only minutes later though with Claudia Lyons equalizing in the seventh minute.

As the game progressed and got into the second half, South Carolina United began to control much of the play and were eventually rewarded with a goal to grab a 2-1 lead. 

That lead looked like it would hold until the game reached the 79th minute, when Gretna Elite’s Karli Williams got a little bit of space and launched a strike from well outside the box into the top corner to even the game at two apiece. 

Head Coach Jon Brezenski said Williams has that kind of range and knows she can let shots like that fly when given the opportunity. He also said she scored the incredible goal on her birthday.

“It was Karli’s birthday today and she’s done that before,” Brezenski said. “She’s got that range and she has the green light to shoot, and just hit a fantastic ball right in the corner. 

The goal shifted the momentum of the game. In the final 10 minutes, Gretna Elite began creating more chances and controlling the momentum. Then, in the 89th minute, Madilyn Schmeling put home the game winning goal to put Gretna Elite up 3-2 and complete the comeback.

“I was proud of our girls for continuing to play and not quitting,” Brezenski said. “That’s kind of the style that we can play. We get a little gritty on the defensive side of the ball and create opportunities on the counter, and that’s how we got that winning goal.”

Brezenski also believes that’s the type of performance his team will be able to build on moving forward. “That kind of game is a character type game, where we’re not playing the best, but we didn’t stop playing.”

With goals galore and plenty of competitive action throughout the day, day two in Phoenix delivered some high-quality games.