Wednesday, July 23
Today saw the official opening of the tournament with all teams gathering at the RDFV Training Facility to be welcomed by dignitaries from the organizing committee and from High School affiliations across Asia. Our American contingent lead the party supported by their travelling fans in the stand.
It was then back to Beijing to spend some time in the Haidain District with teammates and families before heading back to the stadium for an afternoon kick off.
The NJ ALLSTARS started off their Beijing Cup campaign against one of China’s top teams, Jing Wen High School of Shanghai. Although they had travelled considerably less distance than their Chinese opponents it did not show on the field with the ALLSTARS settling into the game early with some good combination play down both wide areas. It was this that lead to the first goal with Kian Zapata breaking forward from the left hand side, cutting through the opponents with slick one twos before slotting home in the far corner, 1-0 ALLSTARS. JWHS had chances in the first half but nothing that Alec Kaminer wasn’t equal to in goal.
Within minutes of the second half starting the ALLSTARS were caught cold with the ball ending up in the back of the net after a nice move down the left hand side, 1-1. There was then only one team in it with the ALLSTARS controlling the play, with only the ill-discipline of the Chinese side, racking up 3 cautions, that broke up good play from the young American side. Thorsheimer and Zapata were bombing on from the back, with Bull and Bell pulling strings in the middle creating good scoring chance which should have seen them take the lead. As in the case in Soccer, failing to take your chances can hurt you which is what happened indeed when a lofted cross found itself in the back of the ALLSTAR goal, 2-1 JWHS. The boys from NJ didnt let their heads drop and set about finding an equalizer with Moylan stinging the goalies hands from 25 yards and Bell making him produce a world class reflex save.
2-1 was not the final the boys had hoped for and not what they had deserved. Coach Donovan had only words of praise for the effort, the passion and the performance from all players.
Tomorrow sees the boys take on Changsa Yali Middle School, an affiliate of Yale, USA. 4.00pm Kick Off.
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