Sunday, July 27
As America sat down to eat its evening meal on Sunday a small contingent of its very own were waking ready to the next step in the Beijing Cup Competition. The NJ ALLSTARS being the first representative from the USA were carrying their own expectations along with that of a host that expected them to produce a performance. Looking at the young players it reminded me of the World Cup advert for Beats by Dre, starring Neymar and a host of other players. Anyone who has seen the team over the past few days can attest to their new found fame matches their professional counterparts. Headphones on, poise, focus, readiness…….
The game began with the Chinese team from Henan Province keeping the ball well for the first few minutes, the Americans struggling to get hold of the ball. They will wish they had managed to try and make that period longer for as soon as the ALLSTARS took possession the looked confident and assured on the ball. Controlling the possession switching the point of attack across the field with ease. A throw in deep into the Chinese half is returned back to Zapata who passes one towards the line and delivers and diagonal ball to Fabricant, with a one touch lay off for Panizza who’s shot is deflected and bends over the goalie hits the underneath of the ball before crossing the line! First Five and the boys are 1-0 up and they didn’t relent. With the wind in their sails NJ took it to the opposition, searching to strike again quickly with Fabricants illusive running leading the charge, causing Henan problems in defense. The Chinese side looked to get back into the game themselves and were finding more and more space with an unorthodox midfield overrunning the ALLSTARS on the counter. Coach Donovan read this perfectly and inverted our midfield three to give extra support in the hole.
Goal number 2 came from a corner on the right hand side delivered by Bell. The effective Thorsheim made an intelligent near post run in front of the defender beating him to the ball and glancing a header on target, with an outstretched hand the goalie was only able to divert the ball to an advancing Lowe at the far post who poked home into the roof of the net for his second of the tournament.
The ALLSTARS never really looked back maintaining possession well in midfield with Cadena who hasn’t misplaced a pass all tournament and looking dangerous with the ball from all parts of the field. Number 3 would not have been out of place at any tournament across China or the US as talismanic midfielder Bull picked up his first goal of the campaign. 30 yards from goal the ball is brought inside from the right flank and rolled to Bull who is taking up a central position, then with as little backswing as it seems effort he opens up his body to bend the ball off his right foot and bends it passed the outstretched goalie into the upper right corner of the goal. It could have been worse for the Chinese side before half time as Bell was denied from the penalty spot.
Bednarsky and Hadley Jr. gave the team a renewed engine in the middle of the park throughout the second half with Bednarsky getting forward and creating chances to extend their lead. Fabricant still willing to work and run scored number 4 with a brilliant fantastic effort. Picking the ball up just inside the opposition half he set off outside one defender taking the ball passed him and driving towards the area skillfully skipping passed the challenge of defenders 2 and 3 before coolly slotting home in the bottom left corner from 8 yards. Late in the second half Bizub grabbed his first goal of the tournament with a neat finish after the ball had been crossed from the right hand side.
Final Score: NJ ALLSTARS 5 – 0 Henan Province Experimental High School
Tomorrows Semi Final is a 10am kick off against a very good Indonesian side Jakarta Select. They are probably the NJ ALLSTARS biggest fans with both teams spending a lot of time together getting to know each other.
We took advantage of the early kick off this morning to head into Beijing visiting the Wangfujing evening markets. Shopping for Chinese delicacies, little keepsakes and eating Scorpions!!!!