North Carolina Fusion’s bench made a significant impact on Wednesday. Taylor Adler scored a game-winning goal and Marco Sunol added an insurance tally to lift the Fusion U-17/18 team to a 4-2 victory against the Colorado Rapids in Group 1 play of Academy Finals Week at the Houston Amateur Sports Park.
“The impact of the subs, the fresh legs and the preparation to come in and play made a difference for us,” said Fusion head coach Marc Nicholls, who was celebrating his 40th birthday. “I was delighted for them. Four games in seven days is a lot on the body, and the impact of the bench is very important.”
Adler’s winning score came in the 79th minute, with Sam McBride providing the assist, to give the Fusion a 3-2 lead only two minutes after the Rapids had equalized. Then, Sunol put the match away in the 90th minute with Rapids goalkeeper Brad Holub rushing off of his line. Sunol flicked the ball over Holub and upped North Carolina’s lead to 4-2.
It was a strong response from the Fusion after opening Finals Week with a 4-1 loss to Group 1 leader Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Monday.
“We were really disappointed with the scoreline against Vancouver, and they deserved to win that game,” Nicholls said. “We felt it was important for us today to respond and show good character, and I think we did that.”
The Fusion lurked around the net in the early stages of the match, but Colorado’s defense was up to the task with several key blocks. In the 30th minute, North Carolina’s Warren Marshall broke through, placing his shot in the left side of the frame past Holub for a 1-0 lead.
North Carolina carried the momentum into the second half. Shortly after a corner kick, Marshall played the ball to the back post and Sam McBride finished with a header to create a two-goal advantage.
The match stayed that way for more than 20 minutes before the Rapids put a dent into North Carolina’s lead, pushing its attack in the game’s final 15 minutes. Idi Camara started the comeback with a 71st-minute goal, following up Chris Gurule’s initial shot that was deflected away by the Fusion defense.
In the 77th minute, Rapids second-half sub Daniel Nevarez scored off of a deflection to level the match at 2-2. The Rapids crossed the ball in from the left side, North Carolina tried to clear and Nevarez converged with a shot that hit the left post and crossed the goal line.
That equalizer was short-lived as Adler and the Fusion responded with the go-ahead score in the 79th minute and never looked back.
The Fusion (1-1-0, 3 points) wraps up the group stage when it faces De Anza Force at 8 p.m. CT on Friday, July 20. The Rapids (0-1-1, 1 point) face Vancouver at 8 p.m. on Friday. Both games are at the Houston Amateur Sports Park.
-U.S. Soccer Development Academy Match Report-
Match: Colorado Rapids vs. North Carolina Fusion
Date: July 18, 2012
Competition: 2012 Development Academy Finals Week – U-17/18
Venue: Houston Amateur Sports Park
Kickoff: 9 p.m. CT
Weather: 82 degrees, humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Colorado Rapids 0-2–2
North Carolina Fusion 1-3–4
NCF – Warren Marshall 30th minute
NCF – Sam McBride (Warren Marshall) 48
RAP – Idi Camara 71
RAP – Daniel Nevarez 77
NCF – Taylor Adler (Sam McBride) 79
NCF – Marco Sunol 90
RAP: 18-Brad Holub; 4-Ben Braman, 3-Alex Braman, 7-Chris Gurule, 42-Isaac Martinez (24-Austin Seifert, 53); 2-Avery Ball (20-David Pardo, 69), 12-Shane O’Neill, 46-Ricardo Perez; 8-Karsten Hanlin, 9-Idi Camara, 10-Josue Chavez (19-Daniel Nevarez, 65)
Substitutions Not Used: 13-Jason Prichard, 14-Jorge Lopez, 25-Cameron Taylor, 31-Andrew Epstein
Head coach: Brian Crookham
NCF: 1-John Brooks; 32-Alex Rosenbower (2-Erik Casterline, 85), 20-Cole Schwietering, 7-Adam Storm, 6-Mason Billings; 16-Sam McBride, 8-Warren Marshall (14-Craver Stamey, 76), 13-Brandt Bronico; 36-Myles Mansfield (96-Matteo Busio, 83), 4-Alec Rotunda (10-Marco Sunol, 65), 38-Hassan Kouyateh (17-Taylor Adler, 74)
Substitutions Not Used: 00-Jefferson Caldwell
Head coach: Marc Nicholls
Stats Summary: RAP / NCF
Shots: 13 / 15
Shots on Goal: 5 / 8
Saves: 4 / 3
Corner Kicks: 5 / 6
Fouls: 5 / 7
Offside: 4 / 1
Referee: Kyle Phillips
Assistant Referee 1: Ramon Bermudez Jr.
Assistant Referee 2: Apolinar Mariscal
Fourth Official: Bernard Hosu
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Warren Marshall