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ECNL May 29, 2023

ECNL Girls 2023 New Jersey National Event: Day 2 Recap

The ECNL Girls New Jersey National Event continued on Sunday with the second day of competition. See below for a rundown of some of the top matchups from Day 2.

San Diego Surf 3, NC Courage 1 (2007)

At the 07 age group on Sunday, San Diego Surf and NC Courage squared off in a battle between two sides that have had very strong seasons to this point.

In the first half, Cassidy Drago opened the scoring for Surf, before Lauren Stevens doubled the lead to send Surf into the half with a 2-0 advantage.

Early on in the second half, NC Courage cut into the Surf advantage to make it 2-1, but Gabby Anderson added on a third to put the game out of reach and give Surf the 3-1 victory.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them. We really controlled and managed the game against a very tough and physical team,” said San Diego Surf Head Coach Juan Porras.

[+READ: Seven goals scored in high-octane ECNL Girls National Selection Game in New Jersey]

Porras was most proud of the resiliency his side showed after conceding the goal early in the second half. His players never wavered, continuing to play their game until they were able to find the third goal to put it away.

“The team didn’t slow down after receiving a goal,” Porras said. “We stepped up.”

Although he was impressed with a number of the players on his team, Porras did not single anyone out after the game, noting that it was a collective effort and emphasizing it was his team that played well, not just one individual.

“My philosophy is that it is a collective sport. There are individuals that give constantly to the team, so the team played really well,” Porras said.

Connecticut FC 2, Cleveland Force 1 (2007)

Also in the 07 age group, Connecticut FC and Cleveland Force entered into action looking to grab a big Sunday victory.

Connecticut FC grabbed the early 1-0 edge in the 11th minute, but Cleveland Force found the equalizer just before halftime on a goal by Meredith Werner.

In the second half, Connecticut FC was able to regain their edge in the game. Anne Gnidula finished off a cross with a half volley to the back post in the 58th minute to make it 2-1 and Connecticut FC would hold onto that lead the rest of the way.

After the game, Richard Sutherland, Head Coach of Connecticut FC, described his team’s performance and how he thought they were deserving of the victory.

“I thought we controlled most of the game and created better chances throughout the game,” Sutherland said. “I thought over the whole 80 minutes we were the stronger and more capable team.”

Sutherland noted that one of the things he emphasized to his side at the half was to clean up some of their play in the final third. “We asked them to be a little bit cleaner with the decision making and the quality in the final third,” Sutherland said.

Even though it was a strong team performance and a number of players contributed to the Connecticut FC win, Sutherland did highlight the play of Paige Place in the midfield.

“It’s a showcase, so we give the opportunity for all the girls to highlight themselves and get on and play. It was definitely more of an all around team performance, but I did think Paige Place played really well in center midfield.”

Arlington Soccer 1, Orlando City 0 (2006)

In Sunday’s action at the 06 age group, Arlington Soccer used a second half goal to get by Orlando City 1-0.

After a defensive first half by both teams, Arlington Head Coach Carlos Parra said the team made some adjustments at the half to get more direct to create more opportunities.

“We changed a little bit of the system to go more forward and it created a chance,” Parra said.

In the 67th minute the extra chances paid off as Arlington swung a ball into the attacking third that was fired toward the far post to give Arlington the lone goal of the match and the victory.

Although Parra noted the adjustments the team made at halftime, the biggest turnaround came from the extra level of focus his players had going into the second half of the game.

“I thought it was a big turnaround in the second half in terms of our performance,” Parra said.  “In the second half the girls were engaged, focused, and did the simple things right.”

Parra also emphasized the collective team effort his players showed and how the group is one that not only gets dialed in, but knows how to pick each other up when one of them is struggling.

“I’m very happy for all of them because they all dialed in. Everybody made a team effort. Some of them picked each other up when they were struggling and I think that is what’s important.”