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Tournaments May 28, 2012

Loudoun Red comes from behind to down Reston

By Kevin Smith

On Sunday, after a quick-strike goal early in the first half by the Reston Wildfire’s (Va) (2-0) Claire Meiser, the team settled into a back-and-forth affair with the Loudoun Red (2-0) squad in the Girls U14 Gold Division. Later in the half, Loudoun’s Bailey Hackley, tied the game up off a corner kick, before an extra time goal to win 2-1.

The affair was marred by both team’s inability to take advantage of errors by their opponents. Shortly after Hackley’s goal, Loudoun failed to capitalize on the Reston defenders’ inability to control the ball well at the back as nerves appeared to take over.

Late in the first half, which saw Reston on its heels, the team opened with a strong push into the Loudoun territory, only to be turned back. Soccer is a game of ebb and flow, , and Loudoun quickly worked its way back into Reston’s territory, failing to capitalize on a second corner kick opportunity.

Midway through the second half, both teams seemed to have difficulty controlling the ball out of the middle, repeatedly trading possessions that came up short of scoring.

After a flurry of activity in the final minutes in front of the Reston goal in the closing minutes, the neighboring teams found themselves in a 1-1 tie, resulting in a 20-minute overtime, consisting of two 10-minute halves.

Loudoun upped the intensity in extra time, constantly pressuring the Reston defenders throughout. The increased pressure resulted in a fluke goal in the second minute of the second half of overtime.

With Loudoun controlling the ball just to the side of the Reston goal, Loudoun’s Rifsha Shamsher fired a crossing pass that ricocheted off the back of a Reston defender and past the Wildfire goalie to break the 1-1 tie. The late, dramatic goal was the difference in the game, sending Loudoun Red to Monday’s final for a shot at the trophy.

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