by Noah Seligman
May 13th, 2017. Albuquerque, NM
The Albuquerque Sol started its 4th season with a suffocating performance, defeating the visiting Las Vegas Mobsters 5-1 in front of 523 fans at St. Pius High School in Albuquerque. It was a friendly, but the Sol stated its intentions early dominating possession for much of the first half. The Mobsters found precious few opportunities to get forward as the Sol pressed an ambitious early pace. The Sol switched the ball effectively finding ample space down the flanks as the Mobsters bunkered themselves in a compact and narrow manner. Fullback Dillon Nino took advantage on some overlapping runs forward but had to depart early with a hamstring injury.
The Sol had a few cracks at goal that flashed just wide of the post and probably should have claimed an early lead after a misplayed back pass from the Mobsters saw Luke Lawrence with a 1-on-1 opportunity. The Mobsters goalie (name?) was equal to the task smothering the low shot. But Lawrence would have his revenge a few minutes before the halftime whistle. The Sol strung a few passes vertically up the pitch before Lawrence bulled his way through a few futile Mobster challenges working himself around the goalie and tucking home the opener on 42 minutes.
The Sol were more clinical to start the second half, as defender Kareem Saleem punctuated a composed and tidy defensive performance on the night with a goal following a Jaiden Waggoner corner. The ball fell to Saleem and he cooly ripped a shot past the flailing Mobster goalkeeper in the 51st minutes. The Sol stung the crossbar in the 60th minute. Just two minutes later a ball played forward saw Lawrence in a footrace with the final Mobster defender. Lawrence was clattered over and the Mobster defender saw straight red for obvious denial of a goal scoring opportunity.
The Sol looked to press the advantage and put the game to bed but some strong Mobster defending kept them in reach. The Mobsters were able to sustain a spell of possession to try and control the pace. The Sol defense was split open on a quick counter by the Mobsters in the 75th minute as Arturo Ramirez beat the Sol defense and goalie to a speculative ball forward. He weaved around the goalie and slotted home to halve the Sol lead and give the Mobsters a foothold in the match.
However, any Mobster allusions of sharing the honors tonight were disabused courtesy of Jack Clancy. A tiring Mobster defense was overwhelmed twice in two minutes starting in the 82nd. Clancy notched his brace by getting behind the Mobster defense off crisp balls forward and firing home from close range.
Barakat showed considerable ambition with his shots from long range all game. He was rewarded in the 85th minutes when his raffle ticket paid out handsomely as his blast snuck under the crossbar to make it five.
The Sol regular season formally commences on Saturday May 20th at 7:30 p.m. MT when the Sol host FC Tucson at St. Pius High School. FC Tucson is (0-1-1) thus far, having already played a pair of league matches.
Albuquerque Sol FC is uniting and elevating New Mexico through the world’s most popular and beloved sport: Soccer/Futbol. The Sol embody the dynamic and diverse community that is New Mexico, representing people from all backgrounds and cultures united in one purpose: to celebrate the world’s game with New Mexico authenticity. Visit www.abqsolfc.com for more information.
The Sol play in the Premier Developmental League (PDL) of the United Soccer Leagues. The PDL is the top developmental men’s league in North America and features over 70 teams within four conferences across the United States and Canada. Visit www.uslpdl.com for more information. Approximately 70% of all players drafted into Major League Soccer (MLS) have played in the PDL.
For more information on Albuquerque Sol FC, contact Ron Patel at info@AbqSolFC.com.