The Oakes Training Center, Oak Grove, Mi
STARS HIT SIX WITHOUT REPLY OVER PORT CITY IN U-19 PILOT
In this growing Mississippi rivalry Port City out of Gulfport won both games over their in-state rivals during the inaugural 2020 pilot season. This time it has been Southern States SC Stars in the ascendancy. The team based in Hattiesburg completed a duo of victories within a week over their closest rivals.
Following fast on the heels of last Monday’s 4-0 success, the Stars roared into action again, even improving the score-line in their favor to 6-0. In the previous game the Stars had begun strongly scoring two goals in the first quarter of the game, opening the score on just 7 minutes. Unfortunately for Port City there was no respite this time either. Danny Reynolds, who was a thorn in the side of the Port City team on Monday, fired home a sweet, curling, left-footed, free-kick from 35 yards out just 5 minutes into the game. The ball ripped past goalkeeper Carl Blundell, leaving him no chance.
Port City were fielding a number of changes to their roster including Blundell taking over in goal and he was kept busy early on as the Stars relaxed into a familiar pattern of possession and attacking endeavor.
The second goal took a little longer to arrive than the Stars dominance deserved. As Port City fought to keep them at bay, it was that man Reynolds again who picked himself up from being fouled in the penalty-area to fire home the resultant spot-kick for 2-0.
Just before the half with Port City hoping to limit any further damage, John Corzine got free to guide the ball home and take the lead to three. It was the best goal of the game. From defense to offense with superb movement and passing, all ending with Corzine accepting Danny Reynolds inch perfect pass for 3-0.
The game was very much a copy of the previous game just four days ago. Port City needed to again, come out punching and try to reduce the arrears before the Stars could get a hold on the second half, as much as they had done in the first.
While the goals had been flowing recently, the Stars defense had been equally on top of its game. They were protecting a three-game run of clean sheets and trying to add a fourth tonight. In the previous two games the opposition had failed to register a single shot on goal. Ethan Crump was untroubled again so far in this game. As for Port City they were 1-2 and without a goal since their opening game win over the New Orleans Jesters.
Within 10 minutes of the restart the game was effectively over as a contest when debutant John Cozine was free to coolly pass the ball home beyond Blundell into the net for 4-0.
As with the previous game between these two, Port City picked up and showed admirable fight and spirit as they went about trying to mount a challenge. As they pushed forward they started to get a few offensive opportunities, hitting the post from one and forcing Crump into a save from another.
Both teams made a number of changes bringing on substitutes as the game entered its final 15 minutes or so. With Port City pushing for at least a consolation goal they left themselves open to conceding goals. One arrived from academy product Jason Garcia (74 mins) , and another from Corzine (81 mins) who grabbed his hat-trick with the sixth and final goal.
What They Said
Debutant and hat-trick hero John Corzine was happy to talk, “Great man, it’s a pretty indescribable feeling”, Corzine said, “I’ve been out of the game for a little while, feeling a little rusty at first but once I got into the game everything went alright. Goals came naturally and we saw it off with a great six, nil win. Couldn’t be happier right now”.
Stars head coach Carl Reynolds he was, “Really, really pleased for the guys. They’ve put in a lot of work and done exactly what I’ve asked of them. From all the nights of training its really showed. We’ve looked a really good team at times, couldn’t be prouder and for the club as a whole, its great to have your name at the top. Now we hope to finish it off with a good performance next Wednesday”.
Port City head coach Henrik Madsen praised the Stars performance saying, “It was a good game, obviously Southern States is a high-quality team their movement off the ball is very good. The left-back is a different level out here, isn’t he? Its rough when he hits a free-kick from so far out and the keeper can’t get it. I thought the boys battled it out, it was tough going down by four or five, but I thought they fought out ‘till the end. But Southern States Stars were a lot better on the day. We still have a lot to play for (in the games ahead)”.
(Images Below Credit Sophie Bell)