New England Soccer Today

ASL: CT United Drops Debut Match

Photo credit: Ryan Dolan

Photo credit: Ryan Dolan

NEW BRITAIN, Ct. – Professional soccer returned to Hardware City on Saturday night as ASL debutante Connecticut United FC took on the Philadelphia Fury in its first match, which saw the hosts surrender twice after halftime to drop a 2-0 loss under soggy conditions at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Early on, the run of played was concentrated in the middle third as both teams stuck their toe in the proverbial water. CT earned a couple corner kicks leading up to the 15th minute but didn’t come close to testing Fury goalkeeper Chase Clement (and before you ask, yes, he is related to Bill Clement of hockey fame).

As the grains of the hourglass fell, it became apparent that the Fury’s strategy was to run the offense through their right midfielder, Nick Morris.

Unfortunately for the Fury, the attackers couldn’t sneak by the defense or CT netminder Hami Kara, who you may recognize from his days as a Western Mass Pioneer.

The first half concluded with both sides securing longer spells of possession, but to no avail. Corner kicks were cleared, free kick plays were scuppered, the final satisfying touch evaded all as both squads left the waterlogged pitch for halftime knotted at zero.

The second half began with a dangerous Fury press. After a couple corner kicks, former Boston Ram Luke Finkelstein was able to provide defender, yes you read that correctly, defender Vinny Lelis a pass that allowed a clear shot at goal to put the guests up 1-0.

With an hour accrued in the game, the CT attack came alive once more.

Supplemented by their first of five substitutions in the 65th minute, crosses toward goal become commonplace, forcing Clement’s hand, but, alas, the twine went untouched.

CT midfielder Miguel Carneiro, from New Milford via Rio de Janeiro, showed impressive skill picking out passes and schooling the Philly defense in one-on-one situations in the autumn of the second half, and will be someone to pay close attention to as the season progresses.

After CT and Philadelphia substitutions in the 82nd minute, Brian Davis played Ned Ryerson, who provided the Pennsylvania faithful with the insurance goal they needed scoring off of a set piece taken just outside of the penalty area.

CT tested the Fury defense a few more times but couldn’t illuminate the scoreboard at Veterans Memorial Stadium. A late challenge by United’s Connor Archambault was the best the hosts could muster before full time.

Connecticut will travel to New York to face the Long Island Express on Apr. 10.

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