After coming off a dominating performance last weekend, the Rino’s CAT team took to the pitch full of confidence against an 11-1-2 Richmond FC Olympics “B” squad. With the return of Goalkeeper Paulo Henrique de Sousa who had been on loan in the Brazilian leagues, it was going to be quite a task putting anything in the back of the net for the 1st place CAT B team. After the first 10 minutes and the game settling down a much improved possession game was visible from the previous week as Rino’s showed the class and swagger of a team in great form. A strong back line consisting of surprise starter Jordan Atkinson at right back, held the Olympics to minimal threats in the early goings. Going forward, the men in red always looked dangerous. Some great touch passing led to an early chance with Corey Ford having a go from 30 yards, only for it to be tipped onto the cross bar from a out-stretched Olympics keeper. With the keeper exposed and the ball falling nicely to a johnny on the spot Yuda Shih, it seemed all that was necessary was an easy header to put Rino’s up 1-0. Unfortunately, the header
sailed just over the bar sending the Rino’s faithful into cries. They had another chance soon after when Tommy Nolan played a square ball to an open Ford 10 yards from goal only to have the Olympics defender get a touch to see it safely away. They hoped it wouldn’t be another game of close chances and poor finishing.
The home side knew though that it was their day to put their mark on the league in the final stretch of games in the season and it wasn’t long before man-in-form Greg Crompton who, coming of a brace in last weeks match, put Rino’s up by 1 in the 20th minute. A great pass from Nolan, sliding the ball through to Crompton at the top of the 18-yard box between two of the Olympics defenders and an even better first touch, brought him 1 on 1 with the keeper. A well placed inside-footed shot into the bottom right, sent the crowd into roars and the home side up by one. The rest of the first half continued with strong performances in the middle by Ryan Arceneaux and Corby O’Genski out on the wing who were always frustrating the away-side with their quick touches twisting turny style of play. The possession continued with some more chances limited to long-range attempts by Nolan and Arceneaux. It wasn’t until the final minutes of the first half when O’Genski received a ball at the top of the box from Shih and with a great piece of individual brilliance made the Olympics defender look like pylon then fired a shot from 16 yards. The keeper dove to stop it but saw it slip under himself reminiscent of the Robert Green gaff in the World Cup.
The second half started just as strong with substitutes, Tim Pritchard and Ben Cougny coming on up-front and Shawn Wilhelm, Adam Crowe and newly returning Robin Davies making appearances in the middle. Rino’s controlled the majority of the play and created chances from all different areas. Paulo continued to show no signs of his absence from VMSL league play confidently collecting balls when called upon and looking for a shutout in his first game back. The other returner Davies, showed no signs of coming off an injury with crunching tackles all over the pitch. Wilhelm, Arceneaux and Thompson showed off the ever increasing Rino’s chemistry with lots of intricate passing and skilled footwork which continued to frustrate the away-side. In the air, the backline was equally as dominant never giving the opposing team a chance to create anything and winning all aerial battles. In the 60th minute, the speedy Pritchard was too much to handle and was brought down in the box with a reckless challenge. The striker took matters into his own hands when he slotted it home confidently making it 3 with 30 to go. The home-side won many corners throughout the second half and the Olympics were finally put away with a dangerous ball whipped in from Wilhelm in the 80th minute. The shear curve and velocity of the cross baffled the nervous Olympics defenders who couldn’t deal with it and sent it painfully into the back of their own net, ending any chance of a comeback and putting the game to rest.
A post match interview with the classy as always Shawn Wilhelm had much to say about the great performance. “The lads played hard and we showed today why we are one of the dominating forces in the league.” When asked about the defenders blunder near the end of the game he said “I would love to of claimed that goal as my own but I know the dubious goal panel will surely rob me of my first of the season. The 3 points are enough for me.” Managers and fans alike were impressed with today’s performance and are looking forward to the remaining games in the Rino’s schedule. An upcoming game vs. the 1st place Westside FC “B” will be regarded as the most anticipated game of the season where the players will be looking for revenge after a early season loss and know it is an absolute must win. Next week is away at Surrey at 2pm.