3United clashed with a revamped Oranje squad last Saturday. Oranje was coming off a smashing of Japan two weeks earlier, while 3United had also beaten Japan in the SIFL Cup semi-finals the weekend before. Oranje was fired up after their first win of the season and 3United was hoping to further their win streak despite missing a few starting players.
During the first half, it was Oranje who had the upper-hand. Their offense was continually exploiting holes in the 3U defense and midfield throughout the half and resulted in the first goal of the game at around the 15 minute mark. A seemingly unpredictable, spinning, floating cross managed to find the foot of the Oranje striker who side-kicked a perfect lob into the corner of the 3U goal. 3United reacted well and 5 minutes later saw Joe Williams earn a penalty for the team which Nick Law clinically saw into the left corner of the goal. Soon after, Oranje also earned an arguable penalty pushing into the 3U box. This could have been a disaster to 3U’s spirit but Jonny Sumner, 3U keeper, made a spectacular save, blocked the shot and cleared it out of the box to remove all danger from the 3U backfield. This single-handedly (no pun intended) might have been the moment that saved 3U’s spirit and willpower for the rest of the match. 10 minutes to the end of the half, Oranje found the goal once more following a string of mistakes made by 3U. An Oranje midfielder was able to find the resulting throughball and put a grounder past the defense and keeper. The first half ended 2-1 to Oranje.
In the second half, 3United finally found some structure and teamwork and became the dominant force of the two teams. But despite having most of the possession and momentum, they struggled to create anything dangerous in front of goal. Oranje was still pushing to solidify their lead and were awarded a penalty off a freekick handball in the box that looked to do just that. Sumner, 3U’s savior for the second time that day, read the penalty-taker like a book and made an even more convincing save than the first one to give 3U the momentum once again. 3U pushed hard on all fronts for the rest of the half and at the 88th minute it seemed that all hopes were lost but then a ball won in the defense made it’s way to the midfield and reached Nick Law on a dummy pass at the edge of the box. Law didn’t hesitate even a moment, turned the ball with his first touch and rocketed a shot into the top right corner to finally even the scoreline. The last two minutes were fought at 120% with both teams looking to net a third but the final whistle blew shortly afterwards. Oranje’s hopes for a win were dashed despite playing a hard-fought game but 3U’s willpower was enough to get them back to even. Final score: 3United 2, Oranje 2.
Man of the match: Jonny Sumner