By: Caleb Hilliard
Memphis City Football Club had the best start to a match all season, but a late penalty saw Peachtree City MOBA come out victorious by a one-goal margin.
Memphis began the match with a high press and an attacking game plan. Peachtree City were caught on their heals inside of 10 minutes and MCFC scored on their third corner kick of the match. Midfielder David Zalzman curled in a corner kick into the middle of the box and Gideon Lateyian redirected the cross into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
MCFC continued their high press and attack in attempt to double the lead but Peachtree City started to break down the Memphis defense at the 20-minute mark and eventually broke through. Peachtree City won a corner kick and leveled the game at 1-1, after a downward header deflected off the body of an outstretched MCFC keeper, Victor Hoestbo. He nearly made the save but the header was swift and it came in at an awkward angle for Hoestbo.
Moments after the equalizing goal MCFC proved their resiliency and bounced back to take the lead. Sean Rutter once again demonstrated his worth in the squad as the center back completed perhaps the best run of the game and slotted the ball home after the Peachtree City defense was caught out of position inside the box. Rutter’s goal seemed to breath life back into the MCFC offense, but Peachtree City had other plans.
After Memphis took the 2-1 lead, Peachtree City relentlessly attacked for three minutes and took advantage of a seemingly inattentive MCFC to score from another corner and level the score at 2-2. Moments prior to Peachtree City’s equalizer, Hoestbo made an acrobatic diving save, but did not stand a chance on the follow up shot.
Peachtree City was the better side for the remaining 20 minutes of the first half and continued to test the MCFC backline. They were patient and content to make the safe and easy passes, and it paid off as the Georgia side gained the lead for the first time in the match inside of 38 minutes. The Peachtree City forwards caught a break after Rutter’s tackle deflected the ball to a Peachtree City forward who drilled it home just five yards away from the net.
MCFC manager Mark Franklin inspired his team at the half and the squad seemed to change their mindset and style of play for the remainder of the match. The defense held a high and tight line and the offense created multiple scoring chances early in the second half.
Camilo Sarmiento looked a threat for the entire match down the flank and he made a slicing run 20 minutes into the second half to set up Jermaine Steele for the goal in the 55th minute to bring the score level once more. Steele popped the ball up to his dominant foot and curled a half volley up and over a sprawling Peachtree City goalkeeper for the best MCFC goal so far this season.
The match settled down after MCFC drew the match level and the two teams struggled to find breathing room for the remainder of the match. Peachtree City broke the deadlock in the final three minutes of the match. Rutter was caught off guard in the box and took a lofted pass off the hand to concede the penalty. The handball was inadvertent but it did not matter as the ball nearly hit the center of Rutter’s palm. Peachtree City converted the penalty kick and took a 4-3 lead in the 84th minute.
MCFC’s offense struggled to create chances in the final six minutes of play and the Peachtree City defense effectively parked the bus the seal the three points and pick up their first win of the season.
“One of the disadvantages of not playing for a week is that it is hard to maintain your focus for the entire match,” Hoestbo said. “I think we definitely focused more, defensively, in the second half. We have a day to work out some kinks and we should be prepared for the Saturday’s rematch.”
MCFC is back in action Saturday, June 2, at CBU; kickoff is set for 7 P.M. To watch the previous match visit this link.