Georgia United defeated Concorde Fire at the U18 and U16 age groups in US Soccer Development Academy action over the weekend. United held off a spirited Concorde comeback in the U18 match to win 2-1 and dominated the U16 on the way to a 3-0 victory.
The games were originally scheduled to take place at Georgia Soccer Park last month, but were postponed due to rain and eventually moved to South Cobb High School's turf field. The narrow field (120x60 yards) combined with the cold, rainy weather had an impact on the flow of the games and often created a frantic pace of play.
The U18's kicked off the day, and Concorde created more chances in the first half. Their fast, direct play kept Georgia United on its heels and made it difficult for them to control the play. Concorde fired off 8 shots in the first half, with the highlight coming from Fabian Garcia in the 31st minute. Starting from the right wing, he cut inside and unleashed a curling left footed shot that was narrowly tipped wide by the United goalkeeper Zach Schewe.
Against the run of play, United struck first in the 44th minute. Jumar Oakley forced a takeaway near midfield, found Juan Torres who ran at the Concorde backline. His through ball sent Cal Jennings in on goal, who beat the goalkeeper at the far post with a powerful right footed shot.
United started to take more control of the game early in the second half, doubling their lead in the 57th minute through Patrick Okonkwo. The second goal created a sense of urgency in Concorde and they nearly pulled one back in the 63rd minute. A free kick from the right side was headed in, but was ruled offside.
Concorde's midfield, led by Roberto Arteaga, started to take control of the game and cause United's defense issues. Arteaga put Concorde on the board in the 75th minute, finishing off a rebound after a nice save from United's goalkeeper Schewe.
Schewe made a huge save in the 85th minute with his foot at the near post to keep his team in the lead. Concorde threw everything forward in the final minutes, but couldn't find an equalizer. United held on for a hard fought 2-1 victory.
The win improved Georgia United's record to 6-2-2 and keeps them in a wild card spot for the postseason playoffs. Concorde's record fell to 2-3-4.
The second match saw the two clubs' U16 squads face off. The differences in style were very apparent from the beginning with Concorde attempting to control the game through direct play and using their size and strength advantages. United tried to keep the ball on the ground and pass their way through the Concorde defense.
Concorde had the better of the play early, but United eventually found their way into the game. United's Jared McWhorter scored first, calmly finishing off a rebound in the 31st minute.
In the second half, United began to take more control of the match. A great combination between Carlos Pineda and Zyen Jones resulted in the second goal in the 56th minute. Pineda's strong run and cross found Jones, his first touch set him up perfectly and he finished under the sliding Concorde goalkeeper.
Jones scored his second of the game in spectacular fashion in the 67th minute. He beat a couple of defenders 1v1 and scored low to the far post past the stranded goalkeeper.
Even with the loss, Concorde stays ahead of Georgia United in the U16 standings and has a game in hand. United's record improves to 3-6-1 while Concorde is 3-4-2.
While Georgia United took the day this time, Concorde Fire will get their chance for revenge on February 20th when the return games are played at Metro North Park.