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Mass United Earns Victory Over Philadelphia Atoms
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On a cold, blustery night on the campus of Arcadia University, Mass United opened their season with a 2-1 win, despite playing 55 minutes with just 10 men. The breakthrough came just five minutes in with a stunning goal from the away side. Two players making their first appearance for Mass United, Drew Montano and Mitch Tepe, moved the ball through the middle to Mohamed Saeed. Saeed picked up the ball about 30 yards from goal and spun to his right. He sidestepped two Atom defenders working the ball onto his favored right foot and then unleashed a thunderbolt into the top left corner from about 25 yards. Ike Onyeador, the Atoms keeper had absolutely no chance. United did not enjoy their lead for long. Just 5 minutes later, the Atoms two most creative players on the night, Oliver Calvo and Uche Onyeador, maneuvered the ball into the area just above the United box, and drew a foul. It was a disappointing free kick to give away for Stefano Franciosa, as there appeared to be no imminent danger. On the ensuing free kick, United struggled to get organized. Calvo took the free kick quickly while the Uniteds goal keeper, Nick Gardner, was still on his post adjusting the wall. The free kick floated in, amid protests and confusion from the United players. Just minutes later United gave up another dangerous free kick, in a similar area to the previous. Calvo and his curling effort this time was brilliantly met by Gardner, who dove at full stretch to his left, and with his top hand, plucked it out of the top left corner keeping the sides at level pegging. Atoms forward, Vontez Hilliord, struggled to create space with Mikhail Tadros and Roman Ducottard snapping into tackles. Meanwhile Ibe Lewally, United forward, hassled the Atoms backline with his pace. At around the 25 minute mark, Lewally picked up the ball just inside the Atoms half a drove past 3 Philadelphia defenders. The Atom backline did just enough to shuttle Lewally wide and force a shot from a difficult angle. Moments later it was Lewally causing problems again when he chased a ball into the channel. He pivoted and spotted midfielder Jeff Thomas arriving late. Thomas attempted to redirect Lewally cross to Montano, but Montano had drifted just offside and the danger dissipated. A couple minutes later, Hilliord finally appeared to get free. A United corner was cleared into midfield, where Calvo managed to flick it into Hilliord path. Remy Tazifor, making his first appearance for the Boston based club, had committed a few fouls already in the match and was starting to draw ire from the referee. Tazifor caught Hilliord just as he broke into the United half and clattered into him. He was booked, but likely scampered a big chance for the Atoms. Tazifor, moments later, put his side down to 10 men when he was shown a second yellow for an ill-timed tackle on Uche Onyeador. Onyeador spun at the halfway line and was then chopped down by a United midfielder. The away bench protested but it looked to be the correct decision. With the man advantage, the Atoms pinned United in their own half. One minute into stoppage time, a United clearance finally broke to Saeed, who spun up the field and found a breaking Montano around the halfway line. Just a Montano broke into the Atoms half he was brought down by retreating Atoms defenders. Ducotterd took the ensuing set piece. Ike Onyeador aggressively came off his line only to realize that the United defender had blasted it over everyone. Onyeador retreated but it was too late as Ducotterds service planted itself in the top right corner of the net. United took their unexpected 2-1 lead into halftime. The Atoms controlled the second half, but only generated few opportunities of note. Nick Morris drove from the left wing and took a shot from a tight angle that just missed Gardners far post. Approaching the 60th minute mark, United fended off an onslaught of Atoms corners. Tadros briefly had to be removed from the field after clashing heads with Atoms defender Tim DiBisceglie clearing one such corner. Just before he reentered the game, the Atoms thought they had found an equalizer. Hilliord was fed a through ball from Calvo and neatly finished past a rushing Gardner. However, the goal was disallowed as the Atoms front man was well offside. United then worked to kill the game and the Atoms began to run out of ideas. Montano and Aprile shut off the Atoms attack on the left flank and combined nicely a couple of times on the counter to relieve pressure. What joy the Atoms did have down the right was met with more clearances from Tadros, Ducotterd, Tepe and Thomas. The United halftime substitute, Karl Etienne, nearly put the game to bed when Lewally beat a couple Atoms defenders to the byline and squared him a cross. Etienne stretched and connected well, but just missed Onyeadors near post by inches. United goal scorer, Saeed, was eventually subbed in the 80th minute and Montano shifted into the middle of the park, making crucial tackles in the closing minutes to slow down Philadelphia attacks. In the end, the Atoms only managed to muster two wild bicycle attempts in the closing five minutes and Mass United snuck out of Philadelphia with the spoils. United now turn their attention to the Fury who they will meet next Sunday in Boston.









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