2014 Winter II Season Recap

SHORT-HANDED UNITED FALLS TO DOBECK’S
United had a huge undertaking to attempt on Friday night:  face Dobeck’s with a chance at second without its second leading scorer, two of the three starting defenders and only one of its regular goalies.  It was an uphill battle from the start and, for the second week in a row, United faced bigger players.  Dobeck’s raced out to a 4-0 lead in spite of strong play from first-half goalie Sam Weaver.  Ethan Sheflin played his second full game in a row anchoring the United defense, and team leading scorer Gabe Amey was moved back to the defensive line to help.

Stephen Pratt moves in to defend against a Dobeck's player.

Stephen Pratt moves in to defend against a Dobeck’s player.

But it wasn’t like United was on defense for the entire game.  The offense generated more chances than Dobeck’s but could not convert.  Stephen Pratt, Alec Droegemeier, Colin Attarian and Brock Waters all sent shots toward net that were either stopped or just wide.  It wasn’t until late in the first half that Pratt fed Waters to convert for United’s first goal.  Shortly after it was Droegemeier who got it to Brock to cut the lead to 4-2.  Dobeck’s scored one more before half.

The second half finally got Sam Weaver out of net after playing four consecutive halves in it.  But all other Unite

Ethan Sheflin played his second full game in as many weeks.

Ethan Sheflin played his second full game in as many weeks.

d goalies this season, Patrick Hoffman, Culby Burd, Chris Brown, were not available and Brock Waters was playing hurt, so it was up to Colin Attarian to reprise his role of goalie for

United, the first time Colin was in net since the team’s U-8 season.  Colin did well and United kept scoring, with goals from Droegemeier and two more from Waters, but it wasn’t enough.  United fell 9-5.

The loss dropped United to fifth place for the season in the 14-team league.

WHO LEADS WHAT WITH A WEEK TO GO


United’s main focus in the final week of the season is beating Dobeck’s and taking second place in the ultra-competitive NetSports league.  But who is leading the internal team races this season?  Gabe Amey is leading the scoring title so far.  Gabe’s scored nine goals to lead all United teammates, but hot on his heels are Nico Gutierrez with eight goals and Alec Droegemeier with six.  As for assists, two of the three old Lightning Line members lead the way.  Colin Attarian has six while Gutierrez has dumped off five helpers.  Next up is Amey with four assists.

SPIDER BIT:  UNITED FALLS TO BLACK WIDOWS ON LAST MINUTE GOAL
Through the last four weeks of the season, few teams had been playing as well as United.  The team ran off two ties and four straight wins before facing the Black Widows, a substitute team for Alpha Q, which forfeited their match with United.

The Black Widows were the first legitimate high school team that United has faced all season.  To a player the Black Widows were older and bigger.  That said, they couldn’t stop United, as the team had its highest offensive output of the season.  The problem was that United couldn’t stop the Black Widows, as they scored the go-ahead goal with just 30 seconds remaining in the game.  Combined, United and the Black Widows scored 19 goals in the game, a 10-9 Black Widow victory.

Gabe Amey plays the ball down the left side of the field.  Gabe leads United in scoring this season.

Gabe Amey plays the ball down the left side of the field. Gabe leads United in scoring this season.

But it was United that struck first.  Stephen Pratt took the ball down the left side of the field and crossed it to an awaiting Gabe Amey

Nico Gutierrez gets ready to play the ball with the outside off his right foot along the wall to an awaiting Stephen Pratt.

Nico Gutierrez gets ready to play the ball with the outside off his right foot along the wall to an awaiting Stephen Pratt.

for a 1-0 lead. That’s when the Black Widows exploded, and scored four unanswered goals to go ahead 4-1.  The Black Widow offensive line was big and could have had several more goals in this stretch if it wasn’t for the defense of Ethan Sheflin, who played the entire 50 minutes, Sam Sanger, who blocked multiple shots, and a rotation of Amey and Nico Gutierrez, all in front of Sam Weaver, who made several key saves while having to stay in net for the entire game.  United was down its other usual defensive rotation of Chris Brown and Nicholas McCullers and, when the team was able to generate some offense, it developed kick-it-to-the-goalie syndrome, sending shots right at the keeper.

With about seven minutes left in the first half United settled down.  Amey scored his second goal, off of a wall pass from Gutierrez.  Gutierrez then stole the ball for a two-on-one breakaway and fed Alec Droegemeier for a goal. United then went on a power play and Droegemeier scored again, this time off of an Amey pass, and the teams went into half tied, 4-4.

The second half featured a very fast-paced game as neither defense could stop the other team’s offense.  Colin Attarian started the scoring with his third goal in as many games, this time off of a pass from Droegemeier.   That goal put United up 5-4 before the Black Widows scored two to go up 6-5.  Pratt fed Gutierrez who send a shot to the upper-right corner of the net, just beating the Black Widow goalie, and tying the game.  Gutierrez then scored unassisted to put United up 7-6 before the Black Widows scored two more, reclaiming the lead at 8-7.  Sam Sanger stepped up for a brief offensive stint and fed Gutierrez to tie it.  The Black Widows pushed ahead again before Gutierrez fed Droegemeier to tie it again, this time while the Black Widows were playing with seven players and with just a minute remaining in the game.  Then, with just 30 seconds left, the Black Widows got the final goal of the match.

What does the wild game and the United loss mean for the standings?  Nothing.  Technically, United got a 3-0 win against Alpha Q since Alpha Q forfeited.  That puts United in fifth place with 14 points.  There are two unbeaten teams, Gucci’s Army and Northwood High School.  If both of those teams win out, they will finish with 24 points.  United sits one point behind the Ill Eagles and the Association of Soccer Super Stars.  A second place finish is within reach, but United will have to get by a streaking Dobeck’s team Friday night.

JOKE’S ON YOU:  UNITED DISPATCHES DEDICATION WITH EASE

Colin Attarian drops to his knees after converting a penalty kick in the waning minutes of the game as Alec Droegenmeier looks on.  This pic also shows the size disparity that United has faced this season.  That difference hasn't slowed down the team's offense as United's scored 17 goals in two games.

Colin Attarian drops to his knees after converting a penalty kick in the waning minutes of the game as Alec Droegemeier looks on. This pic also shows the size disparity that United has faced this season. That difference hasn’t slowed down the team’s offense as United’s scored 17 goals in two games.

Droegemeier


United probably could have put 15 goals in on Dedication:  the Ford Ridge Story on Friday night.  As it was, the team tallied eight.  Couple that with Stephen Pratt’s own personal attack on net that saw him hit within inches on as many as four attempts, and two controversial no-goals, and the score could have been much worse.  As for the goals that didn’t count, Gabe Amey sent a shot that beat the keeper, bounced behind the line, straight up to the top of the goal, and was headed out, and Colin Attarian sent a shot that beat a sprawling keeper, bounced behind him and over the line, before the keeper cleared it out.

But while Dedication focused on clowning around, United, playing with at times a five-man roster, was all business, scoring when Amey dispatched a Nicholas McCullers pass and then took a feed from Brock Waters, who was in the United goal, to convert for a 2-0 lead.  Stephen Pratt did manage to get one of his shots to go when McCullers sent the ball off of the wall and Pratt converted.  United went on the power play shortly after and, while it did not convert with the extra man, it did directly after the power play ended when Amey set up Alec Droegemeier, who drilled it past the goalie.  The United defense, down several players, was strong.  Ethan Sheflin, Sam Sanger, McCullers and a steady rotation of usually offensive-minded players stepped up on defense, preventing any real scoring chances from occurring.  Dedication was able to get one back right before half but United was in control, 4-1.

Score a goal against United this season and you've earned it.  Not just because of the good goal tending by Brock Waters and Sam Weaver, but because of United's defense, led by Sam Sanger, Chris Brown and Ethan Sheflin.  Here Sanger goes in to win a two versus one against him.

Score a goal against United this season and you’ve earned it. Not just because of the good goal tending by Brock Waters and Sam Weaver, but because of United’s defense, led by Sam Sanger, Chris Brown and Ethan Sheflin. Here Sanger goes in to win a two versus one against him.

The second half saw Ethan Sheflin leave for his basketball championship, depleting the defense even more, but Pratt and Waters switched places, bringing Brock, and fresh legs, out from goal and up front.  Brock then scored a natural hat trick, with two goals coming from Colin Attarian and one from Droegemeier.   A little bit of United history was made next.  Gabe Amey was fouled inside the Dedication box, resulting in a rare indoor penalty kick.  The indoor PK was a first for United, and United original Colin Attarian stepped up and converted, to put the final score at 8-1.

United was originally scheduled to face unbeaten Northwood High School on Friday but Northwood couldn’t make it.  Instead, United got Dedication and all of its antics, and handled itself with class.  United and Northwood will not play this season. The win also moves United into fifth in the standings in the 13-team league.  While mathematically eliminated from taking first place, United (11 points)  is only one point out of second with two games to go.  United is now in front of every team that it has beaten and the two tams that it has tied this season and faces off against Alpha Q next week.

CLIMBING THE TABLE:  UNITED DISPATCHES SHERMAN
For the second week in a row United rallied to take down an opponent, coming from behind to defeat to-of-the-table dweller Sherman 6-4 on a snowy Valentine’s Day.

Sam Sanger moves in to dispossess a Sherman player.

Sam Sanger moves in to dispossess a Sherman player.

United employed the formation that they switched to midway through their game against the Blazers and began the game working the ball well.  Multiple chances came off of the feet of Alec Droegemeier, Stephen Pratt and Brock Waters when they were running up front, but Sherman exploited speed and capitalized first, going up 1-0.  United answered when Waters fed to Nico Gutierrez for the equalizer.

It was United’s turn to strike next when Chris Brown sent a long ball down the right side of the field to a

Alec Droegenmeier moves in for one of his many early scoring chances before leaving the game with a knee injury.

Alec Droegemeier moves in for one of his many early scoring chances before leaving the game with a knee injury.

Droegemeier

breaking Gabe Amey, who converted to put United up, 2-1.  Gutierrez scored next, unassisted, and United went into the half leading 3-2.

Sam Weaver made several saves early before scoring the game-winning goal with a minute to go.

Sam Weaver made several saves early before scoring the game-winning goal with a minute to go.

The second half saw Waters go in goal and, off of a save he threw the ball to a breaking Colin Attarian, who dribbled down field and put the ball in the bottom-left corner of the net with the outside of his left foot.  The teams exchanged goals before Attarian fed Gutierrez for his final goal of the night.

United led 5-4 in the last minute of the game. when Sam Sanger fed Gutierrez, who took it down the left side of the field.  Sam Weaver stepped up and was wide open in front of the net, converting the pass and putting the game out of reach.

United’s defensive core was up to the task again.  Led by Ethan Sheflin, Brown, Sanger, Weaver and Pratt, and with help from the two United net minders, the team was able to hold off Sherman and improve to 2-1-2 on the season.  United faces another unbeaten, Northwood High School, on Friday night.

NOTE:  UNITED’S VALENTINE’S GAME AGAINST SHERMAN HS IS ON AS SCHEDULED.  GAME TIME IS 8:10PM.

SHORT-HANDED UNITED PUTS TOGETHER BLAZING PERFORMANCE
United had just five players to start Friday night’s game against the CASL Blazers and had just seven to finish it.  But with short shifts, the team put together the best performance of the season in a come from behind tie, 3-3.
The meeting was the first between the two teams, separated by a point heading into the match.  But United looked fresher at the beginning of the game, and just five minutes in, Ethan Sheflin took a pass that Colin Attarian had placed off of the wall to the right of the goal and converted, putting United up, 1-0.  United had multiple chances in the first half, with several shots just missing or being stopped by the Blazer goalie, who did his part to keep it from being a 7-3 United win.  Gabe Amey, Alec Droegemeier, Sheflin, Sam Sanger, Sam Weaver and even Chris Brown, who stepped up from defense to have a shot blocked by the keeper, had scoring opportunities.

GUTSY PERFORMANCE:  A severely depleted United, down seven players and with no subs at the start of the match, used a team effort to come from behind and tie the CASL Blazers 3-3.  Gabe Amey leads along the walls with Chris Brown and Sam Sanger in support as Colin Attarian prepares to join on the attack.

GUTSY PERFORMANCE: A severely depleted United, down seven players and with no subs at the start of the match, used a team effort to come from behind and tie the CASL Blazers 3-3. Gabe Amey leads along the walls with Chris Brown and Sam Sanger in support as Colin Attarian prepares to join on the attack.

 Brock Waters stopped several shots in the first half, and Sam Weaver reprized his role as United keeper in the second half.  It was the first time that Weaver was in net for United since 2008.
Toward the end of the first half United began to tire and gave up two quick goals.  The 2-1 scoreline would hold for the remainder of the first half and most of the second, until, in the final third of the game, United came to life, switching to a 3-2 formation, stringing as much as six-seven consecutive passes together multiple times, and looking like the United team that had been dominant over the last few seasons indoors.  During that stretch, Chris Brown made two huge defensive plays and also fed the ball through to Amey, who tied

 the game.  With under three minutes to go Droegemeier intercepted a Blazer pass and put United up, 3-2.  With under two minutes to go it was the Blazers turn to seal a pass and convert to tie the game, but from  that point it was United winning possession and peppering the Blazer goal, culminating with a free kick with 17 seconds left, but the team couldn’t convert, settling for the tie.

United is two goals from being unbeaten in the very competitive high school league.  The team gets a chance to take down one of the remaining unbeatens as it faces Sherman High School on Valentine’s Day.

WHERE THEY STAND:  WEEK 3 United's first opponent, Gucci's Army, is on top at 3-0.  United and the Blazers are right next to each other in the standings in advance of Friday's game.

WHERE THEY STAND: WEEK 3
United’s first opponent, Gucci’s Army, is on top at 3-0. United and the Blazers are right next to each other in the standings in advance of Friday’s game.

United downs Bravehearts 5-3 for first win off the season

It took three weeks but United finally broke into the win column when the team defeated the CASL Bravehearts 5-3 Saturday night.  Nicholas McCullers started the scoring off when he received a pass from Gabe Amey on the right side of the goal and buried the upper left corner of the net.   Alec Droegemeier scored his first goal as a United player and the his first of two on the night when he scored off of a Nico Gutierrez pass.  The Bravehearts got one back before Droegemeier scored again, this time unassisted off of a shot that bounced off of the wall.  United went into half leading 3-1.

The Bravehearts scored to start the second half and cut the lead to one before United was awarded a free kick that Gutierrez converted.  The 4-2 lead would hold until the Bravehearts pushed again and converted to cut the lead to 4-3.  Two-thirds of the old United Lightning Line got together to score the final goal of the night when Colin Attarian fed Gutierrez off of the wall for Nico’s second goal on the night.

Alec Droegenmeier moves toward goal as Nico Gutierrez looks on.  Both scored a pair of goals and Nico added an assist in United's 5-3 victory over the Bravehearts.

Alec Droegemeier moves toward goal as Nico Gutierrez looks on. Both scored a pair of goals and Nico added an assist in United’s 5-3 victory over the Bravehearts.

The United defense was strong in a physical game.  The defense, led by Ethan Sheflin, Sam Sanger, Amey and McCullers, played its most complete game in front of United goalies Brock Waters and Chris Brown, each reprising their roles after several seasons, splitting a half in net and making key saves.

United is now 2-0 all-time against the Bravehearts.  The last time the teams met was almost two years to the date.  The teams squared off on February 20, 2012.  Led by Stephen Pratt (two goals), Nicholas McCullers

 (two goals) and Nico Gutierrez (two goals), United defeated the Bravehearts 12-2 on that night.

standingsweek2

UNITED TIES CASL’S MOB

Ethan Sheflin clears the ball from danger on defense.

Ethan Sheflin clears the ball from danger on defense.

Stephen Pratt battles along the boards.  Pratt, along with Sheflin, Chris Brown and Sam Weaver, led the United defense in front of Colby Burd.

Stephen Pratt battles along the boards. Pratt, along with Sheflin, Chris Brown and Sam Weaver, led the United defense in front of Colby Burd.

Colin Attarian takes the ball upfield on a CASL defender.  Colin recorded his first assist on the season.

Colin Attarian takes the ball upfield on a CASL defender. Colin recorded his first assist on the season.

Gabe Amey came alive in the second half and brought United level with a pair of goals and strong play on the right.  Here Gabe lines up for a free kick while Ethan Sheflin and Colby Burd look on.

Gabe Amey came alive in the second half and brought United level with a pair of goals and strong play on the right. Here Gabe lines up for a free kick while Ethan Sheflin and Colby Burd look on.

United is still searching for its first win f the Winter II season as the team tied CASL’s Desert Mob, 5-5 on Saturday night.  United struck first as Sam Sanger scored his second goal in as many games, making a run from midfield and beating the goalkeeper.  Midway through the half it looked like both team’s defenses were up to the challenge.  United, led by Ethan Sheflin, Sam Weaver and the return of Chris Brown, was strong in front of goalie Colby Burd.  Midfielders Colin Attarian, Stephen Pratt, Brock Waters and Gabe Amey helped out at both ends of the field while Alec Droegemeier and Derrick Johnson ran the offense.  But Desert Mob scored three unanswered goals and went into halftime leading 3-1.

Gabe Amey put United on his back early in the second half and scored two quick goals, one unassisted and the other from Sanger, to bring United level, but a defensive lapse let Desert Mob score to go up 4-3.  Ethan Sheflin scored his second goal of the season, off of a Colin Attarian pass, to bring United level again, and United controlled possession for a good portion of the second half, but Desert Mob had a breakaway against the run of play to go back up, 5-4.  United answered again as Brock Waters took a Derrick Johnson pass to equalize.  United had a free kick as time expired and was not able to convert.

United moves to 0-1-1 on the season and next faces off against the CASL Bravehearts, a team United has beaten previously, next Saturday.

UNITED FALLS SHORT IN 2014 OPENER
Patrick Hoffman kept United in the match.  Already trailing 1-0 to Gucci’s Army, a team made up of Cary Academy’s Chargers, Hoffman

There are 14 teams in the league and seven of them got wins over the weekend.  United is the best of the rest based on goal differential (-2) and currently sits in eighth place.

There are 14 teams in the league and seven of them got wins over the weekend. United is the best of the rest based on goal differential (-2) and currently sits in eighth place.

Colin Attarian battles the ball past the Gucci's Army defender in United's 6-4 season-opening loss.

Colin Attarian battles the ball past the Gucci’s Army defender in United’s 6-4 season-opening loss.

made several key finger-tip saves for United, which was sporting some new faces in the 2014 season opener at NetSports.  But Hoffman’s saves, along with a strong defensive effort led by Ethan Sheflin, Sam Sanger, Nicholas McCullers and Sam Weaver, kept United in the game, and the halftime score remained 1-0.

United would remain in the defensive zone for the start of the second half, giving up two more, perhaps taken aback by the aggressive play, and aggressive celebrations, of Gucci’s Army.  United put Colin Attarian and newcomer Alec Droegemeier up front and, for what they lacked in size, they made up in speed, as the two were all over the offensive zone, and it sparked the United offense.  Derrick Johnson took a through ball from Brock Waters to score the United’s first goal of the season.  Moments later Ethan Sheflin fed newcomer Gabe Amey, who brough

t United back within one.  Gucci’s Army scored to push the lead back to two before Amey passed to Sheflin to inch United closer.

United almost tied it when Stephen Pratt’s wall pass dropped for Sheflin, who pulled the trigger but went high.  Droegemeier, Attarian, Johnson and Sanger all

ENGAGING THE SAMS:  Sam Sanger (11) and Sam Weaver, both long-time United players, took the field for the first time together against Gucci's Army.  Sanger has been a mainstay for United since 2010; Weaver rejoining the team after a stint between 2006-2009.

ENGAGING THE SAMS: Sam Sanger (11) and Sam Weaver, both long-time United players, took the field for the first time together against Gucci’s Army. Sanger has been a mainstay for United since 2010; Weaver rejoining the team after a stint between 2006-2009.

had good scoring chances that either just missed or were saved by the Gucci’s Army keeper.  United scored it’s final goal with just 50 seconds remain

ing when Sheflin fed Sanger on a free kick that Sanger converted to push the score to 6-4.

The 10-year anniversary team featured new faces in Amey and Droegemeier, and was a homecoming for Weaver, who played on United between 2006 and 2009.  United was down defenders Chris Brown and Colby Burd.  While the team has been hugely successful indoors, it has had a much more difficu

lt time at NetSports, with much larger fields and traditionally stronger teams.  United’s best finish in a league at NetSports came in 2012 when it took second.  The team’s best tournament finish at NetSports came in 2009 when it was Co-champion of the Mary Myer’s Memorial tournament with the TYSC Gremio.  United won the indoor match-up with Gremio but fell in futsal.  That said, the players love the bigger field and facility, and United will try for the season’s first win, versus the Desert Mob, on Saturday.

Colin to Train in Philly!  United's Colin Attarian will be heading to Philadelphia to train this March.  Colin will train with the Union's star midfielder Danny Cruz before attending the Union's home opener against the New England Revolution on March 15.  This picture is from when Colin and Danny got together last month to set it all up.

COLIN TO TRAIN IN PHILLY! United’s Colin Attarian will be heading to Philadelphia to train this March. Colin will train with the Union’s star midfielder Danny Cruz before attending the Union’s home opener against the New England Revolution on March 15. “This is obviously very cool to be doing this training,” said Attarian.  “I’m really excited to learn from the MLS experience and bring that knowledge back to United.” ABOVE:  Colin and Danny got together last month to set it all up.

THE NEW TEAM:  Patrick Hoffman, Colin Attarian, Brock Waters and Stephen Pratt hang out with MLS referee Mark Kadlecik.  In addition to these four, Ethan Sheflin, Logan Harris and George Bournazian all are United players that have made the transition to officiating.

THE OFFICIAL TEAM: Patrick Hoffman, Colin Attarian, Brock Waters and Stephen Pratt hang out with MLS referee Mark Kadlecik. In addition to these four, Ethan Sheflin, Logan Harris and George Bournazian all are United players that have made the transition to officiating.

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