2010 Winter Seasons Recap

Declan Hoffman plays the ball toward George Bournazian while a Cleveland United Ice player closes in. Hoffman tied the game moments later.

United, Ice battle to a 3-3 tie in part due to a Gutierrez goal with six seconds remaining
Raleigh – United entered the XL Soccer World building expecting a rematch against an East Wake Twisters team that United defeated in the first game of the season.  The Cleveland United Ice team anticipated a match against the SASL Firestorm in the competitive division.  When the Twisters and Firestorm failed to show, it provided a rare opportunity for a top team from the recreation division to face a top team from the competitive division, and the two teams faced off.
United entered the game 5-0 in the XL rec division.  Cleveland came into the game 4-2 in the competitive division.  The Ice struck first, scoring with about 16 minutes left in the first half.  United answered when Ty Tabb passed the ball to Nico Gutierrez to tie the game.  Moments later Cleveland went ahead 2-1.  United answered again, this time when George Bournazian passed to Declan Hoffman for the equalizer and the two teams went into half tied, 2-2.
United has prided itself on defense inside and has lead the recreational league in all defensive categories.  Playing against a competitive-level team let United test itself and the team was up to the physical challenge.  Already down starting defensive players Holland Bostrom and Zach Gault, United turned to Colin Attarian, Matt DeBella and Ethan Sheflin, who, along with Ty Tabb and Mihir Shah, banged away against the Cleveland offense.  The game was physical enough that, at one point, Sheflin, Martin Benitez, Tabb and Abdul Elmorsi were all hurt and on the bench.  But United hung in, only surrendering one goal.  Then, with only six seconds left in the game, Attarian got the ball to Gutierrez for his second goal, and the tying goal, on the night.
United officially is 6-0 at the unofficial end of the season.  The team hopes to make up the snowed-out game against the unbeaten Lazers this week.

Colin Attarian had a goal and three assists Sunday against the Flares.

Elmorsi’s, Tabb’s goaltending, a Gutierrez hat trick and three Attarian assists overwhelms Flares
United needed a team effort to get past the CASL Flares Sunday afternoon in a game where the score did not indicate level of competition that the team faced.  The Flares were big and physical, matching United step for step in the first half, resulting in several saves from goalie Abdul Elmorsi.  United finally broke through with 13 minutes remaining in the first half, when Zach Gault crossed the ball to Nico Gutierrez to put United up, 1-0.  Shortly after, Travis Knick crossed the ball to Colin Attarian, who scored and put the team up by two.  The Flares answered moments later when a forward got behind the United defense to convert a goal and cut the lead in half.
From that goal on, United turned up the pressure.  Attarian crossed the ball to Tabb, who centered to Gault to put United up 3-1.  Gault scored his second moments later when Declan Hoffman crossed the ball to Gault and a 4-1 lead.  George Bournazian pushed the ball to Martin Benitez, who converted for a 5-1 lead. The two switched roles when Benitez sent it to Bournazian, who scored to put United 6-1.  The Twisters tried to get back in the game and mounted pressure, sending several shots on net, including one shot where Elmorsi dove to kick the ball out of net with his leg, right before half.

The second half produced several early shots by the Flares, but this time Ty Tabb deflected them all out of the United net.  After the early charge, United took over.  Gutierrez completed his hat trick when Attarian and Hoffman both sent passes across the field.  Hoffman then scored when Gutierrez returned the favor.  United ended the scoring when Knick received a pass from Attarian and drilled the ball in the net.

United moves to 5-0 indoors and has given up the fewest goals of any team in the winter league (10).  The team faces the Twisters in a rematch of the season opener next week.

Ty Tabb makes a save in United’s net. Tabb made several saves and had an assist against the Ex-Rays Sunday.

United outlasts Ex-Rays on Valentine’s Day
United faced off against its first middle school team Sunday as it played the third-place Ex-Rays, a team from Exploris Middle School.
The teams were fairly evenly matched but United seemed to just have enough to outpace the Ex-Rays throughout the game.  The Reds scored first when Matt DeBella centered the ball to Nico Gutierrez for a 1-0 lead.  The Ex-Rays answered when a player got behind the defense and scored to tie the game.  United came back when long-time teammates Gutierrez and Zach Gault teamed up for Gutierrez’ second goal.   George Bournazian and Colin Attarian have combined for goals in United’s last three games.  Today it was Attarian feeding the ball down the left dasher boards for Bournazian  to convert and United to go up 3-1 at half.

The second half proved to be very taxing for the United defense.  Travis Knick, Mihir Shah, Martin Benitez, Ethan Sheflin, Declan Hoffman and Holland Bostrom all took turns slowing down the Ex-Rays, and despite the strong effort, the Ex-Rays rallied, tying the score at three before Gutierrez scored his third goal, this one unassisted off of a direct kick.  The Ex-Rays answered again and tied the game with under two minutes to play.  United answered again when, with less than a minute in the game, Gault fed to Bournazian for United’s fifth, and game winning goal.  The Ex-Rays kept attacking but Ty Tabb was solid in goal, thwarting any last-second goal against the United net.
United remains unbeaten (4-0) indoors and faces the Flares next Sunday.


George Bournazian, left, dribbles around an FC Cary defender. Bournazian had two assists while Colin Attarian, right, helped anchor the United defense.

United Survives FC Cary
According to the XL league Website, United came into its game with FC Cary in first place, outscoring its opponents by 30 and not giving up a single goal through league play so far.  FC Cary spent about three minutes before showing none of that fazed them, scoring to go up 1-0 early in the game.
Matt DeBella was back for United for the first time since early November and, if there was rust, he shook it off early, scoring the tying goal when Colin Attarian passed from the left backfield.  But FC Cary kept coming, scoring two more to go up 3-1 midway through the first half.
United kept clawing back, in part due to strong defensive play by Attarian, George Bournazian, Holland Bostrom and because of several saves by goalie Abdul Elmorsi. Martin Benitez passed to Nico Gutierrez to cut the lead to a single goal.  United tied it shortly after when Benitez sent it to Travis Knick for the equalizer.  DeBella scored his second goal of the afternoon when Ethan Sheflin centered the ball off of the wall and DeBella poked it in.  United went up 5-3 going into half.
It was FC Cary’s turn to claw back in the second half, scoring to cut the lead to one about five minutes into the half and then equalizing with ten minutes left to go.  That’s when United turned on the offensive pressure, leaving Attarian, Zach Gault and Sheflin back on defense, Bostrom took a pass from Bournazian to put United back up.  Benitez scored two goals to match his two assists.  The first goal came from Gutierrez and the last, with under a minute to play, put it out of reach when Bournazian crossed the ball in front of the net.
United remains unbeaten (3-0) and notches its first victory over an FC Cary team.  Previously United mustered two ties outside, but fell twice indoors.  United faces the Lazers on Sunday.

United to face FC Cary Sunday
United will put its unbeaten record on the line when it faces FC Cary Sunday at 4PM.  United has had limited success against FC Cary teams, going 0-2-2 lifetime.  The two ties were both come-from-behind efforts at U10.  The two losses were both indoors at Net Sports.  United will be without Declan Hoffman, but will welcome back Matt DeBella for his first indoor game this season.

United rides wave of strong play to down Tsunamis
From the very beginning United knew that it was in for a challenge against the SASL Tsunamis team from Sanford.  The team was fast and physical and challenged the United defense with good passing and several shots on goal.  Early on United goalie Ty Tabb made several saves to keep the Tsunamis off the scoreboard While Colin Attarian and Holland Bostrom settled down in front of net.  The game remained scoreless until United’s line of George Bournazian, Ethan Sheflin and Declan Hoffman took the court.  The Tsunamis didn’t have an answer for Sheflin, who had several shots and won the ball by running through the play, ultimately setting up Bournazian for the first goal.  Once that happened, the offense spread out and was able to get off quality shots.  Martin Benitiz passed to Nico Gutierrez for a goal.  Bournazian bounced the ball off the wall and right to Zach Gault, who poked in United’s third goal.  Gault then sent the ball to Abdul Elmorsi for United’s fourth goal and Sheflin ended the first half scoring when Elmorsi crossed the ball off the wall and in front of the net.

The Tsunamis didn’t quit and contested United for every ball.  The second half produced several scoring chances for both teams, but it was United that capitalized.  Bournazian scored when he took a pass from Mihir Shah for Bournazian’s second goal.  Gutierrez scored his second when Benitez fed him a pass down the right side of the field.  United held on for the 7-0 victory over the Tsunamis.  The players used their legs to power past the Tsunamis and also help victims of the Haiti earthquake.  The players donated one dollar for each goal that the team scored to the American Red Cross.  United is 2-0 indoors and has outscored their opponents 20-0.  The team faces FC Cary on Sunday.

To donate to the American Red Cross, click here:  Haiti Relief.

Remember them?  United eeked out a 1-0 victory over a Sanford Tsunamis team that used speed, a strong defense and trick plays at the SASL Burn Championship in November, 2008. Ty Tabb attempts to receive a ball while being swarmed by the Tsunami defense.  The two teams meet for the first time indoors on Sunday.
Declan Hoffman and United were moving at top speed against the Twisters Sunday.

Storm Warning:  United blows past Twisters
United stepped back inside for the start of the 2010 Indoor season against the Wendell Twisters at XL Soccer World and exploded for 13 straight goals in the game.
Ethan Sheflin and Zach Gault, sorely missed at the end of the 2009 outdoor season, were both back, and it didn’t take long for Gault to get involved in the scoring, notching United’s first goal less than two minutes into the game when he took a George Bournazian pass and converted.  Gault then teamed up with long-time teammate Nico Gutierrez for Gutierrez’ first goal on the afternoon.  United’s Armenian connection kicked into gear when Bournazian received a ball from Colin Attarian to score.  Gault then sent a pass to United rookie Holland Bostrom for Bostrom’s first United goal.

United continued to fire full throttle on the Twister net.  Bournazian intercepted a goal kick to score.  Attarian then drilled a Gutierrez pass for a goal. Bostrom sent the ball to United newcomer Mihir Shah for a goal.  The team rookies continued to pressure as Abdul Elmorsi scored when he dribbled in on the Twister net.  The 9-0 lead was the most goals that the team had ever scored in a single half.

In the second half the team slowed to Poison with shots and Shah scored his second goal, this time when he took a pass from Declan Hoffman.  Travis Knick scored when he took a pass from Martin Benitez.  Bostrom scored his second goal when he took a Ty Tabb pass and converted.  Gault provided the bookend goals, scoring the team’s first and last, the last coming from Benitez.

United’s offense was good, but the defense was strong as well.  The team killed off a Twister power play and United played goalie by committee, with Gault, Bournazian, Gutierrez, Attarian, Tabb, Hoffman, Elmorsi, Knick and Benitez playing in net.  The goalies made several saves, but faced the toughest shots on two direct kicks, with Kick stopping one and Attarian stopping the other at the conclusion of the game.

United (1-0) faces the Tsunamis on Sunday.



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