NORTHRIDGE, California – Santa Clarita Storm were held to a goalless draw against Valley United in El Clasico and their (UPSL) United Premier Soccer League season opener for the regular season today.
Coach Oscar Moreno and his men continued their lackadaisical approach to the start of games giving up six corner kicks in the first 15 minutes of play before waking up and seizing control of the match. Valley United keeper (0-0-1, 1 point) and x-Storm Keeper Casey Phillips kept his composure to make a few brilliant saves that keep the Storm from what seem like odds-on chances to score.
The Storm (0-0-1, 1 point) had a goal called back for offside when it appeared good adding to the list of many questionable calls by the referees against the Storm. Brett Croft Storm striker was close to earning the victory for the Storm after having a few good chances at scoring but was unable to convert. In the 40th minute Croft was called for a yellow card after a play at the end line was called against him and he yelled “Are you kidding me, how did you make that call?” at the sidelined judge who responded by halting the action to have the referee enforce what he deemed dissent.
The refs quickly followed Croft’s card up with another foul called against the Storm in the 42nd minute as a yellow card was issued to Anthony Armbuster after a collision in the middle of the field. The cards did not come back to haunt the Storm however seemed to wake them up as it appeared only Croft had come to play up until that point.
Croft seem to feed emotion into the Storm getting fired up leading to the Storm having many chances but just barley missing getting the one goal it could have took to open the season with three points instead of one for the draw.
As the second half began to wind down Valley United had one chance of only two that just went over the top of the net that would have scored if only a half ball lower. Surprisingly Storm keeper Kyle Cunningham had the complete opposite game as Phillips not having his best performance to open the season, with miscommunication with his defenders almost leading to an own goal and a few sloppy kicks that landed out of bounds.
The Storm defenders were able to keep Valley United’s striker Tristan Korras probably the fastest player on the field in check as Scott Landon and Juan Camacho played him close making sure one or both had him covered. As the clock winded down the Storm made a tactical change letting them release adding more attack opportunities that did not materialize.
The teams will face off again AUG 9 at Golden Valley High School with kickoff set for 5:15 p.m. PST.