Calgary Foothills FC 3, Lane United FC 2
Lane United FC lost their final match of the 2015 USL PDL season, 3-2 to Calgary Foothills FC at Hellard Field in Calgary. The Reds were the superior team for the first half-hour of the game and were rewarded by a Calgary own-goal in the 29th minute, but for the next 50 minutes they were the ones under siege as the Foothills deposited three unanswered goals in Matt Bersano’s net. Jordan Jones pulled one back for Lane United with five minutes to spare in regulation and frantic attempts to nab the equalizer ensued, but it was too little and too late by that point. The loss means the Reds finish fifth in the table for the PDL’s Northwest Division on 11 points, ahead of Washington Crossfire and the Puget Sound Gunners.
The match started briskly enough, with Lane United’s midfield of technicians — Daley Stevens, Matthias Binder and Isma Fernández, backstopped by Richy Hurtado — combining very effectively all over the field and often creating enough time and space to pick out intelligent long balls to Jordan Jones and Cristian Cataluña up front. Lane United’s best chance came after 20 minutes when Lane United broke forward after Bersano had collected a corner kick; Deion Jones at fullback picked out the unrelated Jordan Jones racing down the right channel with a long pass, but he dragged his 18-yard sidefooted attempt left of the far post. After a few more good looks forward and nearly-connecting through-balls, Lane United forced Calgary into an own goal. The central midfield patiently combined to switch play to Amer Sasivarevic on the left wing; he served up an expertly placed cross that on needed a touch from anyone to cause trouble, and Dean Northover, one of Calgary’s defenders, was the one to supply it, slicing the ball into his own net at the near post. Not long after the goal, Calgary began to show signs of getting back into the game, the most worrying being when Dominic Russo buried a header past Bersano only to have it called back for offsides. Calgary’s offense kicked into high gear for the last 10 minutes of the first half as ball after ball was whipped into the Lane United box. All efforts were cleared in one way or another, but the Reds no longer held the foothold in midfield and it seemed like halftime would provide a much-needed chance to regroup.
Instead, Calgary returned from the break in exactly the same style as they’d gone into it, aggressively attacking the Lane United box and summarily producing a goal in the 48th minute. Two substitutes, Yoann Promone and Tofa Fakunle were involved, the former finding the latter streaking forward behind the defense from the right channel. Fakunle, Bersano and a recovering Jonathan Stadler all converged on the ball at the same time around the edge of the penalty box, but apparently no one touched it as it squeezed through all three and into the net. A tickled Promone 45 yards away got credit for the goal. Calgary continued to rack up the crosses and corners — at one point they had seven corners to Lane United’s zero — and even though Lane United head coach John Galas said his team had discussed the set-piece threat specifically at halftime, Elijah Adekugbe flew in unmarked to crush a free header past Bersano from a corner kick in the 69th minute. Russo, who was engaged in acrimonious battles with Cristian de Luis and Jonathan Stadler all game, bagged a legitimate goal in the 81st minute to put the game seemingly out of reach. Promone forced an unbelievable reaction save out of Bersano from 10 yards after a kind deflection had given him an open look; unfortunately, the rebound from Bersano’s save fell right to Russo, who roofed it home to make the score 3-1. Jordan Jones scored with a header in traffic off of a long diagonal assist from Binder in the 85th minute to bring it to 3-2, whereupon the Reds actually created several good opportunities to equalize, none better than Sasivarevic volleying Cristian Couto’s cross over the bar from 15 yards with his preferred left foot. Ultimately, that would be Lane United’s last chance as Calgary held on for only their second home win of the season.
Befitting of a match that had such noticeable and long-lasting swings in momentum between the teams, John Galas afterward held mixed opinions on his team’s performance: “I’m disappointed to go out with a loss, especially the manner in which we lost, with too many mistakes and a set-piece goal right after we’d talked about their set pieces,” he said. “But on the other hand, we did play very well for the first half-hour and fought back with everything we had at the end and almost snatched the equalizer. And all in all, it’s been a hell of a second half of the season. We won five out of our last seven matches, including three in the league, and I’m pretty satisfied with that and I think the guys will hold their heads high.”