Doxa Italia vs LA Misioneros – 10/05/13
On a warm October evening at the Village field in Manhattan Beach, Doxa Italia played host to CSL debutants LA Misioneros.
As the youth game finished just prior to Doxa and Misioneros taking the field, many families decided to stick around and catch the action between the two top-level amateur clubs.
The pregame chatter filled the sidelines and warm-up about the comfort and sleek look of the new Adidas F50 socks supplied by Todofut.com.
The Doxa starting line-up welcomed back Ryan Purtell to anchor the center of defense along side Nas Koubouras. Joe Cartlidge and Justin Valashinas secured the flanks in front of Justin Commins in goal to complete the solid defensive quintet.
The match started with a bang, the pace was frenetic and Doxa enjoyed several smooth series of possession. Spectators were rarely allowed a glance away from the action as one-touch passes strung together throughout the Doxa squad created some fantastic opportunities for the home side.
The show the fans stuck around to watch certainly didn’t disappoint.
With chippy play infecting the match from the opening whistle, Doxa opted to play quickly to avoid getting caught in possession and negate the physical challenges early on.
However, Doxa never really developed a comfortable rhythm, as there were several incidents that came into question behind the play that lit the fuse to ignite the match into a chippy foul-fest that detracted from the quality of what could have been a very technical and tactical chess match of football by both sides.
Nearing the 25th minute of the match, a misplayed long ball by the Misioneros defense was cut out and collected by Doxa midfielder, Diego Turoldo who took the ball out of the air on his chest. With a couple of touches toward goal, Turoldo found himself in a pocket of space around 25 yards out, he peeked up at the goal keeper, refocused on the ball and struck a screamer that dipped just under the crossbar for the opening goal of the match. Surely the finish will collect votes as a candidate for goal of the season.
Doxa went straight back to work after going ahead 1-0 with more broken periods of possession, as everyone was eager to get a touch on the ball in attempt to keep the Misioneros chasing the game.
Doxa’s defensive organization from the front lines to the back has seen improvement under the recent guidance of coach Corey Prost, and Misioneros worked tirelessly to carve out a clear cut opportunity in the first half but failed to give Doxa goalkeeper, Justin Commins any work to do in the opening 45 minutes of play.
Doxa came out of halftime energized to build on their 1-0 lead.
The only change in the side from the first half line-up was Doxa’s creative attacking-midfielder, Steve Chirgwin exited the match with abdominal pain.
Mike Piechota slotted into the right side of midfield, pushing Turoldo further inside the center midfield.
Doxa began the second half positively and continued to press forward against the young Misioneros side.
Doxa’s brace came through around the 56th minute when some quick and precise build up found the ball at midfielder, Devin Toohey’s feet. Toohey threaded a brilliant ball forward to front-runner, Matt Upton. Upton’s touch got caught under his feet and he instinctively back heeled the ball into the path of midfielder Ricardo Figueroa who tucked in his second goal in as many games.
Much of Misioneros quality and success had come through the right side of midfield in the first half. Misioneros made some adjustments and got the ball in more advanced positions throughout the second half.
After whipping in some dangerous crosses and making Doxa’s backline work hard to keep the clean sheet intact, Nas Koubouras was forced into a sliding challenge to tackle away the ball from a Misioneros forward who found himself open on the back post, ball at his feet with Doxa goalkeeper, Justin Commins stranded on the near post.
Koubouras slid and cleared the ball off the Misioneros forward but possession was awarded back to Misioneros for a corner kick and Doxa’s focus was tested as they were forced to clear the corner from the back post while protesting to the referee.
Around the 65th minute, the fireworks lit off as the center referee failed to diffuse the bomb that had a burning fuse from early in the first half, despite instruction from his assistant referee on the near side.
An extremely late and reckless challenge, not the first one from the Misioneros player, caught Justin Valashinas in a painful tackle to his ankle. Similarly to the shenanigans from the first half involving Joe Cartlidge and this same Misioneros player, shoves were exchanged.
When the dust settled, Misioneros were reduced down to 10 players after a second caution was issued to the Misioneros offender. And to the shock and dismay of many observers, players, and coaches; Doxa was also reduced to 10 players after the referee determined Valashinas’ reaction deserving of a red card.
The match continued, however with the game clearly out of the referee’s control, several “chippy” fouls disrupted the flow of the remaining 25 minutes.
Doxa held onto the 2-0 lead and have now posted 180 minutes without allowing a goal against two quality opponents.
25th minute – Diego Turoldo (Unassisted)
56th minute – Ricardo Figueroa (Matt Upton)
1. Justin Commins
2. Joe Cartlidge
3. Nas Koubouras
4. Ryan Purtell
5. Justin Valashinas
6. Diego Turoldo
7. Ricardo Figueroa
8. Devin Toohey
9. Kyle Holland
10. Steve Chirgwin
11. Matt Upton
Mike Piechota, Greg Piechota, Gabe Valencia, Richie Million, Pete Hazdovac, Pinder Nijjar, Danny Helbert, Nissa Hatifie, Spencer Shortland, Noah Rothstein
No! That’s Ryan Purtell, who was wrongfully whistled for a foul on the play in which he received this lovely accent to his tattoo.