Doxa moved 6 points clear at the top of the CSL on Saturday night, with an important 4-0 win over PSA Elite. The game at Manhattan Beach provided plenty of entertainment, but an unfortunate ending.
This game was a long awaited match-up between the two Cal South giants. With the over-hyped Cal FC struggling to adapt to the Coast League, it is once again a two horse race for the top spot. With Doxa and PSA making the USASA National Finals the past two years (Doxa in 2011 and PSA in 2012) and both teams being undefeated in the current season, it was going to be a battle.
The match started off with Doxa controlling the play for the first 20 min. No real attempts on goal but possession belonged to Doxa. PSA adjusted and was in control for the next 20 min with some youthful energy and some sloppy Doxa passing/giveaways. The end of the half saw Doxa with two said chances only to be denied by the excellent goalkeeping by the PSA Keeper. First making a brilliant save of a Devin Toohey header and immediately followed by a Bryan Byrne blast saved at point blank range.
End of first half nil-nil.
The 2nd began with a flurry of both sides trying to take control of the game. A combination play at midfield created a run up the right wing, with Bryan Byrne making a dash to the end line and serving a cross that after being flicked on by a Devin Toohey fell to the awaiting mustached, Argentine, “I just had a baby”, E-double D-IE that’s the way we spell Eddie Pinto side volleyed home the first goal.
Not too long after was a bad judgment from a PSA defender that saw a take down in the box. Steve “White Pele” Chirgwin fought off 10 other Doxa players for the PK and calmly mishit his normally upper 90 smash into the lower right side netting, giving Doxa a two-nil advantage.
Now it became the Bryan Byrne show…Goal of the match: Byrne took advantage of a PSA mistake at midfield which saw a ball from Steve Chirgwin end up at the streaking Bryan Byrne (though a streaking Bryan Byrne is awesome we will never visually know what that really means). Byrne raced up the midfield and CRUSHED a bender into the upper 90. BRILLIANT GOAL. Shortly after, an amazing show of receiving a ball from Nas Koubourus and making a run to the end line, saw Byrne alone in the box with the PSA Keeper only to see Byrne show that keepers belong in a Box, he smashed in a lefty and slot home the 4th Doxa goal.
PSA fell apart after that with a defender throwing an elbow in a dodgy tackle that resulted in a straight red card.
It was about self preservation after that. But with a little less than 5 minutes left to play, a PSA defender went in a little too hard for a 50/50 ball and saw him land awkwardly on his wrist. Calls for 911 were called out and the final whistle blew. No matter how we shout, scream or simply laugh at each other on the pitch, no one ever likes to see another player sustain such an unfortunate injury. All at Doxa want to wish Azeez a full and speedy recovery.
On a final note, big shout out to the large crowd that showed up for the game – your support is always appreciated!
#1 – Eddie Pinto (Devin Toohey, Bryan Byrne)
#2 – Steve Chirwin (Eddie Pinto)
#3 – Bryan Byrne (Nas Koubourus)
#4 – Bryan Byrne (Steve Chirwin)
1. Aaron Perez
2. Ryan Purtell
3. Nas Koubourus
4. Devin Toohey
5. Eric Meister
6. Eddie Pinto
7. Joe Cartlidge
8. Ilia Nazarov
9. Bryan Byrne
10. Steve Chirgwin
11. Ryan Taylor
12. Pete Hazdovac
13. Ricky Figueroa
14. Miguel Alvarez
15. Sean Lockhart
16. Justin Commins
17. Justin Valashinas
18. Kyle Holland
19. Nissa Hatifie