Sep 29, 2009

Flames roll to 3-0 win over Howard

by Jeff Scott

The Liberty Flames men’s soccer team displayed its defensive prowess last Tuesday night, blanking Howard University 3-0. On a rainy night at Osbourne Stadium, the Flames remained crisp in their passing and execution to blow past a very physical Bison squad. Goals did not come easy at first, but Liberty found its offensive groove while keeping Howard at bay the entire match.

Liberty had an early chance to score in the 10th minute from sophomore Darren Amoo, but Howard goalkeeper Victor Thomas stretched high to punch the top shelf shot over the crossbar.

The Flames kept up the offensive pressure, and controlled the ball for a large chunk of the game. The pressure paid off, and in the 25th minute Amoo got a second chance to score, and he fired a shot past Thomas to give Liberty the lead 1-0. The goal marked Amoo’s sixth of the season and was assisted by midfielder Phillip Aseweh.

After halftime, the Flames came out even more aggressive, matching the physical play of Howard, but with more controlled ball movement. Alex Verville scored the second goal of the contest off a nicely curved pass from midfielder Juan Guzman from outside the 18-yard box. Verville netted the goal in the lower right hand corner at the 56th minute mark and put even more pressure on Howard to score.

Less than five minutes later sophomore midfielder Timothy Bullock scored on a cross pass from Amoo to put the Flames up 3-0. Bullock’s third goal of the season helped seal the deal for Liberty, who relied on its defense to close out the game.

The Flames out shot the Bisons 14-4, a stat that is a testament to Liberty’s dominant defensive play. Goalie Andrew Madero made one save and recorded his fourth shutout of the season. Thomas made seven saves for the Bison.

Coach Jeff Alder was pleased with his team’s execution even in the less than desirable conditions.

“We felt if we could move the ball, and move off the ball, we could create some mismatches and hopefully get behind them,” Alder said.

“I thought we did a very good job, especially in the wet conditions, of really moving the ball and changing the point of attack. Our guys were very good at getting the ball down and playing (it).”

Alder also credited not only the midfielder attack for the win, but also the accurate passing and corner kicking of the team.

“Tonight we had some very good runs from our forward and our attacking mids,” Alder explained. “But I think our service was very good. But we had a very good game against Radford. We created some chances. We knew the goals were coming, we just had to keep at it, and really tonight our passing and the balls we played through were just spot on perfect.”

The win moved the Flames record to 4-1-1 on the season.
Liberty’s next match was scheduled for Friday night against the defending Big South Champion Winthrop Eagles, but unfortunately due to excessive rain in the Lynchburg area, the game was postponed. For now, the Flames must wait for the make-up date (Oct. 31 at Osbourne Stadium) for their chance to prove themselves against the defending champs.

Alder said his squad is definitely up for the challenge.

“Winthrop is the team to beat,” Alder said. “They won the title last year, so our guys are really excited about matching up with the best in our conference to see how we stand.”

Contact Jeff Scott at jdscott@liberty.edu.
 


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