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ATOMS CLINCH PLAYOFFS!
Late goal gives Philly 3:2 win over Virginia




October 28, 2017

Glenside, PA – On Saturday, the Philadelphia Atoms closed out their home campaign as they hosted Virginia FC, a solid expansion team in the American Soccer League.

Although Virginia came into Pennsylvania looking for its first win, the visitors, donned in pink kits, have played competitively in most of their matches, much like the Atoms.

For some reason, the hosts came out a bit flat for the second straight game and Virginia welcomed the soft pressure as they set up shop primarily in the Atoms’ end of the field. Since Philly’s last match, way back on September 30th, Virginia had played three matches. Conversely, in that same amount of time, the Atoms have had minimal training and no games, which may well be the reason for Philly’s lack of early form.

With fit bodies and better pace, the possession clearly favored the visitors. Philly managed little more than a few counter attacks along the right flank, but crosses skated through the VA box and slid through harmlessly with no connection on the back end of the passes.

Virginia’s consistent pressure paid off as they jumped out to an early lead when a long strike from 25-yards out beat the home side keeper, Joe Lubonski. The 1:0 score line didn’t last that long. In the 29th minute Uche Onyeador finished off a fantastic one-touch pass by Josh Cirocco to equalize the match at one goal a piece.

In past matches, the Atoms had allowed quick responses by opponents after a goal, but not on this night. The back four of Alex Kardos, Tim DiBisceglie, Serigne Drame and Frank Palumbo kept VAFC off the board for the rest of the half. And the half could have finished quietly until the referee’s whistle, but after 45 minutes, Uche Onyeador scored his second of the match in extra time by collecting a scrapper and slotting it into the back netting. Uche’s brace gave Philadelphia its first lead of the match at the half.

The second half revealed end-to-end action as both teams generated a lot of offense and quality shots. But the keepers and defense held. Assistant referees wore out their flags with all of the offsides infractions that had to be called.

Unfortunately for the Atoms, midfielder Rich Stone was whistled for a foul in the box at the hour mark leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Virginia converted their chance and the game was level once again at two goals each.

Over the next 28 minutes and with time running out, all things pointed to each team leaving Lenox field with a point from a 2:2 tie. But in the 89th minute Yusef Humza kept his scoring streak alive by planting a loose ball into the goal, sending the Atoms’ players and sparse supporting section into delirium. Humza has now scored in his last five matches dating back to April 29th.

At the restart, the fourth official signaled for two-minutes of injury time, and for the last few minutes of the match, the referee dealt less with soccer action and more with high emotions as a few cards were shown and one VAFC player was ejected for dissent. Eventually, his whistle ended the match as the scoreboard read, “Atoms 3 – VAFC 2”.

The dramatic win over Virginia FC leaves the Philadelphia Atoms with a 2-2 record at home this fall, an upward tick from the 2-3 home mark from last spring’s season. With an overall 4-5 record at Lenox, it’s clear that there’s no place like home for the Atoms as their road record to date is 0-4-1 for the year. Hopefully our boys in blue and earn a win on the road as they travel to Boston next Saturday for a rematch with Mass United. Philly lost to the riders of Massachusetts by a score of 2:3 back on September 30th. The difference being a penalty kick which decided the match.

Man of the Match: Uche Onyeador.
 

 
 
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