Match Review | #VBvNVU
Virginia Beach City FC (5-1-4, 19 pts.) 1 vs. 1 Northern Virginia United (6-2-1, 20 pts.)
2022 NPSL Regular Season
July 9, 2022 – Powhatan Field, Norfolk, VA
If there was ever a tie that felt like a loss, this one would be that. Virginia Beach City FC capped the 2022 regular season with a draw at home against bitter rivals Northern Virginia United. VB City FC needed a win to host the semi’s finals at home but alas, the boys were unable to finish the match off. They will now bounce back on Wednesday, July 13th against the same NoVA squad that spoiled the party tonight.
The first half saw both teams looking for the first breakthrough as hard as possible. For a while it looked like Virginia Beach City FC was going to have the best of the chances. In the 12th minute, the home team was awarded a free kick just outside the 18 yard box. It was 6-foot Forward Mikael Ndjoli standing over it and had the shot gone in, it would have been an internet breaker. The shot curled up and over the wall and narrowly missed the upper 90, zipping wide. At the 25 yard mark, a Northern Virginia United attacker, Carter Berg, picked up the ball at the half field line and barreled through the Virginia Beach City FC midfield and unleashing a shot at CJ Coulson who stood firm to perry it way. Mika Ndjoli picked up a pass from Sheriff Secka. He wound up a shot and ripped a ball at NVU keeper Altan Murray who could only punch it away to safety. 29 minutes in, Mikael Ndjoli danced on the ball in front of Northern Virginia defenders and sped off for a break on goal, drawing a foul from a late defender. Sheriff Secka stood over it this time, having at it over the wall but just dipping down and into a cradling Goalkeeper. In the 31st, Virginia Beach City FC were linking up beautifully. They had just finished a 10 pass consecutive sequence before a defender knocked it out for a throw-in on their first contact with the ball. A long throw put in by Puerto Rico international Eli Carr to Albritton, to Idornigie, to Ndjoli, to Idornigie who quick checks to Rutkauskas, back to Carr, to Liam Moore out wide. James Madison University’s Moore swung a cross across field just a little too far for Joel Albritton who tracked it down with a sliding save to keep it in play. The ball found soon-to-be Virginia Military Institute defender Arnold Rutkauskas 26 yards out from goal. Rutkauskas lifted his head and saw his opportunity; the curling shot at goal was collected by Murray. The 19 pass build-up play all came crashing down. Another 16 minutes went buy with not much else to report on headed into half-time.
The second half eventually began and it was NVU putting points on the board first. On the back half of a counterattack, NoVA sent a ball into the box from the right wing. The ball hit a diving Alexander Moody in the head, who was trying to clear the play for Virginia Beach City FC, skips through back post for Carter Berg who tapped it in near post for the lead in the 52nd. But just a few minutes later it was Mikael Ndjoli leveling it for his particular shade of blue. The play began with Liam Moore high pressing for the ball at midfield and forcing the turnover. Moore slotted the pass for Secka down the sideline who took it down to the touch. Secka found his new friend in Mikael Ndjoli in the middle of the box for the game tying goal. This marks Mika’s fourth goal in as many games. The match quieted down from there after as it was actually Northern Virginia who regained the momentum shortly after the tying goal. As the game drew on, Virginia Beach City FC’s ability to keep possession broke down. After a long half of unsuccessful longballs, silly fouls, and incomplete passes, it was looking done for the Trident Boys. One last opportunity for Virginia Beach City FC in stoppage time would have the VB faithful hoping for a last minute stunner. Sheriff Secka brought down a failed clearance and shimmied and shook to find a way out of pressure before finding Ryan Mahon who passed off to Carr; who was swallowed up by a tackle, pushing the ball out to Albritton. Albritton used his footwork to avoid two synchronous takles and barged forward with the ball. Dodging a defender, Albritton carried on before being American Football style tackled; preventing a possible goal. It was a free kick for Virginia Beach City FC in stoppage time, just outside the right 18 yard box. Ndjoli and Albritton stood over the ball. Ndjoli pushed the ball in front of Albritton who cracked a shot into the crowd of players. The rebound was guided out of bounds and that was pretty much it. Virginia Beach City FC drew, but it felt like a loss.
Because Virginia Beach City FC couldn’t get the win, they will be forced to play on the road at the same Northern Virginia United on Wednesday. Regular Season Champions Alexandria Reds will play FC Frederick. The winners of both matches will continue to the Conference Final on Saturday, July 16th.
Prince Idornigie returned to the line-up for the first time since June 24th against Alexandria Reds.
Star Forward Mikael Ndjoli scored at home for two straight weeks. Ndjoli (who joined on June 24th) is now good for 4 goals in as many games with VB City FC.
Coulson, Rutkauskas, Moody, Bremus, Moore, Carr, Albritton, Secka, and Ndjoli all put in 90 minutes of play.