Set Piece goal scored by Castro is the Deciding Factor in Sporting FC’s Win
Written by: Atif Bhatti
An ever-so opportunistic goal from Avimael Castro was just enough to give Sporting a 1-0 win over their rivals, Inter United FC.
Tukwila — The game to determine who would advance to the finals in the Northwest conference’s U.S. Open Qualification bracket wasn’t quite as pretty as anyone would have hoped, but Seattle Sporting FC fans, players, and management certainly are not complaining.
Avimael Castro, who played for just the opening 27 minutes of the game before leaving due to a lower leg injury, seized the moment when he scored the game-winning goal in the 13th minute to give his team the narrow, hard-fought win over the home team in Inter United FC on Sunday.
Castro’s goal came on a free kick that was assisted by Raymundo Pelayo, who sent a high, bouncing ball from near mid-field into the 18 yard box. As Castro was chasing down the ball, he caught Inter United’s goalkeeper well of his line and he tipped the ball over the goalkeeper for the lone goal of the game.
With the exception of Castro’s goal, this match was to be remembered primarily for the physicality and rough play between the two rival teams. The two teams totaled for just over 20 fouls with only one booking issued, which was a yellow card to an Inter United FC player.
Despite the physical and sometimes even sloppy play, there was no shortage of chances, especially for the away team. Sporting got off 12 shots, with four of them being on target, and had forced ten corner kicks. It is obvious that Sporting was the team who seemed to be in attack mode more often than Inter United, as they were also called offside seven times.
Contrary to Sporting, Inter United FC had only four shots with one of theme going on target and they drew just one corner kick. In addition to these surprising stats, Inter United FC was caught offside just once.
But the matched physical play of Inter United FC is what kept this rivalry game so close.
The best chance Inter United had at tying the game came in the closing seconds of the game, when Inter United was on the counter attack and fired a shot just a foot wide of the goal post.
In an interview after the game, Sporting FC head coach Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar stated “the most important thing is getting the win; it’s about moving on to the next round.”
Sporting FC veteran player Patrick Davidson added on “This game was a great chance to continue gelling as a team and be even better in the following games.”
The next stop for Sporting is in Portland, Oregon, as they will take on Spartans FC on March 13th at 7:30pm, who earned home-field advantage in their 6-0 thumping of SO Samba. The winner of this game will represent the Northwest conference and head to California where they will face the Oakland Aguillitos who won the Golden Gate conference and will be just one more win away from a spot in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup!