VCU was searching for their first victory of the season as they hosted Hartford for a round of Friday Night Futbol under the lights at Sports Backers.
Hartford had some opening minute jitters as Mike Barry nearly headed in a VCU cross into his own net that thankfully spun outside the post. Things got worse for the visitors in less than 60 seconds when VCU’s Rafael Andrade Santos got a 1 on 1 opportunity in the 3’ vs. David MacKinnon in the box and chipped him successfully for the opening goal of the contest.
Now down 1-0, Hartford searched for an equalizer by amping up pressure and physical play. VCU was able to withstand Hartford’s attack and answered back with some physicality of their own. The officials had their hands full with all the jersey pulling, shoving and a few slide tackles gone bad. 12 fouls were called in the first 45 minutes including 4 yellow cards shown to Hartford’s Jhamie Hyde, Blake Jones and Javoni Simms and VCU’s Steven Dal Molin.
The 2nd half began with VCU looking to double their lead early. In the 49’, Ivan Sakou got into the penalty area which lead to MacKinnon rushing straight towards him but Sakou was able to get the shot by MacKinnon and it spun just inches wide of the goal as it rolled out. Dennis Castillo and Rafael Andrade Santos got more chances in the 2nd half as the search for VCU’s 2nd goal continued on.
VCU’s Pierre Gardan started in goal for the Rams and he had a great match with 4 saves tying his career high. Gardan was able to hold off Hartford’s forwards on strikes successfully including a save he made in the 54’ off Jeff Tryon’s header coming off the Hartford corner kick.
As the clock ticked down, the Hawks desperately wanted to score the equalizer. Continuing with their physical play, Hartford was hoping to get some sympathy from the officials but to no avail. Along with their defense and poor communication between players, the Hawks were soaring downhill. Fast.
In the closing moments of the match, Andri Jonasson was able to get a header near frame for Hartford that soared into the night sky and came crashing down on the top of the crossbar then bounced out of play in the 82’. Hartford once again went on the defensive as VCU regained possession and pushed the ball upfield.
VCU doubled their lead and secured their first win of the season in the 86’ thanks to Jorge Herranz. Simond Kargbo found Herranz with an assist that lead to Herranz running into the box and sending a shot pass MacKinnon and Andre Morrison sliding towards the ball. They both tried making a last ditch effort to keep the ball from going in but it was too late and it rolled in to give VCU a 2-0 victory at Sports Backers.
This win gives VCU’s Head Coach Dave Giffard his 50th career win as head coach and the Rams first win of the 2015 season.
VCU are in action on Sunday, September 13th as they host Jacksonville Sunday night. Kick-off set for 7 PM at Sports Backers.
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