Real Maryland 1- George Mason 0
March 22, 2008, Fairfax, VA- An early Nilson Perez goal was all Real Maryland needed as the Monarchs (1-0-1) notched their first win of the Preseason.
George Mason started the match applying high pressure and forced the first two corners of the game. Despite the close marking, Real Maryland looked very comfortable on the ball, quickly settled into their possession game and found the back of the net with their first genuine chance.
A neat combination play sent defender Stephen Basso free down the left flank. Basso squared the ball across the box to Perez who calmly slotted home from close range.
The Monarchs continued to attack and Perez was almost on the score-sheet again. A well measured cross by winger Muner Hassen looked to put Perez alone in front of goal, but the ball fell just beyond the forward’s outstretched foot.
Despite a very compact midfield and a solid Monarch back line, George Mason continued to attack and midway through the first half, the Patriots fashioned their best chance of the match. Good combination play between Fro Adu and Axel Levry released Levry for a shot at the top of the box, but the former U-17 National team player could not get his effort on target.
Soon after, the Monarchs were back on the attack when Perez’s diagonal run took him to the wing. The Columbian received the ball with his back to goal, brilliantly turned his marker, and fired a cross which just missed the head of Ronald Cerritos who was flying in at the back post.
Real Maryland started the second half brightly and almost scored what would have been a carbon copy of their first goal. This time Cerritos broke down the left flank and squared the ball behind the George Mason back four. Perez ran onto it and flicked the ball past the onrushing Patriots keeper, but a GMU defender heroically cleared the ball off the line.
The Monarchs continued to dominate the game with Dennis Alas and Ronaldo Cerritos controlling the midfield, but the Monarchs were unable to put away any more chances as the game ended 1-0.
Despite the lack of goals, coach Silvino Gonzalo was happy with his team’s performance, “I saw a lot of good things that we’ve been working on come to the surface today,” Gonzalo said after the game. “I feel good because the players are growing in confidence and we’re starting to look like a team and I am very happy with today’s workout.”
Gonzalo admitted there are things to work on, but nothing that can’t easily be fixed and he is confident the kinks will be worked out by April 20th.
Midfielder Dennis Alas echoed his coach’s sentiments, “We are still meshing as a team, but for a new group we are playing well together and little by little we are starting to get the idea.”
Real Maryland will continue its preseason training this week followed by a Saturday afternoon exhibition match with American University. Continue to check this space for more details and information on next week’s friendly.
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