By Anthony Mannino
The success of the Austin Aztex was due to the high pressure that the squad was able to put on the Texas Dutch Lions. Something that stood out was the pressure poured on by the Aztex from minute one to the 90th minute. The attacking players from Austin’s (4-2-3-1) never stopped harassing the Dutch Lions. This allowed the Aztex to win the ball higher up the field and stifled the opposing team’s opportunity to earn possession. The Aztex defense didn’t have much to deal with because of the pressure, and the Dutch Lions managed only one shot on goal, which came in the 84th minute after being up 4-0.
When Dalglish was named the coach of the Aztex he promised to play a beautiful brand of attacking soccer; against the Dutch Lions that came to fruition. This isn’t a team that is just going to grind out results, but rather will try to win and look good doing it. Attackers have freedom to express themselves and fullbacks are told to push up the pitch. The Aztex possessed the ball for long spells to create scoring chances, and threatened quickly if the opportunity presented itself. William Morse was able to spray passes to wide players – Zack Pope and Chuy Cortes – who had no problem beating the defense. It was soccer played the way it is supposed to be – with pace and possession – leading the Aztex to a 4-0 win.
The Aztex Star?
The 17-year-old Gambian striker was a joy to watch in the first game. It was unknown if Kekuta Manneh would be able to when he stepped on the bus in Austin, but once the team arrived in the Woodlands he was cleared to play. On the pitch, it was clear to see why Dalglish and David Markley wanted Manneh on the team. He is a special player who is a genius on the pitch can create something out of nothing. After coming on as a sub early in the second half, Manneh scored a special goal in the 81st minute. After a few step-overs three Dutch Lions players, who tried in vain to stop him, were laying on the pitch. Manneh wrapped the game up with the Aztex fourth goal, which had one member of the stands saying “si goalaso.” The brilliance of Manneh is something to look forward to the rest of the year as he’s a proven goal scorer with 56 goals in 39 Development Academy games.