Atholton goalkeeper Josh Seidman iced down his right elbow, sat back on the grass and savored his team's 1-0 victory at Oakland Mills yesterday. He had reason to be proud.
Seidman played the game of his life against the Scorpions, making 10 saves, many off difficult dead-ball situations.
"I've never seen Josh play that well before," Atholton coach Reg Hahne said. "He definitely was the game's most valuable player."
Oakland Mills coach Don Shea was astounded that his fifth-ranked team failed to score, especially in the first 10 minutes of the game, and later on when it dominated much of the second half offensively.
"In the first 10 minutes of the second half, we hit the post three straight times," Shea said.
Fourth-ranked Atholton's game plan was to limit Oakland Mills' throw-ins and corner kicks, and it worked relatively well in the first half but not so well in the second.
The Scorpions outshot Atholton 9-4 in the second half and 13-9 for the game. Eight of those second-half shots were off dead-ball situations.
"Our strategy was to put two players at each post on dead balls," Atholton sweeper Kevin Pryse said. "And that saved about four goals. We normally only put one on each post."
The players handling post coverage were Brian Yankle, Jake Grether, Eric Black and Jon Wright.
The game's only goal came 16 minutes into the second half.
Atholton midfielder Derek Phillips, who was outstanding in the air, initiated a give-and-go passing run with striker Jeff May down the left sideline into the corner. May crossed the ball to Atholton teammate Damian Kapcala.
Oakland Mills' Kevin Brown had a chance to clear the cross, but Kapcala stripped him. Jay Holmes intercepted a dribble and also had a chance to clear it, but kicked it into Kapcala's chest.
The ball bounced back to Oakland Mills' Andre Jones, who attempted to pass back to goalkeeper Jason Kranefeld. But Jones' pass went right and the keeper went left, and the ball went straight to Atholton's Tim Whitcome waiting unguarded two feet outside the goal. He tapped it in.
Thirty minutes into the second half, Atholton (5-0-1, 1-0) had a chance to clinch the victory, but Phillips missed on two penalty kicks.