Villa tops Carpathia for first PLA East win

Auburn Hills, MI—Toledo Villa FC, behind two goals from captain Oliver Verdult, motored past Carpathia FC Wednesday night at Avondale High School to record the franchise’s first Premier League of America (PLA) win and move their overall record to 2-2-1 and their PLA East mark to 1-2-1.

After a somewhat back-and-forth opening few minutes, Villa appeared to settle into a rhythm and by the 12 minute mark applied constant pressure on the Carpathia FC goal. By the 14 minute, they had won several throw-ins deep in the opposition’s half of the field. Robert Miller III’s long throw-ins proved dangerous throughout the match and were instrumental in winning the corner kick that lead to the 18th minute opening goal, a scramble in front of goal which forced the Carpathia keeper to make several saves. In the end, though, Verdult,  the opportunistic  Villa captain, pounced on a loose ball and poked it in for the game’s first goal.

Villa didn’t stop there. They continued to push numbers into the attack and find ways to create chances. In the 38th minute player-coach Ryan McDonald recovered a loose ball around the top of his own penalty area, turned and laced a 40-yard driven pass in front of an-already-running-full-speed Miller III who needed only two touches to both beat the keeper and tuck the ball in the back of the net to push the lead to 2-0.

After the break, Carpathia did mount a few opportunities. The best in the 65th minute when Villa found themselves exposed and Tevin Gilkes dealt with a 2 v 1 in his own third of the field. Gilkes forced the cross field pass and goalkeeper Billy Spink covered the distance between the posts to tip the Carpathia shot over the net for a corner kick and preserve the clean sheet.

In the 68th minute, Villa was awarded a free kick when Hamid Shariff was dragged down at the top of the Carpathia penalty area. The ensuing free kick from 22 yards by Miller III was spilled by the Carpathia keeper and Verdult was there to neatly tuck the ball away and put the match beyond reach for Carpathia.

Coach Edwards was happy with the result and the effort, saying, “[The game] was a little scrappy at times, but I credit our guys with finding a way to win. A great three points for us. We had a little bit more intensity—we were able to put our bodies on the line a little bit more and win some of those tackles, and we were rewarded with a few goals.”

Next up for Villa is a friendly match at 11am on Saturday vs the Columbus Crew U23s, to be played at Ohio Wesleyan University’s stadium field. They return to PLA action on June 17th when they take on Grand Rapids Ole SC at East Grand Rapids High School at 7pm.

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