Injuries weren’t powerful enough to keep United Soccer Alliance’s 2003 boys from having a successful second weekend of Eastern Regional League play in Delaware.
Going into the weekend, USA was without three of their starters in Casey Philips, Bryce Koagel, and Caden Stafford, who all suffered injuries leading up to the slate of games.
The Predators still found a way to go undefeated in their time in Delaware. After beating SCS United Elite of Pennsylvania West 6-1 in the first game, they tied Barcelona USA MD 03B of Maryland 2-2 and then tied Delaware Football DEFC 03 Boys of Delaware 3-3.
Although losing those three players was very frustrating in the days leading up to the round, the unfortunate situation didn’t discourage USA. In fact, it made each player work harder and gave some of the players who typically come off the bench the opportunity to step up and be their absolute best.
And those bench players joined the starting lineup, where they filled in all of the cracks that existed at the start of the first game. Throughout the weekend, head coach Shannon Colton and assistant Cole Stafford would do a great job of working with what they had and doing some mixing-and-matching with their formation.
The formation changes impacted every player at one point or another.
Tyler Colton, who typically plays forward for USA, was placed on the back line and was a great defender for the Predators. He made sure that nobody dribbled passed him with ease and showed that he doesn’t get intimidated by his lack of size.
Oleska Vatamaniuk also did a great job of working to secure the defensive third of the field. Vatamaniuk also assisted Nino Pagano on the goal that he scored against Delaware Football DEFC 03 Boys.
Ethan Caruana and Carter Jackson also contributed to the efforts. In the win over SCS United Elite, Caruana had a goal and an assist and Jackson had an assist.
In the midfield, it was Cameron Stuart who was dominant. Stuart scored goals in each of the first two games and was a very good and consistent bridge between the defenders and forwards.
Nino Pagano had the goal that was assisted by Vatamaniuk and then recorded an assist of his own. His assist came in the second game and was the pass that led to the goal that was scored by his brother, Cicci Pagano.
Cicci Pagano had a total of seven goals on the weekend and had four goals and two assists in USA’s dominant performance against SCS United Elite.
Casen Stafford also picked up an assist and helped the USA 2003 make this a successful weekend that was full of games against great soccer teams.