10-man FC Harrington grinds out first Roja League win

Matchday two of the Roja League Invierno saw a doubleheader at FORO Sports Club in North Dallas. Things began with FC Harrington and Premier Legends each looking to get a first win on the board.

Premier Legends

Premier Legends had a thrilling 4-4- draw on opening day against Innocentes, with Juan Salas scoring all four for Innocentes.

The FC Dallas 01 Premier alumni team featured a lot of familiar names for FCD fans with Michael Collodi in goal. Julian Hinjosa and Dalton Reyna at fullback, with Eric Romero and Judson Burns at center back.

Alan Velasco, Nick Wanzer, and Byron Aguilar make up the midfield three.

Jaden Servania, coming of an impressive debut season in the USL Championship with Birmingham Legion, started on the left wing opposite Orlando Castro, with Jose Ortiz upfront.

FC Harrington

FC Harrington XI, December 5, 2020.

UPSL side, FC Harrington lost a tight game with Denton Diablos in week one. They lined up with Carson Williams in goal.

Unfortunately, the left back in the number 13 jersey isn’t on the roster. Sam Alvarado at right back, and a pairing of Talen Maples and Adrian Renteria in the middle.

Paul Gorish lined up alongside North Texas SC’s Kevin Bonilla in central midfield behind Javier Solis.

Luis Zuazua and Joseph Garcia flanked Ivan Soriano in the attack.

The Game

It only took 90 seconds to see a theme emerging for the 6 pm kick-off with Premier Legends doing everything to get the ball onto the feet of Jaden Servania, and FC Harrington playing disruptor with Adrian Renteria hauling for former Puerto Rican U-20 down.

Harrington had the first chance of the game as Premier Legends lacked an answer for their pace upfront. Luis Zuazua raced down the left with Ivan Soriano coming out wide in support. An attempted clearance fell to Zuazua’s feet with the winger attempting to curl the ball inside the keeper’s far post, but he could only watch it go narrowly wide.

Premier Legends thought they had the lead briefly in the 10th minute through Jose Ortiz, but the striker was ruled offside.

Kevin Bonilla had a quiet first half but should have put Premier Legends on the board in the opening quarter-hour as he raced on to a ball over the top out of midfield. With Michael Collodi off his line, Bonilla attempted to lob his former FC Dallas club mate but a rushed finish fell harmlessly wide.

Bonilla_20201205_roja_
FC Harrington midfielder Kevin Bonilla chips the ball in the first half of the Roja League match against Premier Legends. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

Jaden Servania began to really factor into the game as the half progressed. Firstly, a loose ball in the FC Harrington box is punched towards Servania with the 19-year-old forcing a wonderful save off a half-volley.

Then back to the early theme as Harrington was forced to play a man down for the second half after Byron Aguilar earned a second yellow card minutes before the break. Aguilar clipped Servania who had run clear down the wing. He’d picked up a yellow card just ten minutes prior for going through the back of Servania close at the corner of the 18-yard box.

Coming into the second half, FC Harrington had to impose themselves early with the disadvantage, and did just that with a 47th minute goal.

Joseph Garcia delivered a free kick from out wide on the left. Judson Burns was flattened challenging for a header. It wasn’t immediately clear who scored but Premier Legends cleared up what happened on the play.

Suddenly the man advantage all but disappeared with confidence in FC Harrington playing quick one-touch football after the goal. Premier Legends seemed to further diminish after Dalton Reyna was carried off following another bad foul.

Premier Legends were finding a lot of shots from distance, but few close efforts. Shortly after the hour, Reed Berry looked to be heading through on goal from a ball over the top. Both center backs appeared to sandwich Berry on the edge of the area to a loud appeal from the Premier Legends Bench.

Harrington almost had an opening to increase their lead. Collodi misplaced a pass straight to FCH’s Leo Hernandez but before the substitute could shoot for the empty net, he was taken down by Esteban Ramirez who was only too happy to take the yellow card to save the goal.

Harrington again looked like stretching the lead in the 83rd minute as Joseph Garcia – who was man of the match by far – played DJ Williams through on goal. Nick Wanzer recovered to make a great last-ditch challenge and force Williams wide, where Collodi came off his line to close down any angle and quell the danger.

Premier Legends has an impressive roster, but FC Harrington’s team play was more than they could handle. In moments where Legends needed to keep the ball and move forward late on, there would be an errant flick or a dummy in the final third that fell harmlessly back to a Harrington player, where a simple check pass can open space.

Matchday Three

FC Harrington will fancy their chances next Saturday in Fort Worth against Irving FC, while Premier Legends travel to Denton to face the league-leading Estudiantes on the back of two games where a strong position let slip.

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