MATTHEWS – The Los Angeles Force took advantage of a slow Stumptown AC start to its home opener at the Matthews Sportsplex on May 12 and held off a late flurry for a 1-0 National Independent Soccer Association win.
Stumptown AC allowed the Force to maintain possession on its side of the field for the first 20 minutes of the first half. Force defender Joshua Culewell took a pass from Abraham Villon and fired a shot past a Stumptown defender with the keeper out of position in the 12th minute, which proved to be the difference.
Despite giving away several unforced errors and some disjointed play early in the first half, Stumptown AC coach Rod Underwood was pleased overall with the effort of his team.
“I don’t feel like we were quite ready to start the game,” he said. “We had a bad start in Maryland and we were able to overcome it, but we weren’t able to overcome this one. But I still thought we played well from about 25 minutes on and at the end of the game we dominated the game, so that’s encouraging.”
Stumptown definitely turned up the intensity after intermission and put several balls on the Force’s keeper in the second half. Forward Molley Kieh Karpeh Jr. had a few great looks at goal including an open-net opportunity that he created, but his shot missed just wide left.
Reserve defender Bay Kurtz, the hero of Stumptown’s first-ever win April 22 against New Amsterdam, provided a big spark when he entered the game late. He set up Stumptown’s best chance of the game with a cross in the 88th minute, but it was well-defended by the Force.
With Stumptown also losing to New Amsterdam FC 1-0 on May 14, their record drops to 1-4-1 with a home match against the Cal United Strikers FC looming on the horizon for May 22.
But for Underwood, his team is right where they need to be despite some missed chances against the Force.
“We had some missed opportunities, but you know what the reality is? I still feel good about where we’re at," Underwood said. "Let’s be honest, we had three games in Chattanooga and so this is our fifth game. I literally arrived here about March 20 and so I haven’t been here for two months. And I didn’t get my team together until a week before we went to Chattanooga, so to play this football is good. We’re still a work in progress.