Birmingham (3-2-1) scored twice in the game’s first six minutes. From the start of the match, Burroughs’ defense seemed a step slow and had trouble orienting itself to the Patriots’ well-oiled, possession-oriented, fast-paced attack. When the Indians did halt the onrush, the Patriots’ forwards were aggressive in pressuring the Indians’ balkline.
“Our whole goal was to was to win on the opposing team’s third [of the field],” Patriot Coach E.B. Madha said. “We wanted to win the ball. That’s what we did and that’s why we got two quick goals because we finally started putting pressure up top.”
This tactic did directly lead to Birmingham’s first goal, which came in the game’s third minute. After one of the Burroughs central defenders failed to clear the ball, Patriot Rodrigo Nino pounced on the ball and blasted a shot across the goal and past goalkeeper Jessy Castellon.
Birmingham quickly stoked the early lead, adding a second goal in the sixth minute when Jonathan Hinjosa scored on an assist from Bryan Hernandez. The play was set up by short passing, allowing Birmingham to keep possession as it methodically moved down the field before Hernandez fed Hinjosa, who blasted a shot that deflected off an Indian defender and past the keeper.
“I think our balkline needs to step it up a bit,” Kodama said. “We had a little bit of a gap and they took advantage of it right in front of our backs to score two from outside. We’ll fix that. It’s early in the season. All new back line, four new guys.”