Evolution advanced to the Foyle Shield Final today with a 4-0 win over St. James.
Evolution’s first goal was scored by Claffey after Mings sped by the left full-back and kept his cool to square a ball across the six yard box for Claffey to tap home.
EVO’s second came after Sanchez capitalized on a mix-up between defender and goalkeeper. The central defender tried to pass it back but the keeper delayed long enough Sanchez to get a shot, which then rebounded into his path off the post. “Pato” kept his cool and slotted it to Claffey, who calmly finished.
Sanchez flicked in the third after the keeper failed to deal with a cross and scored again in the second half to finish with two goals.
Evo will face the Derry Colts in the Final tomorrow at 11am Dallas time (5pm in Ireland) at Clooney Park West.
Last night, Evolution 03's took on Phoenix FC in their final group game, ending in a 4-0 win for the impressive Dublin team. Donnelly's men played their 4-2-3-1 formation, while Phoenix FC opted for an expansive 3-5-2. Both teams traded blows early, but the Dubliner's superior movement and rapid passing supplied the goals needed to unlock Evo. The Evolution players can hold their heads high as they battled against a team who boasts 13 former Kennedy Cup Selectee's before the NDSL ruled a maximum of 7 per team (they currently have 7.) Coached by recently retired professional footballer, Daire Doyle, Phoenix tested Evolution's resolve as they moved the ball with the kind of precision Evo can expect to see in Classic D1 this year.
Mings and Olatunji Hit the Woodwork
Early on, Evo had success against the aggressive back three of Phoenix, with both Claffey and Miller finding space against optimistic center-backs who seemed willingly to give them unprecedented space. Miller had several crosses early on and Claffey dribbled past his man a handful of times, but didn't get an opportunity to shoot. Olatunji hit one off the post in first half which got cleared and Mings replicated in the second half. "They were so fast, and they were constantly moving" said Harrington over his blood sausage and bacon breakfast. "I think we played well, we just played against a great team. Even if we played better, I think the other team were just really great." Stone clearly had respect for the opposition and seemed pleased to be testing himself against the best Ireland has to offer.
Evolution Enter The Shield Semi-Final
Evolution play in the Foyle Shield against St James tonight at 5pm. Donnelly is hoping his boys can step up and push for silverware with a result tonight. If Evolution wins tonight, they play either Derry Colts or Sion Swifts in the Foyle Shield Final. Stay Tuned!
The Evolution 03's suffered a painful 1-0 defeat against LetterKenny Rovers last night at the Brandywell stadium. Both teams had chances to win but a first half header was enough to give the Donegal outfit three points. The narrow loss means EVO must beat Phoenix FC this evening, if they hope to qualify for either the Foyle Plate or Rosebowl. The Dublin based sided narrowly lost to LetterKenny 2-1 in their first game.
Both teams began the game in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with both looking to use the width to gain advantage. Evolution began the brighter of the two teams, when after ten minutes Olatunji latched onto casual defending from their central defender to find himself in a 1v1 scenario against the keeper, but the keeper made an excellent dive to his right to deny Evolution an early lead. Several opportunities followed, including a ball that dropped fortuitously to Claffey in the box but he couldn't slot it past their keeper who quickly shot off his line to parry away the shot. Mings done well to redirect a corner in the first but it looped over. Letterkenny's skillful number #10 carved open Evo's defense after a stray ball dropped to his feet, leading to their winger having a easy opportunity but Bourn rocketed off his line at full speed to deny the native with a chest save. LetterKenny's goal came directly from a looping corner, which fell to a man at the back post who directed the header into the upper ninety. The best opportunity of the game came in the second half to EVO's energetic center midfielder, Harrington, who cleverly positioned himself on the edge of the box but his shot went over the bar.
Evolution's Defense Shines
The Texans kept the LetterKenny attack quiet for the majority of the game and showed their composure against powerful attack lead by their six foot five striker. "I thought our defense was phenomenal, right across the back-four. The way Tom kept their striker quiet" recalled Coach Donnelly after the game. Donnelly's game scenario drilling in the dressing room clearly sank in with the defense as they snubbed most attacks from open play. He cautioned the game decider will likely be a small margin, so everyone needed to be clear on expectations during set-pieces. No doubt Coach Donnelly was proud of his defense as they dealt with attackers who seemed to relish the physical tussles in the box. "I loved the physicalness of their strikers, I'm not used to it, but I loved it" said Ostermeier on the bus drive home. No doubt that skipper enjoyed this game as he marshaled Evo's defense throughout.
Evolution play their final group game against Phoenix Fc at 5pm GMT. Stay tuned!
Evolution opened their Foyle Cup campaign with an impressive 8-0 victory against New Buildings. Donnelly's side began the game with their usual high-press game resulting in a 6-0 going into the break. In the second half, the Texas team switched up their style from counter attacking to a possession based game and added a further two. Sanchez, Miller, Olatunji and Claffey got the goals yesterday, with Claffey scoring an impressive four including a back-heel.
"We played so high, they just couldn't get forward. Everyone pushed forward, so when they tried to pass it up. they had nobody to pass it to. We ran at them so fast" said Tyler McCollum. "In the second half, we had so much space because our backline dropped deep and we tried to draw them out. Coach Liam wanted us to possess , so we did." When asked about nerves, the central midfielder admitted that some players were nervous beforehand, but Arjun's speech got everyone "hype.' On the way to game, Tyler quizzed Arjun on what he would say in his usual pre-game speech to which he replied " I haven't prepared this one, it needs to come from the heart". When asked about the hype speech, McCollum smiled and said "I can't tell you".
Tonight's opposition are joint top of Evolutions group after beating Phoenix 2-1. Coach Donnelly expects a tough game against the local team who advanced to the All-Ireland quarter finals last weekend. The game takes place at the famous Brandywell Stadium, which was first built in 1928. The players seem relaxed as they go through final preparations at the team hotel before the 5pm GMT kick off. Hopefully their confidence and demeanor carries over to tonight's performance tonight. Stay Tuned!
Coach Liam Donnelly and his Evolution 03B side head to Ireland this week to compete in O'Neills Foyle Cup July 16-21! You can follow the team on Facebook here and see their tournament results here. Special thanks to DB Sports Tours who handled the travel arrangements for the boys!
The trip was featured recently on NBC 5 DFW by Deborah Ferguson in the "Tell Me Something Good" segment.