Chase Delisle of Dos Equis FC, climbs the ladder to make a no-nonsense defesive header in a match versus FC GNP, which GNP won 3-0 on Sunday afternoon. Herald photo by Gary Pearson
--PRINCE ALBERT-- FC GNP made the most of their opportunities during their clash with Dos Equis FC yesterday afternoon at Kinsmen Field, which GNP won 3-0 under intense, sweltering heat.
"You could tell everyone was a step behind today," said Dos Equis' midfielder Justin Boychuk.
The 23-year-old said his team had a cooler full of ice on the sidelines to cope with the scorching sun.
The on-field battle was much closer than the final score indicated, as Dos Equis peppered Phillip Smith in GNP's goal. With some help from the woodwork, Smith stood tall, making a multitude of key saves along the way.
GNP was first to threaten, when Jake Glass' free kick found Justin Derkach, who was off balance and couldn't keep the header down.
Dos Equis, with some lovely possession, answered the bell minutes later, but Chris Wilson got too much loft on his header, which ended up not troubling Smith.
Dos Equis looked a handy unit, though, and Wilson continued to put pressure on GNP's back line.
Later in the first half, Dos Equis' Mike Koob lashed the ball inches wide while his team enjoyed a spell of inspiring soccer.
Dos Equis looked sharp on the defensive side of the ball as well. Bart De Marie showed superb anticipation to break up GNP's possession, which led to Mathieu Leblond scurrying down the sideline only to see his attempted cross spin into touch.
Two minutes later, Dos Equis had a glorious chance take the lead, but Justin Pytlak couldn't finish from an acute angle.
GNP drew first blood in the 24th minute from a deadly free kick. Ian Harris' pinpoint precision from the byline put the ball on a platter for Glass, whose header went off the upright and in.
"It was all about the pass," said Glass, who is more renowned for his robust tackles on the defensive side of the ball.
The back-and-forth match was easy on the eye, and GNP's creator of the first goal almost scored a beauty from an improbable angle. Harris started the move in midfield with a searching cross-pitch pass. He sprinted into the box to get on the end of the cross, which he pelted onto the crossbar. Harris looked to the sky in disbelief, but took solace in GNP's 1-0 halftime lead.
Though Dos Equis had the lions' share of play in the second half, GNP extended their lead. Landon Beuckert was in perfect position at the back post to nod home after a scramble in the area, which left Jon Horn - Dos Equis' keeper - stranded.
Smith was called upon throughout the match, and bar one or two minor blips, was man of the match material. He sprawled to his left to make an emphatic save on Larry Bocian, whose attempt was headed for the top corner.
Derkach sealed GNP's victory on a piece of individual brilliance. He beat two defenders with a deft touch and drove the ball past Horn, who had no chance to save his team's blushes.
Throughout the match, Dos Equis played some inventive stuff and deserved better than being on the wrong side of a 3-0 final.
"We had lots of chances," said Boychuk. "We hit some crossbars and they capitalized."
That, unfortunately for Dos Equis, sums soccer up. GNP was incisive in front of goal, which they will need as playoffs approach. With the win, GNP is now four points up on Dos Equis, and depending on AS Roma's result, stand atop the table.
You can follow Gary Pearson on Twitter: @newagejourno