WELLINGTON Fl- The Palm Beach Pumas beat the Bradenton Academics in their home opener on Saturday at International Polo Club. Forward Mike Mattson (University of Central Florida) scored the winning goal in the 73rd minute off an assist from Pavel Cancura (Asst. Coach Palm Beach Atlantic Universtity).
Ben Ward (NC State) Attacks the Ball
International Polo Grounds
Stephen Hogan Beats Defender
After a scoreless first half, Bradenton (1-2) just missed two chances early in the second half when a header off a corner kick hit the far post.
Palm Beach Forward Jesse Mankowski, who had just before missed two scoring opportunities, scored in the game’s 62nd minute on an unassisted goal to give the Pumas (2-1) a 1-0 lead. After a breakdown from the Pumas left side, Hunter West tied the game for Bradenton in the 70th minute with a goal off an assist from Matt Dillman.
After a sluggish first half in the heat, the play became more entertaining after half-time. The Pumas played with more discipline and organization, that improved the passing game in which the Pumas controlled possession the second half. This created more opportunities at goal for the Pumas. Both teams had chances to score.
The Pumas back four and the center midfield did a solid job dictating the game. Palm Beach got solid performances from midfielders Joey McGuire, Stephen Hogan, Carl Sheard. Defenders Adam Parker and Justin Roberts who endured the heat for 90 minutes proved to be the glue of the team. “We are very happy to have 6 points early in the season but we know our level of play will rise as we improve our fitness.” said Coach Bobby Lennon. Pumas Captain Adam Parker added, “We are very upbeat and all players are on the same page, we know we have to play as a unit to continue to have success.”
The Pumas next home game will be at Saturday May 27th at 5pm. against the Raleigh Elite at Village Park in Wellington.