Wednesday, June 27, 2007

AC Milan Primavera in Eugene

AC Milan Primavera's visit to Oregon didn't stop in the Rose City. Following their felling by the mighty mighty Timbers on June 19, the Italian lads headed down south to Eugene for a match against a team of young local players assembled by the Eugene Metro FĂștbol Club. Now, when you think of Eugene--provided you are not going "Who?"--perhaps you think of runners or anarchist revolts, but Eugene is also home to a thriving community of soccer enthusiasts. And according to Evon Smith, president of the Eugene Metro FĂștbol Club--and one of several Eugene residents whose hard work made the friendly possible--they turned out in droves and did their part to show the Italians that yes, a growing population of US-ians does love and "get" soccer. In her words:

Brilliant night. Pape field was packed, and the game was excellent. We had the whole show... cute little kids holding hands with the players as they paraded on to the field, anthems, lots of cheers for both teams. AC scored a highlight goal in the first half, just an amazing one touch strike outside the 18 yard line into the upper left corner. Unbelievable! Eugene Metro had the Italians on their heels in the first ten minutes. I could see AC did not expect this level of play, and so they stepped it up and began to play with heart. Both teams had the same quick passing game with lots of creative runs out of the back and from the wide mids. In the second half you could see AC Milan's fitness and professionalism. They returned to the field prepared to raise the game, and the Eugene Metro Select players had to work very hard to keep up. We almost tied it up with a great crossing shot from the 16-year old guest player Raul Yepez (being scouted by AC Milan) to Leland Wright (former South Eugene player, now at U-Portland). AC Milan put away a garbage goal near the end of the game and won 2-0. The crowd loved it, and everyone agreed it was an inspired night of soccer.

Nice work at arranging these friendlies and hosting this U-21 team, Oregonians! It was a fantastic week for soccer in this state.

No comments: