The Football Club of Washington, without either a name or a home field, used a load of experience to overcome the Canadian Pan American Games team, 2-1, yesterday at George Mason University.
A crowd of 2,716 saw F.C. Washington, a member of the new American Soccer League, beat a much younger Canadian team in its debut. F.C. Washington, which grew in part out of the amateur Fairfax Spartans, has several players who have been on a team together, but have had little time to prepare for the game. The Canadians practice virtually full time and are touring the United States before their appearance in the Pan Am Games in Indianapolis next month.
"I was not really surprised we won, because we have so much experience," Coach John Kerr said. "I was just worried about their fitness level."
Kerr said he made some changes to keep his team from tiring, including frequently backing off into zone defenses. He also put five players at midfield, which midfielder Mike Reynolds said threw off the Canadians.
Kerr and Reynolds said the heat and humidity might have slowed down the Canadians' British style of play. "The difference was night and day," said Reynolds, who is also a member of the MISL Baltimore Blast. "They believe in a lot longer passes to get to the goal. But in weather like this, our style works better."
Reynolds scored what turned out to be the game-winner early in the second half, with a shot off the goal's side bar, making it 2-0. F.C. Washington held a 1-0 lead into halftime after Chris Maier assisted Scott Snyder's goal with 16:30 gone. The Canadians' lone goal, by Vito Serafini, came with 13:18 left in the game.
Kerr said the game was of a caliber similar to what he expects in the ASL, which will start play next spring.
ASL Commissioner Chuck Blazer said he was pleased with the attendance, adding that he expects the team to draw slightly better once league play is started. "We intended to appeal to the suburban soccer family by playing here, and that's what we're doing," he said.
F.C. Washington's president, Gordon Bradley, said the team is negotiating to play its games at George Mason. "I think it's a great setting here," he said. "A kid can even ride his bike down here, chain it up and be back home in two hours."