Albion Pros are coming off a 3-1 road win against NPSL Southwest Conference contender North County Battalion. Last week’s win meant that Albion Pros took sole possession of first place in the division. Saturday April 23 host Corinthians USA, another expansion team in the 2016 Southwest Conference at Mission Bay Stadium, 5pm. Corinthians USA have strong ties back to Brazilian super-club Corinthians Paulista, even having former World Cup winner Edmilson visit their training sessions.
While Albion Pros have hit the ground running with three wins out of three games and only one goal conceded, Corinthians USA have struggled to get things going. Corinthians USA have tied (FC Hasental) and lost (Deportivo Coras) in league play so far and have only scored one goal this season. On paper Albion Pros should be considered favorites to win. However, games are not played on paper, and this will surely be an entertaining match with thousands of fans in attendance, including a great number of San Diego college students.
[quote_box_center]Preparation is key as they always say. We have a tremendous coach (Ziggy Korytoski) who prides himself on preparation and preparing on what’s to come. We want to get our 12 points to continue the season undefeated. – Matt Clare[/quote_box_center]
- D – Fence, D – Fence
Albion Pros have the stingiest defense in the league, having only conceded one goal all season, to NC Battalion. Albion tend to close down spaces very quickly, and are led by the experienced play of Captain Luke Staats, San Diego Socker’s defender Jeff Hughes and goalkeeper Jean Antoine. However, this week the defense will be facing a few questions with the injury of stellar centerback Ricky McKenzie. McKenzie limped off in the first half of last week’s game against NC Battalion and hasn’t been able to be medically cleared in time. Will Albion Pros shift the back line around and introduce a new outside back? Or will there be a like for like swap?
- Albion Pros Midfield
Attacking midfielder Matt Clare has scored two goals in the last two games and will be looking to extend that streak vs Corinthians USA. Last week’s Man of the Match and National Player of the week nominee Felipe Liborio loves to score in front of the home crowd. He scored Albion Pros’ first ever goal in an exhibition match vs NPSL playoff team Real San Jose in front of a reported 2200 people. Liborio also scored the first in the NPSL Home Opener vs Temecula FC.
Albion will be looking for Liborio’s attacking energy, pace and ability cover ground defensively to be the difference maker. Finally, Albion will have to replace the defensive grit and passion that defensive midfielder Luis Cardona brought to every game. He will be serving a suspension for a red card he earned in the previous game. Cardona also took a majority of the set pieces, a quality that will be missed by the Albion Pros. Coach Ziggy will have to plan to optimize the contributions of Clare and Liborio, while minimizing the effect of losing Cardona for this NPSL game.
- College Night
Albion Pros play their home games in the heart of San Diego’s college nightlife. Mission Bay High School, located just one mile from Pacific Beach’s trendiest nightlife hotspots, is ideally suited to host thousands of college students. With admission being only $3 for College students with an ID, there should be a great number of college students in attendance. Located just minutes from major universities San Diego State, University of San Diego, UC San Diego and a handful of junior colleges, the atmosphere should be rocking. Albion Pros’ official supporters group the Deep End will be leading chants, waving flags and will be banging the drums all night long, spurring San Diego’s soccer team to victory as the loud 12th man.
Follow Albion Pros on social media at @AlbionSCPros or learn more at albionscpros.com.
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