MASL Treats Fans to an Action-Packed International Challenge Game

by Jim Fossell

St. Charles, MO (June 16, 2017) – Soccer fans were treated to an abundant display of talent as some of the best players in the Major Arena Soccer League squared off in a “USA versus the World” International Challenge exhibition game Saturday night at the Family Arena. That talent didn’t disappoint, as fans were treated to a 22-goal scorefest.

Team USA got on the board first when Taylor Bond put a shot past Team World goalkeeper Marcel Feenstra at 5:15 of the first quarter. Lucas Rodriguez made it 2-0 for the US team on a restart pass from Kansas City Comet teammate John Sosa just 16 seconds into the second quarter. Team World answered when Robert Renaud beat USA goalkeeper Piotr Sliwa at 1:21. The US squad would regain their two-goal lead just over a minute later (2:45) on a Gordy Gurson goal. Gurson’s coach and Cedar Rapids Rampage teammate Hewerton answered for the World side at 3:36 to reduce the US lead to one (3-2). The USA team roared back with the next two goals, Bond’s second of the contest at 10:58 and Rodgriguez’s second tally of the night at 13:48. Jonatan Santos scored for the World team in the last minute of the half (14:27) to make the score 5-3 at the halftime break.

The red, white and blue team opened up a five-point lead (8-3) with the first three goals of the second half. Gordy Gurson got his second tally of the night, unassisted, at 1:34 of the third quarter, followed by Alex Megson (3:01) and Bond’s third at 3:22. The World team certainly wasn’t finished, as they stormed back with six in a row. Ian Bennett scored a pair (3:39 and 7:40), Santos posted his second (8:22), Marcio Leite scored at 10:28, Santos completed the hat trick at 13:52 to send the teams into the final stanza with the score knotted at eight.

Bennett started the scoring in the fourth quarter with his third of the night to give the World side a 9-8 lead at 3:25. Matt Clare scored the equalizer for the US at 3:57 and that swung the momentum to the US team for the rest of the game. Megson tallied his second at 4:28 then Bond posted his fourth at 11:10 to give the US a 11-9 lead.

With the USA team holding a two-goal lead, the World squad put Hewerton in as the sixth attacker, only to have Uzi Tayou score an empty-netter to give the US a 12-9 advantage at 11:52. Lucas Rodriguez completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal at 14:44 and it would close the book on the game, giving the USA squad a 13-9 win.

Although this was an exhibition match, no one told these players, who went at it with the passion and ferocity of a playoff contest, much to the delight of the assembled crowd in St. Charles, Missouri.