Magical Vegas FC provided their best performance of the season against an organised but ultimately limited White City Wanderers' team last night.
Imposing their game plan from the first minute was high on the agenda for the Vegas Boys, and it paid dividends early on when Callum Hosier released Perry Price down the right channel. Perry scampered in on goal leaving defenders in his wake before opening his body up and slotting it into the far corner.
White city responded, as you would have expected, with some solid defending and some testing long balls but the Vegas back four were excellent in the air and reading the situation with the excellent protection of Aaron Pedro. His work rate and desire to win his duels optimised the attitude the Vegas boys showed throughout the game.
A clever corner routine made it 2-0, via a bit of fortune when Price found the marauding Jacob Bond running onto the ball on the edge of the box, his fierce goal bound effort was flicked in by Tre Thompson with a delicate touch.
The game was managed excellently and some real quality was beginning to show throughout the side. Most notably when Callum Hosier drifted infield with the ball from the right hand side, knocking defenders off their feet and sidestepping attempts to tackle him. He then flicked the ball into the feet of Price 20 yards out, who stepped inside onto his left foot and curled a long range strike into the bottom corner a minute before half-time.
Vegas couldn't take it for granted when they came in at HT because they knew from their previous game this season that White City were capable of coming back into the game.
Of course a sloppy goal allowed that to happen 5 minutes after the restart when a long ball wasn't cleared in two attempts and was headed in on the rebound after a good save by the goalkeeper.
This time, the response from Vegas was emphatic. Bond surged forward onto a bouncing ball in midfield, his lifted pass bounced into the path of Hosier who calmly lobbed the goalkeeper to put vegas 3 goals ahead again.
The introduction of Kadeem Gutzmore showed the strength and depth of this team who are all fighting for places. Gutzmore had a immediate impact, first hitting the bar with a wonderful curling effort from 25 yards after nutmegging an opponent, and secondly after running from his own box with the ball at speed into the opposition final third. He slipped in Hosier - his hit was sensational. The ball flew high into the net past the despairing dive of the goalkeeper, 5-1.
Substitutions to bring fresh legs to the game after that made a impact also, Abiola Baolqun (again) was winning the ball high up the pitch and making it uncomfortable for the Wanderers' defenders with his pace, power and strength. In the 80th minute Hosier released him down the left channel when Vegas cleared a corner, he nutmegged his defender and powered towards goal from his own half. With the goalie closing him down way outside the box he struck a perfectly flighted lob over the keeper to put some added sparkle to an already powerful Vegas performance.
If the team can maintain their attitude, their willingness to work together for a shared goal and win their individual battles they will take something very strong to stop them competing for the league title in May.