Rocket City United travelled to Knoxville, TN to open the 2011 season with a 2-0 win over new National Premiere Soccer League team the Knoxville Force. Forward AndrewNkurunungi scored both goals in quick succession at the end of the first half.
The match was spirited, if not pretty, with both teams getting shots on goal throughout the first half. RCU tallied more shots on goal, while the Force squandered a few open chances.
The breakthrough came in the 43rd minute, when a long throw from Jason Sabio found Knoxville goalkeeper ConorHurley boxed in. The ball fell to Andrew Nkurunungi who managed an overhead shot while falling to the ground. Nkurunungi was able to capitalize again when, less than two minutes later, a long ball from Jacob Letsholo found him running forward. Nkurunungi beat two defenders to find space to chip the ball over the oncoming goalkeeper.
Knoxville were never able to quote recover from the quick double at the end of the first half. They continued to find good chances in the second half but could not convert them. Tired legs began to show as the team trailing by two goals managed very little pressure when RCU had possession.
"It was a very competitive game," said Knoxville coach Derek Broadley after the game. "The first goal was always going to be key…as the head coach I'm not happy with the result but I'm happy with the game."
RCU head coach Gerry Cleary was obviously happy with the win, but what also wary of growing complacent before the two teams' second meeting next weekend. "It's always difficult to play the same team back to back," he said. "They'll be a very different team next week and we need to be prepared for that."
The Knoxville Force comes to Madison City Schools Stadium on Saturday, May 14th, for Rocket City United's home opener.