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MLS Champion Sporting Kansas City, Eastern Florida Men Play Spirited Soccer Scrimmage
Feb. 19, 2014 - It might have just been a preseason scrimmage between a two-year college and mainly reserves from the champions of Major League Soccer but Wednesday's game between Eastern Florida's men's soccer team and Sporting Kansas City was played with intensity.
Contesting two 30-minutes halves (soccer at this level is normally played in 45-minute halves) on a back field at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney World in Orlando the pros scored twice in the second half to defeat the kids 2-0.
The Eastern Florida men's soccer team shares a photo opportunity with players from Sporting Kansas City following a spring scrimmage against Major League Soccer's championship team.
And while teams shared postgame handshakes, pats on the back and gathered for a joint team photo in between the white lines no quarter was given nor sought.
"I'm really proud of their effort, they worked hard," Eastern Florida head coach Oliver Twelvetrees said of his team that last fall completed its inaugural season by reaching the NJCAA Division I National Championship Tournament. "Tracking back, defending, staying connected, staying as a team. We're really proud of them.
"This shows how far they have come in a year to be able to hang with a team and to be fair the first goal was just a set piece. They obviously have a lot of size on us and they won the header. The second goal we got a little tired in the end.
"Just a fantastic effort overall."
And Eastern Florida, as expected, had to battle not only their professional opposition but jitters as well.
"You could tell they were nervous," Twelvetrees said of his players. "As soon as they got the ball it was like a hot potato. But when they settled down we had a few counterattacks, had some set pieces ourselves. If we had a little more composure we might have been able to get a goal. We tested the keeper once or twice.
"It certainly was a backs-to-the-wall effort. It's what we thought. It's a professional team. It's the MLS champions. It was really a top performance for the boys at this point in the season.
"I couldn't have expected anything better."
Eastern Florida freshman midfielder Ivan Magalhaes, who achieved NJCAA Division I first-team All-America honors in the fall, took away a lesson from Wednesday.
"It was a very tough game, we practically only defended," Magalhaes said. "But the experience is unforgettable. It was a great experience to play against a professional team to see their level so we can get to it.
"Their intensity is 100 percent. They don't need to run all the time but they're always running, they have the better touch. We have a lot to learn to get to a professional level."
Sporting Kansas City is in the midst of a two-week training stop at Disney where it will play six games against a mixture of opposition from colleges to fellow MLS teams.
For more information on the Disney preseason activities visit www.sportingkc.com/preseason/2014