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City Stars Fall 2-1 to Vancouver in Final Game of Season

September 19, 2009 - USL First Division (USL-1) - Cleveland City Stars News Release

BURNABY, B.C., Canada - The Cleveland City Stars fell 2-1 to Vancouver in the final game of the season after a penalty kick gave the Whitecaps the lead in the 73rd minute. Forward Teteh Bangura scored the City Stars only goal in the 45th minute to tie the game going into the half.

Vancouver dominated the beginning of the match, aggressively attacking the City Stars goal. The effort paid off in the 11th minute when forward Marcus Haber played a cross in the box to fellow forward Charles Gbeke. The poorly marked Gbeke put a well-placed header into the back of the City Stars net to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead early in the game.

The Whitecaps almost had a repeat performance in the 14th minute when Haber again found Gbeke in open in the Cleveland box. Gbeke's shot forced goalkeeper Evan Bush into a diving save that deflected the ball out of bounds for a corner kick the Whitecaps were unable to capitalize on.

The City Stars retaliated in the 17th minute when midfielder Ryan Stewart earned a free kick just wide of the Vancouver box. Stewart's kick almost reached his teammates in the box but goalkeeper Jay Nolly managed to leap and palm the ball to safety out of bounds.

Neither team gained ground until the 43rd minute when City Stars midfielder Leo Gibson took a long-range shot from 25 yards out. The ball sailed high of the goal, but the chance motivated the Cleveland squad. Just two minutes later forward Teteh Bangura saved a pass from midfielder Jason Hotchkin just a yard from the end line to launch it into the roof of the Vancouver net, evening the score at 1-1.

Bangura started the second half off strong for the City Stars with a breakaway in the 49th minute. He was forced outside by the Vancouver defense and although he managed to cut back inside his shot was blocked by Nolly. City Stars defender Anthony Stovall made his contribution the same minute with a long range shot that forced Nolly into a diving save.

Nolly was diving again in the 50th minute when Stewart received a beautiful ball from a Hotchkin throw-in and placed a hard shot on goal. Forward Kolby LaCrone got involved in the 54th minute, passing an expert cross to Hotchkin whose shot once again forced Nolly into a diving save at the near post.

After high long-range shots from Ryan Stewart and Warren Kanu in the 57th and 58th minutes the pace of the game changed. Vancouver pressured the City Stars goal and earned a penalty kick after a Whitecaps shot slammed into the arm of defender Ibrahim Kante who was unable to get out of the way. Marlon Jones sliced the ball into the lower corner of the City Stars goal to give the Whitecaps a 2-1 lead.

The 85th minute saw a glimmer of hope for Cleveland when Hotchkin found an opening in the Vancouver defense. The midfielder rocketed a shot that looked like an equalizer before Nolly managed to get his fingertips on the ball to nudge it over the crossbar.

Vancouver forward Edwini-Bonsu had the perfect opportunity to make the score 3-1 with a breakaway in the 90th minute. With just Bush in front of him, Edwini-Bonsu made a sloppy cut outside before falling and misdirecting the ball across the face of the goal. It was the last chance for either side, and the game ended with a disappointing 2-1 result in favor of the Whitecaps in the final game of the season for the City Stars.

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