FRISCO, Texas – Before 11,900 fans at Pizza Hut Park stadium, Arsenal FC U-19 rallied from an early deficit to grab a 5-1 victory over the Dallas Texans in their opening Super Group clash. A trio of scorers led Arsenal to victory as Conor Henderson, Roarie Deacon, Luke Freeman, and Joshua Rees all found the back of the net. Eduardo Arana had the lone goal for the host team.
Arsenal, regarded as the favorite of the tournament, took command of the game late in the first half and never relinquished the pressure on the Texans defense. Ozyakup Oguzuhan helped lead the charge as he dictated much of the game from the midfield with one assist and contributing to another goal. Rees provided a spark off the bench with two goals late in the game.
The host team grabbed the early lead when Aranda hammered home a rebound on the doorstep in the 12th minute. Arsenal goalkeeper Emi Martinez blocked the initial shot by Jacob Speed after a floated free kick was headed back across the middle of the box, but Martinez left the rebound right in front of the goal and Aranda made no doubt about it.
Seven minutes later, Aranda nearly added another tally with a spectacular scissor kick from twelve yards out, but his shot sailed over the bar. And a minute afterward, Texans again threatened to double the lead as the speedy Caleb Richardson’s shot skimmed off the top of the crossbar.
Four minutes before half, Arsenal found the back of the net via a Henderson free kick. The midfielder hit a curving free kick from 21 yards out that took a slight touch on the way through before settling in the back of the net.
Texans nearly answered back the next minute when Clint Ritter broke through the Arsenal defense but his shot went wide of the far post. The end-to-end action continued as Arsenal’s Luke Freeman’s glancing header rolled past the wrong side of the post.
The Gunners grabbed the go-ahead goal right before the break when Oguzuhan Ozyakup slipped Roarie Deacon behind the Texans defense. Deacon slotted his shot past the keeper to give the London side the lead at half.
Texans were dealt a crushing blow to its comeback attempt early in the second half when Richardson received his second yellow card of the game and was sent to an early shower. Arsenal seized control of the play with the man advantage.
Arsenal secured a two-goal advantage in the 61st minute after Monterio headed an Ozykup corner on frame. The rebound fell to Freeman who pushed it through a Texans defender into the back of the net.
The Gunners grabbed another goal late in the game when Rees headed home a Henderson cross. Rees added one more before the end of the night when he knocked home a cross from six yards out.
Arsenal face Chorrillo FC (Panama) tomorrow while Texans will meet Club Bolivar.
Arsenal FC starting lineup:
Emiliano Martinez (McDermott ’85), Hajrovic, Boateng (CAP), Alamada-Monterio (Angha ’80), Frimpong (Rees ‘65), Deacon, Ozyakup, Henderson, Ebecilio (Webb ’80), Bihmoutine (Brisley-Hall ’46), Freeman
Dallas Texans starting lineup:
Petolick (GK), Richardson, Speed, VanCompernolle (Garnett ‘62), Francois (Haines ‘62), Douglas, Sloan, Simmmons (CAP), Aranda, Ritter, Minter
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