Early red card leaves Upper Dublin short-handed in loss to Plymouth Whitemarsh

UPPER DUBLIN – Contests can get a little lopsided at times in the Suburban One League American Conference ranks.

Take Tuesday afternoon, for instance, when Plymouth Whitemarsh visited Upper Dublin in a boys soccer league bout.

The Colonials blanked the Cardinals, 5-0, as UD was hamstrung by a red card in the 10th minute and played practically the entire game with just 10.

PW (12-2, 10-1) looked the better of the two early on in the game, as Alex Bilodeau and Co. dialed up pressure that the Cards (5-6-2, 5-5-1) couldn’t contain.

Just two minutes into the game PW was awarded the first of three consecutive corner kicks — the third being the charm.

David Reina took the set piece and whipped in a cross that nearly found the back of the net off a Bilodeau header, but deflected away by the Upper Dublin defense.

On the ensuing corner again Bilodeau found space for a header that bounced Dante Pransati’s way before an effort ricocheted off another Cardinal for, you guessed it, another corner.

But give a team like the Colonials enough chances on goal and they won’t be denied for long.

Reina kicked the ball on frame once more, but this time Bilodeau bulged the back of the net for a 1-0 lead four minutes in.

Then, in the 10th minute, a red card to the Cardinals changed the complexion of the game for both teams.

It all started again on a set piece from the corner flag as Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Austin Betterly connected on the cross with a shot on frame.

UD defender Jamie Wheatley sprawled out in an effort to clear the ball, but the whistle was blown for a hand ball and Wheatley was shown a red card.

“There’s not a lot to say,’ UD head coach Rick Schmidt said. “Losing a player so early against a team as good as PW basically ended the game as a competition.’

Since the hand ball occurred in the box, the Colonials were awarded a penalty kick and a chance to add insult to injury.

Bilodeau stepped up to the spot, but clanged his effort off the left post.

“We just took it to them the first five minutes and set the tone with three corners early, a PK,’ PW head coach Devon Landgraff said. “The guys just had an energy … And I think we just came ready to play.

“Fortunately, some cards were dished out and they went a man down and we capitalized and kept the momentum going.’

But it wouldn’t be long before PW pounced on the Cardinals for its second goal.

In the 16th minute Bilodeau played Betterly into space, who fired a shot at UD goalie Thomas Juelke. Juelke managed to get a hand on the ball, but Domonic Wlodarczyk was waiting for a rebound on the far post to make it 2-0.

In the 36th minute the Colonials continued their success on set pieces, thanks in large part to Dillon Johnson’s throw-ins.

Johnson cannoned a throw from the sideline, equivalent to that of a corner, and Cam Johnson climbed the ladder and scored on a header for a 3-0 lead at halftime.

“PW was absolutely fantastic from set pieces,’ Schmidt said. “The throws and the corners are so difficult to defend and we tried to set out to try to nullify that by not giving away cheap throw-ins.’

UD stood strong in the second half — trying to hold off its rival from inflicting further damage — with the Colonials getting on the score sheet again with goals in the 73rd and 76th minutes by Wlodarczyk and Oliver Palmides, respectively.

Frustration set in for the Cardinals in the 76th minute, when Peter Nysch was booked for a challenge and thereafter shown another yellow and ejected from the game when he lashed back at the officiating.

Still, being down a player for almost the entirety of the game in league play, the Cards never faltered with their competitive spirit.

“I was pleased with the way at halftime we reorganized a little and put them under pressure as much as we could,’ Schmidt said. “Considering that we lost five-nil, I’m not too downhearted.

“Games like this either make you or break you, and I think that this is actually going to bring us together more as a team. “We feel that we were harsh done by some of the refereeing decisions — I’m sure if you ask their coaches they will say the same thing — but you know we’ll use that to try and bring us together.’

As for the Colonials, it was important to pick up such a decisive win after falling to a Wissahickon squad that is just one game back from the first-place Colonials in conference standings.

“I think unfortunately some athletes get complacent,’ Landgraff said of his team’s performance against the Trojans last week, a 3-0 loss. “We reevaluated after the Wiss game about our strengths, weaknesses, what our goals are … We regrouped and guys got some rest.

“This is a big victory, (Upper Dublin) is a talented team. We’re really happy with this win and we’re moving forward.

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