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Royals Rise to the Occasion Behind Jackson Brace

Happy Rock Park (Gladstone MO) was the location for the weekend's table-topping title fight as the Norsemen of Northland FC (16 pts, 8 games played) took on the Royals of Woodland FC (12 pts, 5 games played). Both teams knew coming in that this match was going to have massive implications on the remainder of the season.

It was a swelteringly hot and humid day on the north side of Kansas City, but both teams readied themselves for the challenge ahead of them. Northland FC donned their iconic teal/grey kits, while the Royals wore their away white/blue kits.

{ Kickoff }

The Royals stormed out of the gate with good possession creating chances from the opening whistle. With temperatures approaching 90 degrees, Coach Harris was eager to make the most of the opening half with measured play that was based on strong possession.

{ '5 }

After creating a turnover in midfield, Erik Calderon stormed down the left sideline, played a low cross over the top of the penalty box to Brett Jackson. Jackson controlled, cut back on his left, and fired a low shot that Northland keeper Jeremy Skinner was unable to keep out of the goal. It was Jackson's first goal of the season.

"I told Brett before the match that it was about time he started scoring. He's been the victim of crossbars, uprights, and great saves. It wasn't for lack of trying. Glad he got off the schnide," Coach Harris said after the match.

{ '10 }

Northland played short out of the back from a goal kick, and thanks to good pressure from Jackson, forced an errant pass from Skinner. Spencer Bone pressured the pass out in midfield. Chandler Givler was able to pounce on the loose ball, break into the penalty box, and square it to Jackson who defly chipped it over the despairing Skinner for the 2-0 lead.

Woodland was bolstered by the arrival of new Royal Greg Fiorentino who played an excellent match from left-back. His teamwork with the midfield combo of Calderon and Bone, as well as Andersson Obando was a massive boost to the squad's depth.

Northland was able to muster only a handful of half chances as Johnathan Young and Derrick Carson protected Luke Heaton all day.

{ '41 }

The Royals were eager to get a decisive 3rd goal before halftime, and were rewarded when Michael Okiring created a turnover on the right wing, played the ball to Joseph Caughron. Caughron played an excellent through-ball to Givler who squared it to the on-rushing Okiring who was in prime position to tap it in and extend the lead.

{ Halftime}

{ '46 }

Woodland came out of the blocks strong once again, earning an early corner kick on the right side. Givler stood over the dead ball and swung in a high cross that Spence Jean-Baptiste rose highest for. He headed it home to give the Royals the 4-0 lead.

Northland would continue to be stymied throughout the match, finding the Woodland defense difficult to break down.

{ '71 }

Just before the water break, Andersson Obando was able to win an advantageous position in the opponent's penalty box where he was hacked down by the Northland defense. Referee pointed to the spot for the PK.

Gage Pemberton stepped up to the spot, but Skinner was equal to the task for an excellent save.

{ '87 }

The Royals would put the exclamation point on this match with a well worked goal that began on the left wing with Givler and Caughron, worked across midfield through Bone, onto the right wing to Haddon DeMoure. DeMoure would lay it off to the cutting Bone who curled a right-footed shot past the diving Skinner for the solid 5-0 score and win.

This win puts the Royals at 15 pts after 6 games played. Northland sits at 16 pts after 9 games played. The Royals' next match is at Southside FC in Grandview MO, Friday June 14th at 6PM. Southside stands at 15 pts after 7 games played. This match will have massive title implications down the stretch. Southside's only loss this season came to Woodland FC on match day 1.

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