The Southern West Virginia King's Warriors played the United Soccer League's Pro Division Charlotte Eagles in a "friendly" Monday night at the East River Soccer Complex and came away with a 3-1 victory.
The King's Warriors got goals from Jeremy Payne, Jorge Mackenna and Sam Blackman, and a complete-game performance in goal by Alex Guyer who made his first start of the season for Southern West Virginia. Tyrone Hall scored the lone goal for the Eagles.
King's Warriors Head Coach Scott Reitnour was able to use 20 players in the "friendly" against Charlotte as the substitution rules were relaxed "We were thrilled to be able to go that deep into our roster and get them experience against an outstanding organization in a game at the next level," Reitnour said.
The King's Warriors scored first on a beautiful cross by Gideon Asante in the 32nd minute. Payne, playing in his first game for Southern West Virginia, settled the cross off of his chest and then buried the ball by Charlotte Eagles starting goalkeeper Doug Herrick and the King's Warriors led 1-0.
Payne, who recently joined the King's Warriors after a returning from a missions' trip in South America, talked about his first action with the team. "It felt good just to be able to go out there with the guys," he said. "I've only trained with them three times so just being thrown out there I was a little bit nervous. I thought it went well and some good things happened." Payne helped lead Messiah College to the NCAA Div III National Championship this past fall.
Charlotte countered in the 43th minute as Tyrone Hall had a solid individual effort to put it into the Eagles goal from just inside the box and the game was tied at 1-1
With one minute remaining in the first half, Southern West Virginia took the lead as a ball was sent into the Eagles' box. The ball deflected off of Herrick and landed on the foot of Mackenna, who easily knocked the ball into the open net to give the King's Warriors a 2-1 advantage at the half.
At the start of the second half Southern West Virginia subbed in nine new players to give everyone on the team some pitch time in this friendly. The second-team Warriors held their own against Charlotte, and even scored an insurance goal late on a tally by Blackman to ice the victory.
Guyer went the entire way in goal for the King's Warriors while Herrick and Kyle Renfro split time in net for Charlotte. To be fair the Eagles did not bring many of its' first teamers to the match, as they also wanted to see what some of their second-line players could do.
Charlotte coach Mark Steffens talked about a few Southern West Virginia player he thought could play at the USL pro level. "Gideon Asante and Itode Fubara tried out for us and we liked them a lot," said Steffens. "I think they both can play at the next level."