Clarets High Five at the Buena Vista High
Many bleary eyed Clarets this morning are just getting out of bed (including yours truly) after staying up into the early hours of the morning to listen to an audio broadcast of the first match of Burnley's US Tour against PDL side, Ventura County Fusion.
Well done though to our own Darren Bentley and Danny Page of 'Broadcasting for Home Field Sports' for the joint entertaining commentary last night and for managing to keep us all awake.
The match played on the Buena Vista High campus turned out to be a bit of a stroll for the Clarets and in an impressive performance (especially in the first half) we came out worthy 5-0 winners with five different players getting on the score sheet.
Coyle gave Burnley debuts to new boys, Richard Eckersley and Brian Easton and there was an unnamed trialist in the team. We were not supposed to know who he was, but unbeknown to the commentary team, they left a microphone on and revealed his name thinking they were off air. However we shall maintain the mystery and not give the game away but if you have read our articles recently on Vital Burnley you will be able to make an educated guess, especially since he played on the wing.
Martin Paterson was rested for this match after picking up a tight hamstring in training.
Burnley lined up as follows for the first half:
Jensen, Eckersley, Duff, Edgar, Easton, McCann, Gudjonsson, Eagles, A.Trialist, Thompson, Fletcher
Subs: Penny, Jordan, Kalvenes, Carlisle, Caldwell, Mears, Alexander, McDonald, van der Schaaf, Elliott, Blake, Rodriguez
The Clarets seemed bamboozled by the Astroturf pitch and the American Football gridline markings on the pitch in the first few minutes of the game with Ventura County Fusion looking the most likely to score in an impressive opening display. VC Fusion midfielder, Danny Berrera thumped a 20-yard volley in the fifth minute only to be denied by Jensen. A lively looking Eckersley got in a late tackle soon after to deny Artur Aghasyan. It was Aghasyan again moments later that seemed certain to score with his shot with the ball heading towards the top corner of the net. However, Jensen came to the rescue to brilliantly save with one hand. With 10 minutes on the clock, Anthony Hamilton then beat the offside trap but Jensen again managed to get a glove to his shot to once more deny the home side taking an early lead. Clarets fans back home were now beginning to question the wisdom of staying up to 3am to listen to this match fearing a slightly embarrassing defeat at this stage but we didn`t have long to wait until normal service was resumed.
In virtually our first attack of the match, we found ourselves 1-0 up after 14 minutes. Chris Eagles laid off a pass to find Chris McCann. Shaking off a defender McCann got in a shot from 20 yards out and the ball whizzed into the bottom corner of the net.
It was as though that goal against the run of play knocked the stuffing out of VC Fusion and lifted Burnley to greater things. It was now going to be the Clarets that would dominate virtually the rest of the game.
Our impressive looking trialist (shall we call him A. Newman?) went on a good run to cross into the six-yard box only for a defender to clear the danger but with the Clarets now pressing and VC Fusion on the back foot, it was not long before we doubled our lead.
Steven Fletcher on 26 minutes went on a run and found some space on the left. With the keeper charging out, he simply squared the ball to Eagles who slotted home from just eight yards out.
With half-time approaching on 41 minutes, Burnley`s A. Newman then impressed again running past three defenders before being brought down in the penalty area. Our normal penalty taker, Alexander was not playing so who would take it? We soon had our answer as Fletcher coolly placed the ball on the penalty spot, ran up and sent Fusion keeper Hill the wrong way to make it 3-0.
VC Fusion were now being completely outplayed but to their credit they never gave up and they gave Jensen another scare just before the whistle went for the end of the half. Aghasyan found he was clear as he ran past the defence but his shot once more was well saved by 'The Beast`
So that was it, 3-0 to the Clarets at half-time with the visitors looking in complete control.
The inevitable changes were made for the start of the second half with both sides bringing on new faces.
The Clarets made four changes with Diego Penny replacing Jensen in goal, Jordan coming on for Edgar, McDonald taking over from McCann and Rodriguez now partnering Fletcher up front instead of Thompson.
The changes to be honest seemed to disrupt our flow from the first half and the second half was not as entertaining but the Clarets could now cruise to victory without breaking sweat as the domination continued.
In the 56th minute, Gudjonsson tried one of his rocket specials from distance only to see the shot turned away for a corner. His curling shot, from the corner, was then saved by the keeper
On the hour mark, Coyle made some further changes bringing on van der Schaaf for Gudjonsson and Blake for Eagles. Steven Fletcher was also replaced after picking up a tight hamstring with Wembley goal hero, Wade Elliott coming to on to keep our US commentator, Danny happy!
A Newman playing a one-two with Blake then saw his shot clip the outside of the far post but the two combined again 60 seconds later to better effect. This time Blake`s cross found A. Newman who headed home to put the Clarets 4-0 up after 69 minutes.
The match was now truly becoming an exhibition game, with Premier League Burnley turning on a display. The Clarets then made it a nap, with most listeners back home in the UK already napping or hoping their matchsticks would hold out. On 81 minutes, Eckersley after a nice one-two with Elliott ran to the by-line to cross the ball. McDonald was ideally placed to shoot underneath the diving keeper and make it 5-0.
Hopefully the impressive display by Burnley thrilled the home crowd despite the thumping and gave them a flavour of what Premier League football was all about. It was certainly credit to them that over 3300 turned up to watch this match. Perhaps the only surprising thing about the tactics in this game was that Coyle did not bring on a number of his players, including Captain Caldwell, Carlisle Alexander and Mears. Perhaps he is saving them for our next match on the US Tour against Portland Timbers in Oregon on Saturday.
Don`t forget if you wimped out of listening to this match in the early hours of the morning today, you can download the archived commentary in mp3 format by going to www.HomeFieldSports.com and you can watch some of the highlights on the You Tube video below
Burnley (first half): Jensen, Eckersley, Duff, Edgar, Easton, Trialist, McCann, Gudjonsson, Eagles, Thompson, Fletcher.
Burnley (second half): Penny, Eckersley, Jordan, Duff, Easton, Eagles (Blake 61), K McDonald, Gudjonsson (van der Schaaf 60), Trialist, Fletcher (Elliott 61), Rodriguez
Subs: Alexander, Kalvenes, Carlisle, Caldwell, Mears
VC Fusion (starting): Hill, Dillon, Guzman, Motagalvan, Riley, Smarte, Barrera, Byrne, Chirishian, Guei, Hamilton, Aghasyan.