Columbia County's newest soccer team is on fire.
Augusta's Kris O'Neil battles for the ball against Carolina's Mike Rose during soccer action at Patriots Park Sunday afternoon. FireBall United won the match 2-0.
Photo by Michael Holahan
The Augusta FireBall United Soccer Club won the second consecutive game of their inaugural season Sunday in front of a partisan crowd on AFLAC Field at Patriot's Park.
Augusta (2-0) scored two second-half goals to defeat the Carolina Dynamo, 2-0, in the home opener for the franchise.
Alabama-Birmingham's Jason McLaughlin scored the first home goal off a rebound in the 49th minute for the FireBall. Clemson freshman Ryan Roushandel added another goal 13 minutes later to give the FireBall a comfortable win.
"We have played together for most of our lives," said Roushandel, one of many FireBall members to play for the Super-Y league national championship Atlanta Fire team. "We have a lot of confidence in every guy on this team and it shows."
However, the first words out of most of the players' and coaches' mouths weren't about the win.
"Can you believe the crowd?" asked coach Alec Papadakis. "We didn't expect this many people to show up. It was amazing."
The announced crowd of 665 filled the bleachers at Patriots Park, cheering loudly for much of the game.
It was a special homecoming for former Richmond Academy star Havird Usry. The Clemson freshman played his first game in Augusta since his Musketeers won a share of the state title in May 2004.
"It was great to come home," said Usry. "It was even better with the crowd that showed up. I've always had to go to Atlanta to play with these guys, so it was great to finally have them come to Augusta to play with me."
Papadakis said he was pleased to see Usry get to play in front of a hometown crowd.
"He is one of the best collegiate players in the country," said Papadakis. "He will be in (Major League Soccer) one day. It was great for him to play in front of his friends and family."
The FireBall play their second home game Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against the Ajax Orlando Prospects.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.