Jesus Velasco’s lone goal lifts Young over Curie

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Jaime Alonso is Young’s best player. Jesus Velasco is the team’s most versatile.

On a day of celebration, Velasco showcased his wide range of talents by scoring a goal in the seventh minute and recording three second-half saves as the host Dolphins slipped past Curie 1-0 in Premier play Wednesday.

Velasco is the normal backup to goalie Liam McDonald. “We have two goalies, and both are seniors and only one can play in the field,” Young coach Ian McCarthy said.

Velasco played his first action of the year in the first half of a game. “Normally I come out to play in the second half and this was probably the fifth or sixth time of the year I was able to play in the field,” he said.

Young (8-7-1, 4-2-1) was aggressive from the opening, taking advantage of Curie’s reputation as a second-half team. Alonso hit the crossbar on a header in the fourth minute. Young strung together a sharp sequence that was the difference.

Velasco made the most of his opportunity. He is not wholly alien out there.

“I played out in the field until I was nine years old before it switched to goalie, so I know my way around there,” he said. Alonso played a through ball down the left edge of the field. “My teammate Alex West played a nice ball and I read the play and I said to myself he was going to cross it and I had to make the end of the run,” Velasco said.

Timing his run perfectly, Velasco clipped the ball past Curie standout goalie Jonathan Gomez inside the near post. The score held up as Young continued its late-season surge. The Dolphins are 4-0-1 since losing to Lane in the final nine minutes early last week.

“Ever since that game we said that Lane was one of the best teams in the city and we played them tough and we have been playing very well from that game on,” Alonso said. The Public League’s most feared long free-kick specialist, Alonso played several service balls that Young parlayed into strong scoring opportunities.

Curie (7-7-2, 3-3-1) generated several strong scoring thrusts of its own in the second half. “We had some good chances, but for whatever reason we were too slow on the trigger when we had chances and opportunities out there,” Curie coach Leon Kim said.

“I thought in the second half we controlled more of the play and had more possession time but we were holding onto the ball too long.”

Curie’s best player Emmanuel Martinez could never get fully free of the Dolphins’ backline. Velasco stopped his best opportunity in the 68th minute. “I don’t really care where I play,” Velasco said.

“I just go where my team needs me and I will do anything or play anywhere to help the team win,” he said.

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