NICK LEYDEN - Sunday, April 25, 2010
Tony Taylor's first goal in Portugal secured a crucial victory for Estoril over Aves while Estoril's other American, Miami native Bryan Arguez, did not dress for the game.
GD Estoril Praia 1 – 0 CD Aves
Jacksonville University product Tony Taylor entered the game in the 61st minute for Moacir and scored the game's only goal in the 89th minute. The 1-0 victory guaranteed Estoril's survival in the Liga Sagres for one more year and moved them nine points clear of the relegation zone with two games remaining.
The roughly 500 fans in the 5000 seat Estádio António Coimbra da Mota were subject to a tame affair in which neither team truly threatened their opponent's goal with any consistency. The first half's best chance fell to Aves' in-form striker João Silva in the 26th minute but goalkeeper Paulo Sergio did well to save the 19 year old's header.
The home team came closest to breaking the deadlock in the in the 30th minute when Manuel Curto's drive blazed just over the bar.
Estoril appeared to begin the second half with greater urgency and created two quality chances within ten minutes of the re-start. Imposing winger Rodrigo Hote missed the most glaring of which when he failed to put his header on target from within the six yard box after an inch perfect cross from João Coimbra, who was Estoril's best player on the day.
Former US U-20 striker Tony Taylor, whom the locals simply call by his first name, was introduced by Coach Neca just minutes later to join the unusually quiet Calé up top. But the substitution did little to change the overall rhythm of the game as both teams fell back into the first half pattern of fierce midfield combat and ineffective long balls forward.
In the 89th minute, however, a slack Aves defensive effort gave Taylor a clear chance as the ball fell to him unmarked just beyond the penalty spot. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Taylor gently stroked the ball into the back of the net, clinching both victory and safety from relegation.
The next league game for tenth place Estoril will be on 5/2 at CD Fátima , who sit one point behind Os Canarinhos with a game in hand.
But first their attention will be turned to 4/28 when they will line up against first division Paços de Ferreira in the Liga Intercalar championship. Estoril secured the southern zone title of the reserve league with a shootout victory over Benfica on 4/14. Neca promised to use the same players in the national final, which is good news for both Taylor and Arguez as each played the full 90 minutes against Benfica.