The Concorde Fire under-17/18 squad trailed 2-0 in the 60th minute against the Richmond Kickers on Saturday when Philippe Vaillant entered the match.
Concorde coach Adrian Powell considers Vaillant among his club's best jump-starters in the clutch, and he delivered Saturday as the Fire rallied for a 3-2 win in its Development Academy season-opener.
"He's an attacking-minded player, and he likes to run at the opponents a lot," Powell said. "He's a technically very good player and has good skills, so he does very well when he comes on late."
Vaillant's scored the game-winner with just over a minute left to play.
"When we put Philippe on, he gets positioned into good areas on the field and we can put a lot of crosses in and a lot of balls in the box," Powell said. "It's great to have him in situations like that."
Vaillant's effort followed goals by teammates Alexander Kowalski and Drew Morgan to life the Fire.
"Coach just told me to open up the field and to open up the game, but most of all to just go out there and have fun," Vaillant said. "But when I get into the game and we have the ball, my mentality is to just create stuff when I'm on ball."
Vaillant said he had four or five chances overall during the 30 minutes that he had to work with.
"I think Holden [Fender] gave me the ball, and I just had it on my left foot," Vaillant said. "I had the right defender on me, and I just shot it with my left foot. The defender touched it and it went into the goal.
"Before that, I had a shot from outside the box, and the goalie pushed it out-of-bounds. From that point on, I kind of had that feeling that eventually I was going to score. I wasn't worried about the amount of time or anything; I was just doing what I was called upon to do."
The Richmond Kickers had gone ahead 2-0 on goals by Ryan Clapman and Dan Lauretano in the ninth and 29th minutes, respectively.
"We got off to a slow start and we conceded two goals very early on," Powell said. "Then we had a bit of good pressure toward the end of the first half from our guys, but we didn't quite convert on our chances.
"I told our guys at halftime to just keep pushing to get a goal, and if we get one, then you know, then I think that the others will come. When we did score, I thought that that might be a little too late. But the pressure sort of lifted our guys and they were able to continue to press forward and to pull it out."
Concorde Fire completed the weekend sweep with a 3-0 shutout of the Virginia Rush Auxerre on Saturday. Rett Webb converted 20 minutes into the contest, Fender scored in the 51st minute, and Vaillant, who entered in the 45th minute, again scored the Fire's last goal in the 72nd minute.
"Philippe's a very good weapon to have coming off of the bench and a very nice weapon to have up our sleeves," Powell said. "It gives you an extra boost to be able to bring a player like that on to create those kinds of opportunities. He was effective that way in both games, actually."
AROUND THE DA
The Concorde Fire under-15/16 team won twice over the weekend, beating the Richmond Kickers, 6-2, and the Virginia Rush, 4-0. Over the course of the two games, Connor Antley scored four times, with a hat trick against the Kickers, and Cameron Moseley scored three times -- twice against the Kickers. Rinaldi Alphonse scored once against the Kickers. Jonathan Jarrod and Tyler Dowes scored once each against the Virginia Rush.
3, Connor Antley, Concorde Fire vs. Richmond Kickers (7-2 win)
2, Cameron Moseley, Concorde Fire vs. Richmond Kickers (7-2 win)
2, Duke Mason, Virginia Rush vs. Birmingham United (2-1 win)