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MLS Combine Recap: Team Predator closes week with 2-0 win over Team Copa

Jan 5, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Sergio Rivas (82) watches as Anderson Aside (right) and Siad Haji (center) battle for the ball during the Adidas MLS Soccer Combine at Orlando City SC Stadium. (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Goals from Simon Ernstrom and Robbie Mertz guided Team Predator to a 2-0 victory over Team Copa on Wednesday, the final day of the MLS Player Combine at Orlando City Stadium. 

“Everybody was on the same page,” Virginia Commonwealth midfielder Siad Haji said of his team’s win. “Obviously, we never played together, but we got more comfortable while we understand each other now. The goal was just to keep the ball and just get momentum.” 

After winning a ball from Clemson defender Patrick Bunk-Anderson, Kentucky forward J.J. Williams almost opened the scoring for Team Copa in the 36th minute after missing a one-on-one opportunity against Michigan State goalkeeper Jimmy Hague by sending the ball wide of the post. 

Team Predator took the 1-0 lead before halftime when a cross from University of California left back Sam Junqua found Boston College forward Simon Ernstrom, whose flying touch on the ball hit the bottom of the crossbar and flew into the goal in the 39th minute. 

In the 45th minute of the second half, Williams almost scored the equalizing goal for Team Copa when he headed a ball toward goal, but it was saved by Marquette goalkeeper Luis Barraza.

Michigan midfielder Robbie Mertz doubled the lead for Team Predator in the 74th minute after striking the ball toward the far-right post to increase the lead over Team Copa 2-0. Mertz almost recorded a brace moments later when a strike from outside the box hit the right post. 

It was Team Predator’s first win of the combine after falling 2-0 to Team X on Saturday. Team Copa finished the Combine winless after losing its opening game Saturday 4-1 to Team Nemeziz. 

The MLS SuperDraft begins Friday in Chicago at 1 p.m. ET. 

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