Wrexham Red Dragons made a winning start to the $1 million winner-takes-all The Soccer Tourmament at Wakemed Soccer Park, Cary, to the delight of the many supporters who have turned out to watch the team.
Guest player George Boyd was the hero in the opening match, against Como 1907, as he slotted in a low finish to complete a dramatic comeback from 2-0 down in ‘Target Score Time’.
And iconic former striker Lee Trundle – captaining the team in this event – then rolled back the years as he scored four goals in a dominant win against a US Women’s team.
Pitted against Cesc Fabregas’ Como 1907 team in the opening match, Wrexham trailed early on to a Marco Tremolada goal after a quick counter-attack.
But cheered on by a large following of US-based Wrexham fans – with Wrexham Red Dragons merchandise selling well at Wakemed Soccer Park – the team grew quickly into the game.
Andy Morrell saw one shot spectacularly headed off the line by a Como defender, while the Serie B side’s goalkeeper also pulled off a string of fine saves.
With Wrexham chasing a leveller, Como broke and scored in the final seconds of the second-half, however – meaning the Red Dragons would have to score three goals in ‘Target Score Time’ to win the game, with Como needing just one.
‘Target Score Time’ was conceived in the hope of adding excitement at the end of matches – with matches continuing until the score is reached, and players removed from each team every five minutes.
Earlier games in the day had not lived up to the billing, with the team leading going into the extra period generally scoring the one goal to seal victory.
But Wrexham ripped up the script, and lived up to the Club’s reputation for Hollywood-style drama, as David Jones rolled in a low finish and Louis Lloyd levelled after delaying his shot at the near post.
That made it winner-takes-all, and with Como 1907 on the ropes, Boyd received Paul Rutherford’s low pass and flicked a low, left-footed finish past the goalkeeper to seal victory.
The second game of the day pitted Wrexham Red Dragons against a US Women team featuring former international stars.
With a more balanced crowd packing out the half of the stadium where the game was being played, Wrexham turned on the style.
Lee Trundle scored four goals, and Louis Lloyd, Dan Jarvis and George Boyd all scored twice, with Filip Markovic adding to the score to make it 11-0 in regulation time. It could have been more too, but the Red Dragons found US stopper Lindsey Harris in incredible form in goal.
Nevertheless, Jarvis then sealed a hat-trick of his own to wrap up victory.
Wrexham Red Dragons are back in action at 12pm (EDT)/5pm (BST) when they face Say Word FC in the final group game. The Red Dragons know a win will seal a place in the last-16, with Say Word having beaten the US Women so far but lost to Como in their second game.
You can watch the match live on Peacock in the United States, while non-US viewers can tune in via WrexhamPlayer on the club website. Don’t forget to register now.