MPS Hotspur Green U12 Boys defeated #1 Virginia ranked PWSI Courage Red and BRYC Elite in an emotional semi-final and final with a final score of 1-0 and 3-0, respectively, this past weekend at Ukrops Park in Richmond, VA.
Despite some missed opportunities in the first half of the semi-final, a dominant Hotspur went into the halftime scoreless at 0-0. Coached by Jamil Walker, McLean came out in the second half even stronger and resolute on shutting down a PWSI team unaccustomed to losing. Led by McLean’s mid-fielders (Garrett Socas, Jett Bisset, Winston Agbara, Ryan Malekian, Juneau Kim, Rafa Perez) and a relentless defense (Nick Foss – goal keeper, Daniel Diaz-Bonilla, Jack Rosener, Dean Hughes, David Hulett, Erik Svendsen), Hotspur continued to test the Courage keeper. Nearly six minutes into the second half, and after continued pressure from McLean, PWSI succumbed when McLean’s offense (Eric Eichler, Abel Luwis) collected a mishandled ball at the top of the box, dodged two sliding PWSI defenders, and slipped the ball neatly past the goalkeeper to the far left post. McLean continued to threaten (including a missed one-on-one with the PWSI keeper) while managing PWSI's frantic pressure, and earned a spot in Sunday's Final against BRYC Elite.
McLean Hotspur came out Sunday and set the tone for the game early. A few minutes in, the McLean offense slammed home a shot, but had the goal nullified by an offside call. Before the six-minute mark, McLean broke the silence and scored. McLean maintained the pressure, including multiple missed opportunities and a resonating shot off the cross bar, but went into halftime up only 1-0. With intermittent threats from BRYC, the pressure kept the McLean goal keeper on his toes while his teammates attempted to repeat the success of the first half. With just under 10 minutes left in the game, McLean scored with a left-footed shot inside of the far right post to put McLean up 2-0 and the game practically out of reach. With about three minutes left, the defense stole a ball just in front of the mid-field line and quickly transitioned up the left flank to an open forward who fired off a left-footed shot from well outside the box. The BRYC goal keeper dove to his left to make the save, but could not hold onto the ball and was unable to recover before McLean’s offense followed up the rebound to close the game at 3-0.
Hotspur will travel to Rhode Island to play a round robin at the end of June / early July in the Region I Championship. The US Youth Soccer Region I Championships consist of US Youth Soccer State Champions from 15 Eastern states, including the host Soccer Rhode Island, drawn wildcard entries, as well as US Youth Soccer Region I Premier League wildcard teams. See the website for more info on the regional tournament (http://region1.com/clubsite/?p=5533).