BRADENTON, Fla. (Via Super Y League) – Entering the week, Met Oval’s U18 Boys had their eyes on a historic third consecutive championship at the Super Y League North American Finals at IMG Academy.
Thanks to a hat trick by Alexis Santa on Tuesday, the side accomplished just that as it took a 4-1 victory against F.A. Euro in the final. After an emphatic win in the semifinals, the side pulled away as Santa scored twice in the second half to earn his side its third consecutive championship.
“Everybody here comes to practice, we work hard, we do what we have to do,” said Santa. “Coming in here I knew it was going to be hard because everyone was going to want to win the championship, but we came here, we played hard, we did what we had to do and we won one more.”
Santa gave his side the lead in the first half as a snap shot from 15 yards found the top-left corner of the net. The striker went close to doubling the advantage a few minutes later as his curling shot went just over the crossbar, but then F.A. Euro got back on level terms as an attack by Gino Buscia down the left saw him find Rashon Wilson with a low cross for an excellent first-time finish with the outside of his right boot into the top-left corner.
Buscia went close again for F.A. Euro soon after as he flashed a shot just over the crossbar, but then Met Oval regained the lead as a piece of intricate play at the top of the penalty area opened up a chance for Harry Kevin Aspiazu to shoot home low into the left corner to make it 2-1 at the halftime break.
Santa added to Met Oval’s lead early in the second half as he broke in past the defense and slotted home his second of the game. The side’s ability to break down opposing defenses was evident throughout the tournament, as Met Oval scored 22 goals across its five contests, with Miguel Chung and Jesus Patino also playing leading roles.
“In New York, in Queens, we play everywhere together,” said Santa. “We’ve known each other since we were little, and as you see in all of our games we’ve been perfect together. We do set plays, we pass, right now the game is just crazy, I have no words, but we’re a great team. We’re good with each other, we understand each other, and we got our victory.”
That chemistry has been what has driven the side forward in recent years, with Coach Ivo Mohorovic helping shepherd the transitions as new faces come and go from the squad.
“We’re past the team stage, we’re at the family stage,” said Mohorovic. “The boys really work for each other, they pick each other up when one is down, and obviously it hasn’t always been the same players for the past three years, so whenever we have needed to replace one, the next one has stepped up to assume the role and keep the overall chemistry of the team.”
Santa completed his hat trick late on as a defensive turnover forced by Chung resulted in a simple through-ball and finish for the forward’s third of the game. With the side having completed its historic run, the feeling was just as good – if not better – the third time around.
“It means a lot,” said Santa of his hat trick. “It’s my job, it’s what I have to do, and I did it, and I’m glad that we won one more time.”