FASA Elite (Va) slip by Ashburn Extreme in PKs to claim U16 Boys Gold Division trophy
By Quinn Casteel
It took 100 minutes of soccer and a round of penalty kicks before a champion could be crowned in the U16 Boys Gold Division title game on Monday afternoon at the Virginian, with FASA Elite (Va) outlasting Ashburn Extreme (Va) in an incredibly entertaining finale for the tournament.
The teams played to a 2-2 tie in regulation and went scoreless in what was a hot and exhaustive 20 minutes of extra time before the match was finally pushed to the brink with penalty kicks. Goalkeeper Kyle Robinson made a clutch save to put FASA Elite in great position, and his team would go on to win the shootout 4-2.
“The guys really had to fight and show some heart,” FASA Elite Coach P.G. Katsourakis said. “They pulled through and I was proud.”
FASA Elite was in control of the match the entire way, holding a 2-0 lead for the majority of the contest thanks to a brace from Christian Jones. However, in the second half fatigue set in and Katsourakis’ shorthanded group entered survival mode as the sweltering heat on the turf at Poplar Tree Park began to take its toll. As the second half wound down, FASA Elite lost momentum and would eventually lose their two-goal lead.
“We lost our composure a bit in the second half,” Katsourakis said. “We stopped playing our game, began to bypass the midfield and kept trying to go over the top, which played to [Ashburn’s] strength.”
After failing to get on the scoreboard for most of the match, Ashburn Head Coach Joseph Farran decided to make a change, and as a result his team made a late charge. Farran decided to move midfielder Sergio Resendiz to forward late in the game with the Extreme down two goals, in order to create more scoring opportunities. Having an extra attacker would be the answer Ashburn needed as Resendiz made a pair of phenomenal individual efforts to score two goals and send the game into overtime.
“I moved Sergio up top because I knew if he got the ball one-on-one, he was going to be able to beat that player and score, and he did it twice,” Farran said.
Resendiz and company would complete the epic comeback, but in the end fell just short. Although his team would ultimately have to settle for second place, Farran was highly impressed with the character his team showed in the championship match.
“[FASA Elite] never gave up and we didn’t give up,” Farran said. “I told my guys to leave their hearts out on the field and they left every bit of sweat on the field. I really appreciate everything those kids have done. We made it to penalty kicks and it could have gone either way at that point.”
A timely save from Henderson and a shot off the crossbar by Ashburn would decide the shootout, and FASA Elite survived the major scare they received after blowing a late lead. In the end, the Elite got to celebrate their championship at midfield, concluding another successful Memorial Day Weekend at The Virginian.