Midwest United FC captures Girls DA U-18/19 Championship
(Via U.S. Soccer) – Gracie VanLangevelde made a save in the sixth round of a penalty shootout to lift Midwest United FC to victory over San Diego Surf in the 2019 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Girls U-18/19 Championship Game on Friday evening.
Regulation ended in a 1-1 tie, and overtime ended deadlocked at 2-2, so the match was decided in a penalty shootout. Midwest United FC outlasted its California counterparts 5-4 in the six-round shootout. Macey Wierengaconverted in the first sudden death round and VanLangevelde came up with the save to secure the title for the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based club.
Befitting of a title contest, Friday’s game had plenty of drama as San Diego Surf needed a goal in stoppage time at the end of extra time just to force penalties. Sara Jayne Affleck‘s goal in the 120th plus one canceled out a Reagan Berg tally in the first half of extra time.
San Diego Surf’s Isabella Grust was the first of the two goalkeepers called into action in the contest as, in the ninth minute, a corner kick from Stephanie Currie for Midwest United FC pinballed around in the box and Grust needed to pounce on it to avert the danger.
The Grand Rapids side continued to have the better of the possession through the opening 20 minutes and found the breakthrough in the 24th minute off the head of Bria Schrotenboer. Schrotenboer’s fourth goal of the season put Midwest United FC on the board.
Midwest United FC had earned a free kick that was sent across the box to the top of the six by Ariana Garcia. It was Schrotenboer who got up highest amongst the crowd, heading the ball back across goal and just inside the post to give Midwest United FC a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, San Diego Surf had its first look at goal when Sarah Funk got in behind the Midwest United FC defense and fired a shot from distance that was collected by VanLangevelde.
San Diego Surf pulled level in the 38th minute on a goal by Shyra James.Affleck started the play, cutting in on her left, and sending a low ball into the box that took a deflection. It was James who pounced on it near the penalty spot, guiding a shot past VanLangevelde to even the match at 1-1 heading into halftime.
Just moments into the second half, Currie had a chance for Midwest United FC, but her shot went just high, landing on the top of the net.
Currie had another chance in the 48th minute, getting on the end of a cross from Raegan Cox at the back post and putting her header narrowly wide.
Midwest United FC continued to have more of the possession in the early stages of the second 45. but San Diego Surf worked its way into the half and had an opportunity in the 61st minute. A shot from James forced a good save from VanLangevelde down low to her right at the near post.
James had another opportunity go wide in the 70th minute as a ball whipped in from near the sideline almost found the upper corner of the net at the back post but sailed just off-target.
Berg for Midwest United FC picked up the ball and made a strong run down the right side in the 84th minute, powering a right-footed shot at goal as she got into the box, but Grust was up to the task, making the stop to keep the sides level.
San Diego Surf nearly had a winner just before the clock hit 90 minutes as Hope Paredes whipped in a corner that met the head of Kaitlin Cornell who put the ball off the bar. The California side had the ball in the net off the rebound, but the referee had blown her whistle for a foul as the game went to extra time.
Midwest United FC scored in the 94th minute when Berg put the Michigan club back in front. Berg forced a turnover right outside the San Diego Surf box and made her way toward the end line. She whipped past a defender and then slid a shot inside the back post from a very tight angle to give Midwest United FC a 2-1 advantage.
As San Diego Surf pushed for an equalizer, Berg had a similar chance to the one she scored in the 108th minute, but Grust was able to come up with the save and keep the Southern California side within a goal in the second half of extra time.
Two minutes later it was San Diego Surf with an opportunity to tie it as Affleck beat a Midwest United FC defender to the ball in the box, only to have her shot go wide from a difficult angle.
Just as the clock ticked past the 120-minute mark, Affleck converted a penalty for San Diego Surf to tie the game at 2-2 just before the final whistle. It was Affleck that drew the penalty in the final minute of extra time and she was the one that stepped up to take it, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way as the game proceeded to penalties.
In the shootout, both teams converted four of their first five, with Grust coming up with a save on the third attempt by Midwest United FC and VanLangevelde making a stop of her own one round later. In the sixth round, Wierenga scored for Midwest United FC and VanLangevelde followed that up with a save on the attempt by San Diego Surf, giving Midwest United FC the 2019 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Girls U-18/19 Championship.