Super Y Finals U-12: Tampa Bay United, FC America claim titles
The Super Y League Finals wrapped up Tuesday in Bradenton, Fla., with championships decided in the Under-12 through U-17 boys and girls brackets.
U-12 Boys: Tampa Bay United wins title on Soto’s last-gasp winner
Alpharetta United and Tampa Bay United battled scoreless for 79 minutes. Juan Soto didn’t want to go to penalty kicks. The forward’s goal in the last minute of play was just enough to separate the two sides and earn Tampa Bay United the 2012 Super Y-League North American Finals championship.
Alpharetta and Tampa Bay United combined for six goals in their semifinal victories but there would be no such goalscoring on this day with neither side create a goal-scoring opportunity in regulation.
Tampa Bay United looked to play through Nicholas Berzansky in midfield who controlled play well feeding his teammates around the pitch. Late in the second half Berzansky floated in a free kick but Niko Tzevelekos came off his line to grab the ball out of the air.
After 60 minutes of play the game was sent to overtime. Alpharetta’s Chad Letts had the best chance of the game to push his team in front. Making a run into the box toward Ben Ayers’ goal Letts was bumped off the ball and could only poke his shot wide of the post.
Moments later Kaleb Hussain and Soto combined at the opposite end but again Tzevelekos was forced off his line to make the save.
The game looked poised for penalty kicks when Soto gathered the ball on the right side of the field. Near the top of the box Soto skipped across the field beating three defenders before unleashing a left-footed shot across Tzevelekos into the bottom right corner.
“He’s a very opportunistic individual,” said Tampa Bay United head coach Maurice Loregnard. “Fantastic effort and he deserves the accolates.”
In such an evenly matched game Soto took his one opportunity and that was all Tampa Bay United needed en route to an unbeaten run in the tournament going 5-0-0 during the five day stretch.
“Five games, five excellent efforts from the guys,” continued Loregnard. “Every single day they found a way to get a result. They definitely have character. You can’t teach that. These guys have a passion for the game. It’s great for the future.”
Alpharetta United closed out the tournament posting a 3-2-0 record.
U-12 Girls: FC America gets a Smart show in championship win
Bradenton, Fla. – Shayla Smart’s two first half goals were all FC America needed in cruising to a 2-0 victory against the Kalamazoo Kingdom to win the 2012 Super Y-League North American Finals championship on Tuesday morning at IMG Academy.
Often is the case in championship games for teams to play conservatively while shaking off nervous jitters. FC America and the Kalamazoo Kingdom had no such agenda. Both squads came out flying forward with several chances at both ends.
“I was a little worried that the nerves would get to us,” FC America head coach Scott Brody said. “These are very big games. And it’s big games right in a row. We are an attacking team. We want to play that way. We want to go forward and try and make things happen.”
Kalamazoo had a chance to jump out in front as Samantha Williams found Sophia Terzes whose deft flick rolled just to the left of Julia Curatolo’s post. Kalamazoo built momentum with Terzes and Riley Tanner combining well on several occasions.
It was, however, FC America that would strike first. Curatolo sent the ball down field from her own box. The high, bounding ball created problems for the Kingdom defense and when Megan Przybysz was unable to clear, Smart pounced. Lauren Kozal came out but Smart got a foot to the ball first and poked into the net for a 1-0 lead.
The goal lifted FC America as they pushed forward looking to extend the lead. Nine minutes later, Smart had her second and FC America had one foot in the door. The quick, skilled striker weaved through three defenders in tight space to the touchline. Her flash across frame deflected off a defender into the net past a helpless Kozal.
Trailing 2-0 Kalamazoo tried desperately to take a hold of the game and climb back in but it just wasn’t to be. FC America’s defense held firm throughout the day limiting any serious chances for the Kingdom. As it was, the day belonged to Smart and Co. as the Orlando-based club earned a happy drive home to central Florida.
“The girls were amazing,” said Brody. From the moment the whistle blew their heart and their passion was tremendous. I’m lucky to have this bunch.”
Both teams entered the game unbeaten going 3-0 in group play advancing through the semifinals with one-goal victories.