MP UNITED U18 TOPS FA CHALLENGE CUP
The much experienced and aggressive crew of MP United U18 showed tough love against their sister team's gunners and then found openings on MP United Silver (U15)'s defense to win the championship.
MP United U18 concentrated their defense on Jehn Joyner, Dakota Hall, and Jake Lee, who failed to score in the finals. On offense, Yi Shan Wang and Moon Bin Hong attacked at the end line in the second half to give MP United enough cushion after a precarious 1-0 lead in the first half.
Wang put MP United U18 in the lead in the first 40 minutes of play after connecting on a header in the 12th minute. Wang, Dae Min Jeon, and Hong made a couple more attempts, but MP United Silver stood its ground in the remaining minutes of the first half.
While MP United Silver hung in there on defense in the first half, it was a bit tentative on offense. Lee on a couple of occasions was steps away from his defenders and could have taken a shot, but backed out and opted for a pass. Joyner made two attempts in the first half, but overshot the mark, while Hall could not break away from his defenders and anchored MP United Silver's offensive set.
“We did a good job on their scorers in the first half. We called Yi Shan at the back to defend Joyner in the first half and later used Dae Min Jeon and then checked Dakota every time he moves left so he can't start the play for his team,” MP United U18 coach Brad Ruszala said.
“But despite playing tough defense against MP United Silver, they gave us quite a scare, especially in the second half, so hats off to them,” he added.
MP United U18 made it a 2-0 lead in the 58th minute when Wang eluded his defenders from the left wing and sprinted to the end line with Enrico del Rosario at the last line of defense for MP United Silver and failed to stop the former who made a cross. Then four minutes after Wang converted his second goal, MP United U18 ran the same play and this time Hong scored for a 3-0 advantage.
MP United Silver managed to avoid a shutout loss when Del Rosario lit up the scoreboard in the 67th minute. Del Rosario, who plays center defender for MP United Silver, made a big kick from the backcourt and the ball headed straight at the center of the goal with MP United U18 goalie Diego Yoon leaping to catch it. The goalie temporarily had his hand on the ball but had butterfingers and dropped the leather, which eventually rolled in.
After del Rosario's goal, MP United Silver was left with 13 more minutes to score two more and force a shootout, but MP United U18 tightened up its defense to keep the lead.