In a back-and-forth 13U Boys match, Michigan Jaguars 02 Green (MI) sealed its spot in Friday’s final with a tight, 1-0, victory over Rebels SC (CA-S).
“I think the level of competition [at the National Championships] bring these boys a new experience and level that they’re not consistently used to,” said Jaguars head coach Dan Trosper. “To be able to come into this type of environment and have two wins is a big deal.”
Rebels put on the pressure early as a great low shot to the back post forced Jaguars’ Gavin Cote into a diving save. Rebels continued knocking through the first half but saw a blast sail just over the bar as the score remained even at the halftime whistle.
It was more heroics from Cote in the second half, as he was forced into another diving save as a low drive came in from the right flank. Right after the save, Jaguars countered, putting Angel Gael Medrano in on goal, but the Rebel’s keeper came up with a big save.
Not more than a few minutes later, Rebels came marching back down the field and created a chance on goal. A looping cross from the right side found Gael Juarez, but his header unluckily rang off the crossbar and was cleared by the Jaguars defense.
The back-and-forth action continued, with Jaguars on the attack. A through-ball found the feet of Medrano, who muscled his way beyond two defenders to finish 1v1 close range beyond the Rebels keeper.
Rebels pressed late, knowing that a loss could possibly knock them out of contention for a spot in the final. A great chance looked like it would develop into a 1v1 opportunity for Rebels against Cote but Jaguars’ Noah Karfis slid in to break-up the chance. Jaguars worked to run the clock-out by playing the ball into the corners but Rebels had one last chance on goal. A good passing combination got them up the field and a long strike that looked like it was destined for the side-netting was picked out of the air by Cote as he dove full stretch to his right.
“Our goalkeeper was one-hundred percent phenomenal and a special player today,” Trosper continued. “Big day for him to hold onto some tough balls and make some huge snags. These guys are absolutely killing it right now.”
With the win and the result in the other game, Michigan Jaguars now has a spot in the final where it will face 2006 Pipeline SC Pre-Academy (MD). The two teams will get a feel for each other, as they will face-off in tomorrow’s final group play game.