Crew Juniors (OH-S) claimed the Under-19 Boys McGuire Cup for the second time in three years after an exciting come-from-behind victory over GSA Phoenix 96 Red (GA) in front of a standing-room-only crowd and live FOX Soccer channel audience.
"We’re excited. I know it sounds cliché, but you just can’t put it into words," said Crew Juniors Coach Brian Bliss. "These guys put a lot of work in during the summer, they were committed all year, and were able to come here and closed this out. Our club’s very excited because we create the platform for the players but they create the environment and they challenge each other. They were good today."
"Both of them (2010 and 2012) were rewarding. They were done in different fashions, each one of them. They’re all special to the club and I’m sure these guys won’t forget it either."
The 77th edition of the McGuire Cup had all the elements of a classic match, which included a second half downpour and two world class goals from the Crew to overcome a first half deficit to take home the championship, 2-1.
Two Under-20 U.S. National Team members, one for each team, flew in for the final after competing in the Milk Cup in Ireland, and both played huge roles for their side as GSA’s Walker Zimmerman (Furman) and Crew’s Will Trapp (Akron) were involved in the first and final goals respectively.
The first half hour saw both teams working into the game and trying to find a flow. But in the 36th minute Crew couldn’t clear a GSA corner kick out of danger and the ball was headed back into the box where Hugh Pringle (Syracuse) directed it past keeper Jeff Gal (Creighton) for the opening score and a 1-0 lead at the break.
GSA forward Iain Smith (Clemson) picked up a first half injury and couldn’t continue, proving costly in the second half as Crew built momentum moving forward. The Crew equalizer would come 11 minutes into the second half as Jordan Tyler (Penn State) checked in for a ball out of midfield, turned his defender and opened up a shooting lane where he rifled a shot past the GSA keeper Jack Falle (Georgia Southern).
Crew began to get a hold of the game as the second half wore on and they were rewarded in the 66th minute. A GSA clearance couldn’t clear the danger area and Trapp ran in to latch onto the ball with a half volley rocket that skipped off the turf and into the far side net for Crew’s first lead and the eventual game winner.
"It’s honestly pretty hard to describe," said Trapp. "I don’t score many goals but to score a goal on this stage in this kind of environment it’s, I really don’t even know what to say."
GSA pressed numbers forward searching for an equalizer and with time running down sent all 11 players into the box for two consecutive set pieces, but Gal was up to the task coming off his line to punch away both attempts and preserve the lead for Crew.
"It’s unbelievable," said Trapp. "All the work we put in this summer, the guys, it’s hard to describe with words. Especially coming back from one goal down and fighting back in the second half and getting two goals, it’s awesome. It feels great."
Trapp flew into South Carolina early Saturday morning to join the Crew after competing with the Under-20 U.S. National Team at the Milk Cup in Ireland, and he made his presence known with a stunning game-winning strike.
"This has been my team all summer. I was gone and you know you can’t abandon your team in a National final. I had to come back and play. It was a big thing for me and I didn’t want to let the guys down. I definitely wanted to come back and help the guys today."
"Coming out and playing the way we did and winning the way we did is awesome. It’s a great achievement for all of us. We’re going to take this wherever we go. We’ll to back to play in college and stuff like that, but we’re always going to remember this National Championship."