Both teams sat atop their respective Under-15 Boys division heading into the match. Dix Hills would have advanced with a tie thanks to an advantage in goal differential, but they would leave nothing left to chance.
In the 69th minute, Bethesda failed to fully clear out a corner as the ball slowly rolled outside the box and found the foot of Dix Hill’s Michael Sclafani, who hammered it off the cross bar, which in turn deflected off keeper, Justin Ennis, and into the back of the net.
"A tie would have been nice, but we were playing to win," Dix Hills coach Domenico Casciato said. "We didn’t play our best in the first two games. We played a lot better today, and are really excited to play in the finals."
Competing in their second straight National Championships, Bethesda didn’t start off as well as they wanted, but really started to pick things up towards the end of the first half and throughout the second half. Bethesda threatened in the second half off Sephehr Hoghooghi’s free kick and Francisco Contreras’ shot from the right side of the box, but both were saved by Dix Hills keeper, Joseph Tristano.
"Dix Hills fought very hard and worked for every ball," Bethesda coach Emile Mbouh said. "I thought we played a lot better in the second half, but didn’t have any luck getting the ball in the back of the net."
Dix Hills will be advancing to the final in their first to the National Championships in a field that featured all four teams from last year’s Under-14 Boys group. The 2012 champion, Santa Barbara SC White (CA-S), will be joining Dix Hills in the finals after a dramatic game three of their own.
Dix Hills knows they have their work cut out for them against the defending champs.
"Santa Barbara is a great team, and I think they will look at us as the underdogs, which I think we are," Casciato said. "But we aren’t backing down, and I think it would be fantastic to win the National Championship."
The two teams will face off and determine a champion tomorrow, July 27th at 6:20 p.m. on field three.