FRISCO, Texas (July 28, 2016) – Under-18 Boys FC Golden State Platinum (CA-S) slid into a semifinal spot after tying FC Dallas 98 Premier (TX-N), 2-2 on Thursday.
The stakes were high for the match as the outcome determined who would advance out of group play at the US Youth Soccer National Championships, and there was a possibility of a three-way tie in this bracket of the Under-18 Boys age group. While FC Golden State had two wins on their back, FC Dallas had a win and a tie.
“The boys knew that the three-way tie was possible and that it was going to go down to goal differential,” FC Golden State head coach Henry Cabral said. “That was the psychological part that hindered them from playing at their highest level, but we knew getting the tie would get us in. We finished it off when it counted.”
The first half was filled with fast-paced play and equal distribution of possession between two evenly matched teams, which resulted in a scoreless draw at halftime. The majority of the action remained in the middle of the field, and although each team sent a few dangerous crosses into the 18-yard box, the other’s defense stood strongly to hold the offense and prevent any goals.
“I think the boys played a little too defensive,” Cabral said. “When you play defensive against a great team like FC Dallas, they’re going to get a lot of opportunities, and they’re going to make you pay. We also had some opportunities in front of their goal that we didn’t finish off, and that kind of gave them a little more momentum.”
FC Golden State created the first significant opportunity when Andrew Flores blasted a rocket that headed for the upper right corner of the net. However, FC Dallas goalkeeper got there just in time with the diving save. FC Dallas’ Brooks Fergerson also came close to scoring when he received a ball at his chest directly in front of the goal. Fergerson collided with the FC Golden State goalkeeper and quickly got up to reach for a diving volley but sent the ball over the goal.
In the second half, both teams found the back of the net. FC Golden State scored first when Oskar Nikoghosyan lofted a ball for Anthony Lopez to bring down and pass to the bottom left corner of the goal. FC Dallas retaliated two minutes later as Roman Cano headed the ball in for the immediate equalizer.
FC Dallas stole the lead when Christopher Villalobos encountered an incoming pass and hit the ball with a first-time touch to the bottom left corner of the goal. Nikoghosyan tied up the game and put FC Golden State through to the semifinals when he picked up an open ball in the middle of the 18-yard box and drove it into the goal.
“It wasn’t our best [game] in the tournament, but we just grinded it out and we got the tie, and that’s enough to get us through,” FC Golden State midfielder Josh Arevalo said. “It’s been a great tournament for the team. Hopefully we can take it all.”
FC Golden State will face Arlington Impact Red (VA) for the semifinal match on Saturday, July 30 at 7:30 a.m.