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Rangers win second game, qualify for championship final

With a 4-0 win against SAA Real Madrid Miami (FL), the Fullerton Rangers (CA-S) has reserved a spot in the Under-15 Boys finals game at the US Youth Soccer National Championships at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, S.C.

So far, Fullerton’s 2012 National Championship campaign has been a mirror image of 2011, when they won the U-14 title. In 2011, Fullerton won its first two games 4-0. The Rangers have accomplished that feat again in 2012. If this trend continues, things are looking good for the Rangers.

"I think the biggest thing for this team was keeping the ball. If we keep the ball, it makes it very difficult for our opponents to score on us," Fullerton head coach Jimmy Obleda said. "When we had the opportunity to score, we took advantage of it."

Gabriel Covarrubias broke the stale mate in the 15th minute, when Amirgy Pineda struck a corner towards the far post that Ricardo Ruiz deflected back into the middle. Ruiz’s volley found Covarrubias’ foot and the ball flew into the back of the net. The Rangers have scored three of their eight goals off of corner kicks. Covarrubias has scored two of them.

"Statistics say that 60 percent of goals come as a result of set pieces. That’s a pretty good percent of goals," Obleda said. "It is important to know how to attack them and defend them. We practice them and make sure that our plays count when we need them the most."

Amirgy Pineda was once again playing the role of instigator on Fullerton’s second goal when Madrid keeper, Juan Grimaldo, was unable to cleanly handle Pineda’s shot and Dylan Smith was there to capitalize on the rebound in the 45th minute. Smith was at it again 10 minutes later when he dribbled down the left flank and fired a shot at the far post to beat Grimaldo for his third goal of the tournament.

Not to be outdone by his teammate, George Castro also scored his third goal of the tournament in the 75th minute when he dribbled past a defender and then the keeper, before finishing, to make the final score, 4-0.

"The Rangers have a lot of speed, and they know how to finish and how to challenge," SAA Real Madrid player Daniel Pernia said. "I don’t think that we played bad. Tactically we moved well, but we need to have a better attitude."

The Rangers will play their final game against CUP Crew Jrs Gold 96/97 (OH-N) at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow on field four. Madrid will take on Manhattan SC Paris Saint-Germain 96 (NY-E) at the same time on field three.