Under-17 Boys Manhattan PSG advances to final with shootout victory
An intense Under-17 Boys semifinal match-up went down to the wire, as Manhattan SC PSG 96 (NY-E) and Fullerton Rangers 96 White (CA-S) required a penalty kick shootout to determine who would advance to the championship game.
After PSG converted its first five kicks, Fullerton’s fifth attempt sailed over the bar — giving Manhattan the victory and a spot in Sunday’s final at the 2014 US Youth Soccer National Championships, presented by the National Guard.
Each side scored once in regulation and overtime, as the game finished tied, 2-2, after 120 minutes of play. PSG keeper Gerardo Amigon did well to keep his team in the contest and was one of the five Manhattan players to convert their kick from the mark in the shootout. Amigon knew it was no small feat to defeat Fullerton, a two-time National Champion, to advance to the final.
“They’re definitely one of the top teams we’ve ever played against,” Amigon said. “They’re really crafty. They’re an amazing team. They deserve to go through, as well.”
Fullerton took a 16th-minute lead when Ronaldo Pineda received a pass in the box and hit his first-time shot past Amigon. PSG responded and used its size to threaten the Fullerton goal on set pieces and crosses into the box.
After a pair of close looks for PSG went over the bar, including a penalty kick attempt, the New York side finally broke through in the 75th minute. Giansebastian Goicochea played a through ball behind the defense to Miguel Chun, who rounded Fullerton keeper Keith Murphy before hitting his shot into the open net.
Both sides came close to going up, 2-1, but PSG saw a clean header pushed over by Murphy and a late Fullerton goal was called back for being offside.
After playing tough competition all week, PSG coach Wilson Egidio was proud of how his team competed in regulation and through overtime.
“It’s easy for me to be on the sideline and yell and scream, but when you’re on the field your legs are getting heavier and heavier,” Egidio said. “But I’ve got to give it to the guys because they worked really hard.”
Ousmane Dia gave PSG a 115th-minute lead when he received a low cross into the box and slid it under a lunging Murphy. However, Pineda converted a late penalty kick to level the score. Pineda’s second goal of the game sent the matchup to the shootout that saw PSG convert all of its kicks en route to the victory.
The New York side’s players all danced around in celebration at the top of the 18-yard box when the win was sealed, but they know the real celebration will come after Sunday’s championship final against FC Dallas Youth 97 Premier (TX-N) is decided.
“You have no idea how excited we are,” Amigon said. “Since day one, we’ve been training for this. We’re going to go back to the hotel, rest up and hopefully we’ll take it home tomorrow.”