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United FC Select comes from behind twice to advance to final


United FC Select (CA-S) and Loudoun 98 Red (VA) met once previously in the prestigious US Youth Soccer National League and that game ended in a scoreless tie. In this rematch, there was once again no winner at the end of regulation time and it took overtime to decide who would advance to the Under-15 Boys National Championship match.

Loudoun came out of the gates strong and found a goal in just the 10th minute of play from Emin Karic. United had a great chance to level soon after as Nathan Albrecht drew a free kick outside the Loudoun box. Bruk Fekade struck a beautiful free kick that seemed destined for a goal in the bottom left corner but Loudoun’s keeper, Colin Shutler, made a beautiful save to keep the Virginia side in the lead.

United kept knocking and finally leveled the score just before halftime when Guillaume Marneau curled a beautiful shot into the left side of the goal.

Both teams had early chances in the second half with Loudoun putting a shot off the crossbar and then FC United’s Hugo Espindola missing wide after getting in with the keeper.

Loudoun’s Jacob Labovitz gave his team the lead once again when he superbly struck a first time curling shot with the outside of his right foot that sailed into the lower corner passed the United keeper.

Loudoun seemed destined to win as they fended off attack after attack from United, but Adrian Penaloza grabbed an equalizing goal in the 80th minute of play for United. Penaloza poked the ball into the back of the net after Loudoun couldn’t clear the ball off their line during a scramble of players from both teams.

The game went to overtime and United’s Charles Wehan became the California side’s hero when he scored two goals, the first by tapping in a cross and the second coming on a magnificent chip over the Loudoun keeper. Loudoun couldn’t find an answer and the game would finish 4-2.

“Loudoun was a very strong team. They came out and got an early goal on us,” said United’s head coach Roy Lassiter. “The key for us was composure. We just keep the ball moving, sharing the ball, and as long as we kept possession, we knew we were going to create opportunities to score and they happened.

“It means a lot to be in the finals. These guys have gone through a lot, been together for a long time and they’ve lost some heartaches in the past and they remember those. We’ve taken those moments and use that game by game. Winning a National Championship will mean a lot to these guys.”

United FC now advances to face Pateadores San Diego (CA-S) in the Under-15 Boys National Championships final Sunday at 9:50 a.m.