RCU Falls Hard 4:0 In Front Of Record Crowd
Rocket City United didn't start well on Saturday night by giving up a goal in the 3rd minute. It didn't get better from there. A record crowd of 5, 137 fans saw Chattanooga FC run away with a 4:0 win. The attendance was the largest ever crowd in NPSL history and gives CFC an average crowd of nearly 4,400 for the 2010 season.
The game was end to end from the opening as both teams traded chances, but CFC converted their chances. In the 3rd minute, CFC forward Irvin Espinal's angled shot deflected off RCU defender Tom Winspear's trailing leg and nestled into the far corner of the net. RCU tried to battle back and despite some good possession play from RCU, they could not translate that possession into goals. CFC took advantage of poor giveaways in the midfield to strike quickly catch RCU on the counter attack. In the 29th minuet, one such giveaway exposed the RCU central defense and CFC forward Luis Salazar calmly beat Michael Gustavson for the 2:0 halftime lead.
Another midfield giveaway led to the third goal in the 53rd minute, when Drew Courtney received a gift-wrapped chance when the ball fell to his feet after Gustavson's punched clearance deflected off an RCU defender back. Courtney emphatically stroked the ball into the open net from 2 feet.
RCU kept battling, but it wouldn't be their night as in the 70th minute Alexi Munro worked some magic to get the ball to the end line and slotted it back to the onrushing Andrew Nkurunungi who side-footed home, but the near sided (and perhaps nearsighted) AR judged wrongly and raised his flag for offside.
Shortly thereafter, CFC capped their night with a strong solo effort from Thomas Clark who muscled off a defender and the goalkeeper for the final goal of the night.
NPSL Final Four Teams Set
The other regional championships in the NPSL came down to the action during the final weekend. Here's a brief recap of how the teams joining Chattanooga FC in the Final Four qualified.
Midwest Region: Madison 56ers
From the Madison 56ers website:
The Madison 56ers ended their regular season play with two victories to clinch the NPSL Midwest Championship this weekend finishing with an 8-2 record. After defeating the Minnesota Kings FC on Saturday 4-0, the 56ers finished off the season with a 2-1 victory over the St. Paul Twin Stars Sunday afternoon.
Northeast Region: FC Sonic Lehigh Valley
From the Morning Call:
FC Sonic had talent when it was needed and luck when talent wasn't enough.
The Lehigh Valley chapter of the National Premiere Soccer League defeated its toughest opponent of the season in the New York Red Bulls, a U23 development team affiliated with the MLS club of the same name.
It was Joe Sales' goal — coming with just six minutes left in the game — that gave FC Sonic the 3-2 win...
Northwest Region: Sacramento Gold FC
From Sacramento Gold Facebook page:
It's on to the National Premier Soccer League championship playoffs for the Gold (9-2-1) after defeating San Diego Boca 3-2 Sunday night in a Nortthwest division-elimination final at River City High School. Foward Manolo Pina had both of his Sacramento goals in the first half. He now leads all NPSL scorers with... 15 goals despite missing the final three games of the regular season with a fractured cheek. San Diego (5-3-3) finished the season 0-3 against the Gold. Ernesto Carranza also scored for the Gold. Anthony Chimienti had two assists.