Wednesday, 29 August 2012

GKSSA Playoff Finals

This week, the GKSSA men's league playoff finals were held, all three being played out at the new Barr Homes Soccerplex off of County Road 6, just west of Amherstview.

The C Division final was contested by the top two teams in the division, the JKL Rangers and LCFC III Fanatics. LCFC III Fanatics came out on top of this game with a 3-0 result behind goals from Glenn Unan, Ryan Patterson, and Travis Merkley. Lorne Murphy recorded the clean sheet for the game as LCFC defeated the first place team in the division.

The B Division final was played the following night between RealtySource Red Bull and Ryatt United SC. Ryatt scored first on an own goal, but RealtySource was able to tie it up on the stroke of halftime on a goal from Jonathan Barbosa. The game went to extra time, and Nick Gregory scored with under two minutes left in the game to win the cup.

The final game of the 2012 season was the A Division final. The winners of this game would be taking home the Henry Ford Richardson Memorial Trophy. It was donated to the Kingston District Football Association in 1930, and is the oldest cup still being actively awarded in Kingston. It, fittingly, featured the top two teams in Kingston's GKSSA, Soccer Plus FC and Portuguese Benfica.

Earlier in the season, Soccer Plus had beaten Benfica 1-0 in league play and then they had drawn 1-1 near the end of the season. Benfica defeated Soccer Plus in the semi-finals of the Carmine Lanzo, Sr Memorial Cup tournament by a 1-0 scoreline, so both teams were very evenly matched.

The game began very slowly, and the feeling among the fans on the sideline was that the game needed a goal. In the 16th minute, that wish was granted. Benfica's Erin Nolasco broke in alone on the goal and as he tried to carry the ball to the outside, Soccer Plus' goalkeeper Geoff Jackson fouled him in the area, conceding a penalty kick. Eddie Macedo stepped up and made no mistake, putting it into the bottom left corner.

Once the goal was scored, both teams stepped up their play significantly and this almost resulted in a second goal for Benfica as Tyler Locke belted a shot off of the top of the crossbar in the 36th minute. Five minutes later, Soccer Plus won a throw deep in Benfica's end. Andrew Nador took the throw and put it deep into the goal area where Vince Stabile headed the ball just over the line to make the game 1-1, a scoreline that remained until halftime.

The second half was filled with back and forth play, but neither team was able to capitalize, sending the game to extra time as the sky darkened. Over the course of extra time, Soccer Plus had the best chance as Jeremy Armstrong took a ball that had been knocked down and volleyed it at the net. It hit the crossbar and bounced down just in front of the line, allowing goalkeeper Matt Kruczkowski to smother it. With that, it was onto kicks from the mark.

Benfica shot first and scored easily. Soccer Plus reciprocated. The second shooters from each team did likewise. The third shooter from Soccer Plus was the first miss, as he hit it to the lower left corner, but without enough power, and Kruczkowski was able to stop the shot to give Benfica a 3-2 lead after three shooters.  In the end, it came down to Benfica's fifth shot, and Eric Freitas, the A Division golden boot winner, scored his shot to give Benfica a 5-3 win on penalty kicks.

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