The Strikers’ game on Sunday morning was their earliest of the tournament. At 9.25 am, the clouds were dark and heavy and the temperature was 53 degrees. Field 1 was still in great condition despite the rain and the soccer games throughout the previous days.
The opponent was the familiar foe, Arsenal. Arsenal had been impressive throughout the tournament and the match promised to be a challenge. Both sides played aggressively from the inception, but Arsenal drew first blood, and the first half ended 1-0. In the second half, the Strikers continued to attack. When one of our lads, Mathew Gooden, was brought down in the box, Zen Rotten converted a penalty and the game was even. At the expiration of time, the score was still even and the teams went to penalty kicks. Our Goalkeeper, Jonathan Kilnsmann, saved two penalty Kicks and the match came down to the last kick. In the end, our lads prevailed 3-2, and the team moved on the semifinals.
In the semifinal match, we faced Real So Cal at 4.15 pm. Real scored early in the first half and again in the second. Our boys fought bravely but were unable to overcome the differential. Our lads never gave up and did their best – we are very proud of them. They have done well against some of the very best teams in the country. From game to game, as their familiarity with each other grew, their level of play improved. We are all optimistic about this team going forward.
The Strikers have one more game tomorrow at 2 pm – a rematch with Fullerton Rangers.