In true championship game fashion, complete with great defensive plays, timely scoring, colorful cards and great passion Tampa Bay United defeated a strong and skillful Last Dream 3-2 to repeat as 0-60 state cup Champions.
Game stated with full rosters for both teams, and was evenly played in the first half as both teams tested each other in midfield and created several half chances with Tampa bay passing the ball on the ground to control play and Last Dream opting for long crosses to their forwards. 0-0
Second half started with Tampa Bay pressuring the Last Dream defense and at the 10 minute mark Kim was tackled from behind and awarded a free kick from 20 yards out, it was taken by Eddie Santos who put it over the Last Dream wall and under the bar for Tampa Bay’s first goal. 1-0. Unfortunately several minutes later Last Dream equalized on a loose ball in the penalty box that was toed in to the goal past Danny. 1-1
At the 20 minute mark after several consecutive passes in midfield I was fed a pass from Kim that allowed me to beat my defender and with the out of position Last Dream keeper coming at me I was able to put the ball into the net from 15 yards. 2-1
Then things got interesting as Kim was again tacked from behind, and was red carded for retaliation with the Palm Beach player receiving a yellow card for the foul. With Tampa Bay playing with 10 for the remaining 25 minutes we added a defensive midfield and repealed numerous attacks on the ground and in the air but Last Dream was able to score on a shot from the left side across Danny into the far side of the net with 10 minutes left.
Last Dream continued to pressure as Tampa Bay struggled to clear the ball from their penalty area and after several close up misses by Last Dream, several timely clearances by Will from the six yard line , a header clearance on the goal line by Mark and several great saves by Danny, Will was able to clear the ball down the right side of the field to a streaking Antoni who controlled the ball at midfield, beat his defender and took a powerful arching shot from 35 yards over the Last Dream keeper into the left side netting of the goal for a 3-2 lead with just 3 minutes to play.
We added another layer of defenders to protect our lead and secure the victory as time ran out and Last Dream faded away with several long range shot that Danny stopped easily.
Excellent games defensively form Ty, Mark, Will, Mike, Frank, Miguel and Doug, Danny in goal, midfield play from Dave, Ricardo, Kim and Eddie, and forward play from Antoni. Thanks to Nelson, Pat, Josef and Charlie for their contribution.
Gentlemen, great game from all, great effort, fighting spirit and dedication especially when down to 10 men. Thanks to Ricardo for driving down from Gainesville, Charlie for his help in substituting, I know several of you did not play as much as you would have liked or at all but we will make it up to you next week against Sarasota in our final game of the season.