Submitted by the league
CASA Palangi League Cup Final
Rose Tree Gunners FC 5 – Bluestars FC 3
After a game truly worth of a final, Rose Tree Gunners took home the Palangi Cup. This was a game of skill and intensity that anyone who doubts the quality of the CASA league should watch closely. The speed of play and technique on show was only rivaled by drama of the match, which swung back and forth between the teams until Rose Tree finally grabbed hold of the game to get the win.
Rose Tree got the better of a furious opening exchange, despite Bluestars twice going close to scoring the opening goal in the first few minutes. With eight minutes gone on the clock, Rose Tree sent a deep cross from the left-hand side into a crowded penalty area and Trepanier rose up at the back post to send a looping header over the Bluestars’ ‘keeper for the first goal. Bluestars’ heads did not drop, however, and they fought to get themselves back into the game. Fifteen minutes later, a ball over the top released Kamagate through the middle. Squaring up to goal, he shot for the far post, only for the ball to deflect and fall to Blodget, who managed to touch it past the keeper and defender for Gray to emphatically blast the ball into the net. With the score now tied, the match entered its most fraught period as both sides struggled to create meaningful chances. With both sides playing tight defense, it looked like the next goal might come on the transition, and that’s exactly what happened. The ball again bounced to Blodget after a Rose Tree goal kick was headed back from the midfield. Nearly thirty yards out, he hit an absolute screamer with his left foot that found the side netting to the Rose Tree ‘keeper’s right. Bluestars managed to keep their opponents under wraps for the five minutes remaining in the half and went into the break with a one goal lead.
While it might have appeared like Rose Tree were on the ropes, you can never count them out and they soon threw some hard counter punches to fight back. Five minutes had elapsed when they capitalized from a throw-in on the right flank of their own half. A hurl down the line caught out the defender and let in the right winger, who crossed for Burris in the center. He still had a man to beat, but he faked right and went left to create a chance to shoot from the edge of the box.
That shot found the bottom right-hand corner and tied the game. Rose Tree soon got another from another throw in. A mazy run through the defense yielded a great save from Paul, the Bluestars’ ‘keeper, but his tip onto the post couldn’t keep out Fletcher, who tapped the ball home. Having scored two goal within ten minutes, Rose Tree should have had the momentum; but, just like their opponents, who had squandered a lead, they would soon see a ball hit the back of their net.
That goal came courtesy of Gray, who was irrepressible all evening. He had previously seen a high, dipping effort, headed for the top corner saved by the Rose Tree keeper. Rose Tree then failed to clear a corner and the ball fell to him in the box, and he took the gift by firing into the roof of the net. As he wheeled away to celebrate with a triumphant slide, spectators could have been forgiven for thinking that this game was going to extra time. However, they did not count on Sylla, who was also excellent on the night, keeping Rose Tree’s midfield ticking over. Having seen Blodget’s goal earlier in the evening, he fancied that he could do the same. Picking up the ball thirty yards out from goal, he took a touch inside and bent the ball for the far side of the net, and saw it squeeze inside the post for the winning goal. Bluestars gave up a penalty shortly after, which Dyson scored, to confirm the victory. When the final whistle blew, a roar came from the Rose Tree bench: they had won the club’s first cup.
After the game, Rose Tree captain Giovanopoulos lauded Bluestars for giving his side “a really tight match right up until the end.” He reserved the majority of his praise, however, for hi own side for battling hard for ninety minutes. Even when they were a goal down, they didn’t give up, and put on a clinic for the first fifteen minutes of the second half. In addition to the performance against Bluestars, he pointed out that his side had faced “historically the two best teams to make the final in Misconduct and SouthHouse,” and felt that his team deserved the title. He reserved special praise for his goalkeeper, Clark, whose heroics in a fourth-round penalty shootout and against SouthHouse brought them to the final, and his defense, “without whom we are nothing.”
He closed by saying that “as a unit,” his side were very excited to try to pull off the first CASA “double” on Sunday, when they face FC SouthHouse in the Kelly Cup Final at Subaru Park. Defeated Bluestars captain Bartels-Swindells congratulated Rose Tree in his post-game comments for what he called “a stellar performance in a remarkable final.” He said his boys had forced Rose Tree to dig deep to produce such a performance in what was, to his eyes, a fairly even game. He gave a shoutout to his “trio of attackers, whose goals made them believe they could win the game, his midfielders for working incredibly hard on both sides of the ball, and his defenders for giving up fewer chances than the scoreline would suggest.”
While he lamented that travel and injuries had deprived him of three starters here, he ended his remarks by reflecting on how far the team had come from its Tercera-winning season just prior to the pandemic and predicted big things for the future of the club.
Rose Tree Gunners FC: GOALS – Trepanier, Burris, Fletcher, Sylla, Dyson
Bluestars FC: GOALS – Gray (2), Blodget
MAN OF THE MATCH – Sylla: Rose Tree Gunners FC