Lehigh Valley United 93 Pennsylvania scored a goal in the first half and made it stand up for a 1-0 victory Saturday over the Chicago Fire Academy in the United States Youth Soccer Association’s under-19 boys national championship game.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
The match was played at the Overland Park Soccer Complex.
It was the first national title for Lehigh Valley. The two teams met on Friday with the match ending up in a 1-1 tie.
“We wanted to do what did (Friday) but only better,” coach Greg Ramos said. “We wanted to play with confidence and composure.”
The only goal in the match came in the 34th minute. The assist went to Timothy Lazorko and the goal to Shane Campbell.
“I separated from my defender and glanced at the keeper,” Campbell said. “He was off his line so I decided to go the near post.”
Campbell will be a sophomore at Penn State this fall and plays defense in college.
“It was a lot of fun to play offense and win it with this bunch of guys.”
Chicago Fire Academy had a great chance to tie the match in the 80th minute.
One of their players was taken down in the penalty area and the team was awarded a penalty kick.
Joseph Calistri took the penalty kick.
“I guessed he was going left and he did,” keeper Logan Keys said.
Calistri actually missed wide left.
Keys will be a redshirt freshman at Long Island University this fall and he has had a lot of experience with penalty kicks.
The team won three matches leading up to the national tournament via penalty kicks after regulation and overtime periods.
He only faced three shots in this match.
“You have to stay in tune with the game when there are not a lot of shots,” he said.
He was pleased with the national title.
“This is the best feeling I’ve had in my 19 years,” he said. “We battled through injuries and to do it with kids I’ve grown up with is great.”
Lazorko in addition to his assist was a key cog defensively.
“They have sound players,” said Lazorko, who will be a sophomore at St. Joseph in Philadelphia. “We needed to communicate well and not allow them lanes to shoot.”
Colton Storm graduated from high school early and spent a semester at North Carolina. He will be a freshman there this fall.
“We had to play together and not as individuals,” said Storm, a defensive midfielder. “We had to play defense and take our chances.”
Coach Ramos was impressed with the Overland Park Soccer Complex.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “It’s the best I’ve seen.”