Adult Soccer Association
|Once again, Danbury United SC of the Shoreline Adult Soccer League (SASL) Over-30s
First Division were Connecticut's sole representatives in the USASA Over-30 National Cup. If other teams from Connecticut
had entered they would have played off to see who represented the state in the USASA Region I (Northeast) tournament.
Danbury United were to go further in a USASA National Cup for any age group than any other team in Connecticut soccer history. Here is their road to the final four in 2008.
|USASA Region I (Northeast):|
|Since no other team entered from Connecticut, Danbury United progressed directly to the Region I tournament. Eight other teams had also reached the Region I tournament, so Danbury United and Boston Bulldogs were drawn to play each other in a qualification game to be played at Danbury. The winners would progress to the Quarter-Finals.|
|Region I Qualification Round -- Sunday, 27th April, 2008, 2:00 PM kick-off:|
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were unable to travel and there was no time to reschedule so Danbury United won by forfeit. While happy to progress, Danbury said they wished they could have played since playing games against challenging opponents like the Bulldogs was why they entered the National Cup in the first place.
|Region I Quarter-Finals -- Sunday, 18th May, 2008, 2:00 PM kick-offs:|
Danbury United's opponents in the Quarter-Finals were a Polish club, founded in 1952, from New Jersey called Garfield Vistula SC (http://www.vistulagarfield.com). Their adult team was top of the Champions Soccer League Premier Division (http://www.championsleaguesoccer.com) at the time.
The following is a report from Raphael Zribi, manager of Trumbull Tip Top, who travelled up to Danbury after his game in the morning to watch the action. The report is reproduced with kind permission from Rafa:
"Danbury United, one more time, has done it again with an excellent team that dominated the entire game to a nonexistent Polish club of New Jersey. They are a very skillful and physical team, but Danbury United knows how to handle teams of that caliber. Danbury United won 2-0.
"Congratulations to Danbury who had a result which represented the entire Connecticut soccer community.
"Danbury United have a very organized club and their hospitality is so incomparable."
Raphael, Trumbull Tip-Top Manager
|Region I Semi-Finals -- Sunday, 8th June, 2008, 2:00 PM kick-offs:|
Once again Danbury United were drawn at home. Their opponents were Wallace FC of Hockessin, Delaware who play in the New Castle County, Deleware men's fall soccer league (see http://www.nccde.org/sports/home/webpage15.asp). They won the 2007 Fall Men's A League with a record of 8 wins, 1 draw and no losses.
Danbury United's proud manager, Manny Cipriano, sent in this match report:
"Our game was played at 2:00 PM which was the hottest part of the day. Both teams had to deal with oppressive heat as it was in the mid 90s. It did slow down the pace of the game at times but both sides managed to display some quality soccer.
"We tested their defense early and often in the first half and had a couple golden opportunities to score but ended up near misses.
"Around the midway point of the first half we ended up getting our striker in alone with their 'keeper. As he was trying to fake him to go around him the 'keeper grabbed his legs and tackled him down resulting in a penalty kick. We converted to go up 1-0.
"The half ended with us holding the one goal lead.
"We used our quality depth in the second half to keep constant pressure on them and with about 20 minutes still remaining we broke through for our second goal.
"We combined a long run down the right sideline and a perfect pass to a streaking forward for the tap-in goal.
"The game ended with a 2-0 victory for Danbury United.
"I must mention that our defense was superb all day and did not allow Wallace FC hardly any scoring opportunities all game. It was a total team effort since not only did the starters play well but the subs came in and kept the same quality level of play.
"I am extremely fortunate that I have a roster of team players and have the confidence they will each contribute their best even when it is very hot and humid.
"Wallace FC was an experienced, fit team. They were very confident with the ball and moved it around well. They did not have as deep a bench as we did and most of them had to log a lot of minutes.
"Despite the hot weather they never tired and worked hard to the end. You could tell
they had played a lot together. A good group of guys also."
Heath Herrington of Bristol Italians sent in this report, reproduced with kind permission:
"As usual the facilities and atmosphere was second to none, being the fact that the Portugal Day festival was going on added even more of a buzz. Before the game started they had the music blasting and a group of parachutists landing on midfield, with the last person having the Portugal colors for his chute.
"Wallace FC looked like a very organized and focused team, as well as fit and physical. Word had it that the majority of the team was under 35.
"Danbury's roster was the exact same that we see versus them throughout the regular season with the exception of two players that both play in the open league [CSL], but are around thirty five. Only one of these players started the game.
"From the start Danbury took control of the game and kept it that way, making the ball do the work and attacking with numbers. Their defense was tough as nails, not allowing Wallace FC to get any rhythm whatsoever.
"With about 15 minutes to go in the first half, Danbury found one of their forwards down the right wing where he beat a defender and was fouled in the box by the 'keeper.
"Danbury converted and was up 1-0 at the half.
"Danbury made two subs at the half and took it to FC once again, dominating play and forcing the pace of the game.
"For those who have played Danbury, it is quite scary to see Will and Omar come in the game fresh after you have played 45 minutes, and on top of that being 95+ degrees.
"Ironically enough, that was the killer blow. Will could not be stopped and at one point hit a shot so hard from 30 yards out that the keeper looked like he saw a ghost and froze. Unfortunately, the shot smashed the crossbar and left the goal shivering.
"Moments later, another sub, who is the open league player, sprinted forty yards down the right mid, beating multiple players, and hit a perfect cross to the far post where Omar one-timed it for the second goal.
"The game ended with 7 minutes to play when a storm came blasting through and FC decided they had enough and wanted to hit the showers and eat rather than wait the storm out.
"Best of luck to Danbury in the next round."
|Region I Championship Final -- Sunday, 22nd June, 2008, 2:00 PM kick-off:|
I couldn't find much on Christos/Colts United FC except they play in an undetermined league in the Maryland State Soccer Association (http://www.marylandsoccer.com/cups/default.htm).
Danbury United's proud manager, Manny Cipriano, sent in this match report:
"We won our Regional Cup Final against the Christos/Colts from Maryland yesterday to advance to the National Cup Semi-Finals in Seattle on August 8th.
"The score was 2- 1. We played very well and controlled much of the match.
"We won in dramatic style after giving up a penalty kick goal after a hand-ball on the goal line, and having that player ejected with 25 minutes left to play, but we still managed to keep the pressure on them with 10 players.
"With only about 3 minutes of regulation time left our only striker made a nice run and unleashed a shot from at least 30 yards out that beat the keeper in the upper left hand corner of the net.
"They came at us with all they had in the final minutes but we managed to hold on for a well deserved win."
|USASA Over-30 National Cup Final Four -- Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila (Seattle), Washington:|
|Region I Champions:
Danbury United of Danbury, Connecticut.
Region II Champions:
2007 champions, Scott Gallagher SC, are a huge club in St. Louis, Missouri with many teams (http://www.scottgallagher.com). Their Over-30s team can be found at http://slsg.teammania.net/home-ctrl.do?view=3&grpId=934.
Region III Champions:
Kickers of Land O'Lakes, Florida play in the Premier Division of the Florida Suncoast Soccer League (http://www.fssl.com).
Region IV Champions:
Four-time winners of Region IV, 2007 runners-up and 2008 semi-finalists Big Ballers of Phoenix, Arizona play in the Rio Salado Adult Soccer League (http://www.rsasl.com), but here is a fantastic article about them: http://www.azcentral.com/community/tempe/articles/2008/05/21/20080521tr-soccer0521.html The key sentence here is "The Big Ballers, a male team composed mostly of Southeast Valley residents, are ex-professional players and college all-stars."
|As reigning champions, Scott Gallagher were huge favourites against Danbury United.
What was also in their favour was their youth. Practically the entire team was 32 years or younger, whereas Danbury
had many older players including some Over-40s and even at least one Over-50 player (Joe Carlos)!
It was no surprise then, that Scott Gallagher had most of the better of the play, but in the second half as Scott Gallagher tired and perhaps became a little sloppy, Danbury United came into the game and created several scoring opportunities.
Overall, Danbury probably had more scoring chances in this period than Scott Gallagher did in the entire regulation 90 minutes.
Danbury United had one shot in particular, with only five minutes to go, that almost put them into the Final. The shot hit the underside of the crossbar and the ball crashed down onto the goal line and out. Danbury had another shot in this spell that almost went in too. Scott Gallagher survived and the game went into 30 minutes extra time.
For a 100 minutes Scott Gallagher had been pounding Danbury's defence, but they only bent, never broke. As Danbury tired in the final 20 minutes, Scott Gallagher finally scored two goals.
The Danbury players watched Scott Gallagher beat Big Ballers from Arizona 1-0 in the Final and they felt they matched up to the Big Ballers very well.
Who knows, in the game against Scott Gallagher if that shot that hit the crossbar had bounced down over the goal line instead of onto it and out, it could have been Danbury United beating Big Ballers in the Final instead, and bringing back the USASA Over-30 National Cup to Connecticut.