Strikers derail Outkast in familiar fashion
No goal went unanswered and no spectator left Monday's epic championship clash in the U-19 boys division unsatisfied at the 15th annual Rogue Valley Cup soccer tournament.
And when the back-and-forth game of top this finally concluded, it was deja vu all over again for both squads.
The Portland OSA Strikers survived a gut-wrenching overtime and shootout session to repeat as U-19 champions with a 6-5 triumph over the Phoenix FC Outkast at North Medford High in a rematch of last year's championship final.
Like last season's shootout victory, OSA Strikers' goalkeeper Quinn Hess stopped two critical shots in the shootout, with the last thwarted on-goal attempt sealing the victory for the Portland team and setting off a massive on-field celebration following over 21/2 hours of soccer.
Hess guessed correctly and dove to his left to knock down a shot from Phoenix's sixth and final shooter, Steven Shafer.
"It's a little bit of guessing, a little bit of reading the player and probably a little bit of divine intervention," said Hess, a 17-year-old Sherwood High student, of his game-saving stop. "It was a great game. It kinda sucks it had to end in a shootout, but it was a great game."
The contest featured four goals from Phoenix's Rodrigo Ramos and a hectic stretch early in the second half of regulation where the teams combined for four goals in a span of around five minutes.
Neither side led by more than one goal and each team had credible scoring looks turned away by strong play from the keepers and defenders.
"I'm lost for words," Phoenix coach Tom Wimmer said. "This has to be one of the greatest championship games in U-19 in the tournament's history. It was unbelievable."
Phoenix keeper Junior Luviano stopped the first shot he faced in the shootout but Hess answered with a denial of his own on the Outkast's second attempt.
Each team converted their next three attempts until Hess came through with the game-ending save.
"It's the same thing as last year, only that game was tied 1-1 not 5-5," OSA Strikers' coach Hope Glenn said. "This is such a great group of boys. We only had two subs the whole weekend in five games. They played their hearts out."
Both sides showed equal amounts of grit to keep the action going on Monday.
Phoenix, which became the first team in the tournament's history to shut out four straight opponents for two consecutive years over games on Saturday and Sunday, rallied from four deficits — two in overtime — to stay alive.
Adrian Butwoaga gave Portland the game's first goal on a penalty kick in the 25th minute of the contest.
Phoenix tied the game in the eighth minute of the second half when Ramos worked the ball to the middle of the field and ripped a right-footed goal into the left corner of the net.
Ramos' goal set off a string of goals over a wild next few minutes where no lead was safe.
Jared Stensland converted on a header for Portland two minutes after Ramos' first goal, but Shafer answered right back one minute later to tie at 2-all.
Phoenix took its first lead in the 58th when Alex Murray lofted a ball into the box and Ramos came swooping in to deposit a header past Hess.
But again, Portland came back, this time off the foot of Mark Kincaid to tie the game at 3-all in the 75th and send the teams to overtime.
Fikret Sacirovic scored on a rebound shot for Portland in the first minute of overtime before Ramos locked things up again at 4-4 on a penalty kick.
Butwoaga delivered possibly the games' most eye-pleasing score later in OT. With all the action pushed about 30 yards from goal in the corner, Butwoaga slipped unnoticed to the right side of the goal mouth. The ball was sent towards goal and Butwoaga dove to his right and skipped the ball off his head and into the unoccupied corner of the net.
"That was pretty. Oh, that was amazing," exclaimed a Portland assistant coach.
Not to be outdone, Ramos delivered with only about five minutes remaining in overtime with a one-touch rocket from about 25 yards out.
"It was just back-and-forth," said Wimmer. "My guys gave their hearts out there. Some of them travelled 450 miles, others 300 miles to play with us.
"I'm sure we outshot them but it had to go to shootout and anything can happen there."
And it did, much to the delight of all those in attendance.
RVSC FC SO United survived a rematch with the RVSC Lazers to claim a 3-2 victory in overtime in the championship match at North Medford High.
United, which defeated the Lazers 1-0 on Sunday, rallied from a 2-1 deficit to force overtime.
Lorine Cruz scored all three goals for United.
"It was an outstanding game," said RVSC United coach Hector Cruz. "Both teams were playing great. They probably deserved to win as much as we did."
Lorine Cruz put RVSC United ahead before Shanae Coker scored the equalizer on a penalty kick following a hand ball and Kellie Satterfield put the Lazers up 2-1 on a header.
Cruz answered with about 10 minutes remaining in the game to send the contest into overtime, then put the championship into United's corner with an OT goal.
"This game says a lot about the Rogue Valley and the quality of soccer here," said coach Cruz. "To have two Rogue Valley teams playing in the championship was nice to see.
"I think, with these championship games being 90 minutes, our depth made a big difference."
U11 — Championship, RVSC Blackhawks def. RVSC Venom, no score reported; Third place, Heartbreakers 96 Maroon def. Grants Pass Storm, no score reported.
U12 — Championship, RVSC Power Strikers 1, Quicksilver 0; Third place, Lightning 6, FC Spark 0.
U13 — Championship, Netrippers 2, SR United Storm 1; Third place, Velocity 4, Red Hots 3.
U14 — Championship, RVSC Hot Cleats 4, Chaos 0; Third place, Strikers 5, Lightning 1.
U15 & U17 — Championship, Grants Pass United 2, Mad River United 0; Nitro 3, Humboldt Torrent 2.
U17 CLASSIC — Championship, ASC Supernova 4, Carson Valley Backdraft 2; Third place, FC Sting 5, Sparks Titans 3.
U19 — Championship, RVSC FC SO United 3, RVSC Lazers 2 (OT); Third place, RSU Crush def. TRSC Panthers, no score reported.
U10 — Championship, Steelheaders 3, Panthers 2; Third place, Torrent def. Devil Rays, no score reported.
U11 — Championship, San Juan Blue Lightning def. Solano Seahawks, no score reported; Third place, Rebels def. RVSC Lightning, no score reported.
U12 — Championship, Tahoe United 1, TNT 0; Third place, RVSC Shockwave 4, Atomics 0.
U14 — Championship, Juventud 5, ASC United 0; Third place, FC Arsenal 4, Los Pumas 2.
U16 — Championship, Finale 1, Rapids 0; Third place, Nike Rush 2, San Jose 1.
U16 CLASSIC — Championship, Tsunami 4, ASC Spartans 3, shootout.
U17 — Championship, RVSC FC SO United 2, Predators 0; Third place, RUSH 3, Celtics 2.
U19 — Championship, OSA Strikers 6, FC Outkast 5, shootout; RVSC United vs. FC Humboldt, no score reported.
Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 776-4483, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org