SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR LIVE FEED OF TODAY’S PLAYOFF GAME!!!!
Having played twice in the last ten days these two teams knew each other well. But with Foothills FC winning the previous two outings, and this being an all or nothing win to make it through to the Western Conference Semi Finals, both teams knew it was going to be a good match. On a beautiful night with lots of fans and a perfect pitch it certainly didn’t disappoint.
It was a tight, evenly played match, with some significant chances throughout the game. The most important in the first half came in the 36’ when Foothills had a great build up, that was converted into a goal by Russo. It was a classic Russo move, as the league’s top goal scorer, which has been deadly in the oppositions box.
Half time score: Calgary Foothills FC U23 1–0
Sounders came out with a big push in the second half as they were dangerous from their set plays. Sounders were very well organised on their corner kicks and deserved their equaliser in the 47’ with a corner kick converted to a goal by Teupen with a scramble in the goal mouth.
Foothills responded to the pressure from Sounders, moving from five at the back to four at the back and four in the mid to get more coverage, as Sounders were exposing Foothills on the wings. Bringing Kyle Jones and Tofa Fakunle on gave fresh legs and changed the game. The tactical change allowed Foothills to stop the balls going out wide and bringing wingers in, stopping the Sounder’s crosses. Foothills had two attempts at goal that flew above the goal mouth but neither side could break the deadlock. A penalty kick in 55’ could have broken the tie, but Dylon Powley made likely the ‘biggest’ save of his young career in the second half that ensured the team went to extra time.
End of regulation 1 – 1, moved to the FIFA regulation, two fifteen minute periods of extra time.
Foothills showed their quality in extra time, with a goal for season solid player, Ajeej Sakaria. The players were getting tired in the warm evening of extra time and Sakaria capitalized on a Sounders defensive mistake, jumping on a through ball to put the home team into the lead 2-1 in the 105th minute.
Tofa Fakunle at the 112th minute was sent on a breakaway by Kyle Jones and with poise and grace directed the ball to the far side of the net away from the helpless keeper to score off the counter attack that put it out of Sounders reach. The crowd erupted and the youth teams flooded the pitch to celebrate with the players.
Final score Foothills FC 3 – 1 Seattle Sounders U23
Foothills FC Head Coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr said over the noise of the cheering fans after the game, “It’s hard to get my thoughts together, because, we were magnificent, and I don’t just mean in our performance, and the character that has kept us going all season. We went up a goal, and then they scored right away. I thought that Seattle were probably the better team in the second half. We had to weather the storm, they had some great deliveries from corners, they put in some unbelievable missile throw ins. We just had to play tough. We made a couple of tactical changes with Tofa and Jonesy coming in. Wow, I am just delighted, Ajeej Sakaria has just been great for us all season and he scores the winning goal. Tofa Fakunle is one of ours and he scored one to put it out of reach. Dylon Powley made a game changing save, I’m lost for words now.”
Tofa Fakunle added his thoughts, ”Unbelievable, unbelievable, I mean to come on, score, I did it against Portland, I told them I’d do it again today, unbelievable.” Looking to the Semi-finals in Tucson, Fakunle added,”It’s something I wanted. I’ve got a team mate in Tucson who plays there right now, I’ve told him we’re coming, and we are coming. We’re ready. It’s play-off time, we’ll take it one game at a time, but we’ll take it, we’re ready.”
Foothills will now travel to Tucson Arizona to play the semi-finals of the Western Conference.
GAME WILL BE LIVE ON YOUTUBE!! Game time 7 p.m. MST Click video below for live feed:
Thanks to all the fans who came out, with over 1,100 people in attendance this was a night for Calgary Sport to celebrate an historic win, in their last home game. The team would like to thank all the fans, the Foothills Academy, Fans from other youth clubs, Calgary West, Blizzards and Rangers were well represented, soccer fans and especially the Footsoldiers whose chants and presence has been brilliant all season.
Man of the Match as voted by the fans was Elijah Adekugbe, against some tough opposition as all the lads played well.
Full time: Calgary Foothills FC U23 3 – 1 Seattle Sounders U23
Russo 36’ Tuepen ‘48
Fouls 42’ Adekugbe – yellow 26’ Biornethen – Yellow
66’ Russo – Yellow 79’ Aquinaga – Yellow
88’ Crisker – Yellow
110’ Teupen – Yellow
FC Tucson, who earned the top seed in the Western Conference during the regular season, will host the Western Conference Championship at Kino North Stadium, in Tucson, Arizona on Friday and Saturday. Foothills FC will play FC Golden State Force in the first semifinal at 7 p.m. MST. The final will kick off at 8:30 p.m. MST on Saturday.
ABOUT FOOTHILLS FC
Foothills FC has a mandate to bring professional soccer to Calgary for both Men’s Soccer (PDL) and Women’s Soccer. Foothills FC is supported by Calgary Foothills Soccer Club which has achieved success at Provincial, National and International levels to provide a solid foundation for the franchise. Foothills FC believes that Calgary is a world class city and that the youth of Calgary deserve to have professional opportunities for advancement. The team thank the following sponsors for their support, we couldn’t do it without you: Rogers Insurance, PetroTranz, The Cooperators Insurance Group, Telus, A2Z Kids Education, Strikers and #50Names.
ABOUT SEATTLE SOUNDERS U23
Sounders FC U-23, formerly the Tacoma Tide, have partnered with the Sounders FC to serve as a development platform for the Sounders FC first team. The Sounders FC U-23s is coached by Darren Sawatzky, Sounders FC director of youth development and the team has been a member of the PDL’s Northwest Division since 2006. “By now having an affiliated PDL program, Sounders FC has added an additional piece to our Youth Development Program, creating a bridge between our academy teams and our Major League Soccer first team,” said General Manager Adrian Hanauer. “This allows our college-age players to continue their development and further prepare themselves for the opportunity to compete at the highest possible level and potentially wear the Rave Green someday at CenturyLink Field.”
Seattle Sounders U23 Team former stars include DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur – EPL), Eric Stevenson (New York Red Bulls – MLS) and Sean Okoli (New England Revolution – MLS).
The proven developmental leader in North American soccer’s evolving tiered structure, the PDL features 67 teams within four conferences throughout the United States and Canada, including 10 teams affiliated with USL Pro or Major League Soccer clubs. The PDL season consists of 14 regular season matches for each team, seven home and seven away, and provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility. The PDL allows soccer players to compete in a professional setting while still maintaining their NCAA and MLS SuperDraft eligibility. As a result, the PDL can showcase the best of college, foreign and fledgling superstars in one league to allow pro-scouts to accurately determine who is ready for the next level. Recent statistics have shown 35% of the players in the MLS have played at the PDL level which illustrates the effectiveness of the North American Pathway.
Story Credit: Calgary Foothills FC U23