For a game with little meaning there was a lot of drama. The Florida State Cup team that won the southeastern regional tournament last year met the AYSES ’94 team in the bracket championship game. Both teams move on to the quarterfinals on Tuesday regardless of today’s outcome. Each team was hoping to get out of play without any injuries or red cards. The game was full of unexpected drama.
As in the previous two games, the AYSES used a great deal of skill to maintain possession the majority of the first half. However the AYSES left two outstanding opportunities pass without a goal. Tony Santibanez hit the bar on the far post on a free kick and Isaac Urcuyo feigned a cross in the box to allow Chris Loftin a chance to put the ball in the net. It was executed perfectly except the Florida keeper made a great save. The game was 0-0 at halftime.
The second half took some unexpected turns. With 25 minutes gone in the first half Chris Lofton was fouled in the box and the AYSES were given a PK. For the second time in three days the opposing keeper kept the PK out of the net. Within 30 seconds of the AYSES missed PK the center referee called an inadvertent hand ball on a cross in the box. Although the AYSES players disagreed with the call the Florida team was awarded a PK and took the lead 1-0.
The AYSES controlled the ball and put pressure on the Florida team for the remainder of the 2nd half but were unable to hit the equalizer. As the bracket winner, Florida will move on to play Central Elite from Georgia and the AYSES will play BRSC from Luisiana in a rematch from Dallas Cup which AYSES won 3-1.
Only 8 out of the original 16 teams are left now that bracket play is over. Winning teams are given a day off to rest their legs and will begin the playoffs on Tuesday morning at 8:30 here in Greenville, South Carolina. The winner will be crowned on Thursday after playing three straight days.