FRISCO, Texas -- Only one team from the Greater Chicago area has won a Dallas Cup age division championship in the last six years, but the Chicago Magic PSG USSF U15/16 Academy is attempting to change that.
Led by Erik Rodriguez’s pair of goals, the Magic polished off the PAC Tigres from San Jose, Calif., 3-1 on Friday in a Under-17 quarterfinal Cup match at FC Dallas Park.
“We keep getting better,” said Rodriguez, who has four goals in four tournament matches. “The climate is very different here and we’re adjusting to it.”
Alex Ayala staked the Magic to a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute. Then Rodriguez, a 5-9, 155-pound striker, made it 2-0 with a right-footed shot from 10 yards out in the 19th minute. His interception of a return pass intended for the Tigres keeper led to the goal that made it 3-0.
“I’ll try to make an interception like that maybe once or twice a match,” Rodriguez said. “Most of the time, it is a waste of energy. But this time, I had perfect timing. Then it was just me and the keeper.”
To reach Sunday’s final at the main stadium, Magic will have to get past Rot Weiss Essen of Germany in a Saturday semifinal.
The last Chicago-area Dallas Cup champion was U15 Sockers FC in 2008.
OVERTIME ALL GOOD FOR MARYLAND’S RANGERS: Not until Jorge Quintanilla’s overtime goal, a blast from 25 yards, did the OBGC Rangers enjoy a lead in their U16 quarterfinal match. The shot came off the midfielder’s dominant left foot and found its way into the upper corner of the net.
The Rangers, from Olney, Md., later added a second overtime goal and defeated Milan FC of Turlock, Calif., 4-2. Midfielder Sean Cowdrey and forward Marcos Moradel added goals for the winners.
“An overtime goal that puts your team up, that’s a great feeling,” said Quintanilla, who also scored in regulation when the Rangers overcame deficits of 1-0 and 2-1. “We proved today is we don’t give up.”
The Rangers in Saturday’s semifinal will meet Arizona’s top-ranked team, FC Phoenix Academy.
FRAM KEEPER COMES UP BIG: It wasn’t enough that Fram Premier keeper Madison Gesser kept a clean sheet through an entire match and a 20-minute overtime.
Now he was faced with a pressure-packed shootout that would determine if his team would advance to the U16 semifinal round or return home to Southern California.
“In the course of a season, we’ll have about four shootouts,” Gesser said. “It’s my favorite part of the game.”
Gesser stymied Southern California rival West Coast FC with two blocks, making a 3-2 edge in spot kicks stand up for a 1-0 victory. In the five rounds of attempts, Gesser made two sprawling blocks, including the match clincher.
“I pick a side and dive,” said the 6-4 Gesser. “I try to read which way they are going. I really don’t feel like there’s pressure.”
Gesser stopped two shots with his wrists. A third West Coast attempt sailed over the crossbar.
Lucas Hodges, Josh Fennell and Ryosuke Inaba converted on their kicks from the spot for Fram.
SOLAR CHELSEA KEEPS DALLAS HOPES ALIVE: Dallas teams had a strong start in the tournament, but going to the final weekend Solar Chelsea can boast the only two North Texas survivors.
Solar Chelsea USSF U15/16 Academy earned a berth in an U17 semifinal with a 3-1 victory over Arsenal FC USSF U15/16 Academy of Temecula, Calif.
Solar goals were supplied by Yima Asom, Cameron Drackett and Chris Mendez. The team will advance to meet the defending U17 champion Tigres of Monterrey, Mexico. Mexican teams have won the U17 division four straight years.
Solar’s U17/18 USSF Academy team earned a berth in the U19 semifinals with a 5-2 victory over Pateadores from Mission Viejo, Calif.
MATCH OF THE DAY: It took eight rounds of penalty kicks to settle the U17 quarterfinal between Germany’s Rot Weiss Essen and hometown entry FC Dallas USSF U15/16 Academy.
The Germans finally prevailed 5-4 in penalty kicks, despite a heroic effort from FC Dallas keeper Jesse Gonzalez, who suffered a finger injury early in the shootout, but managed to continue and even scored the final goal from the spot for his team.
FC Dallas, shooting last in the shootout, answered Essen goals in the sixth and seventh round. But the German keeper made a stop in the eighth round to end it.
The Germans scored twice in a five-minute span of the second half to wipe out a 2-0 FC Dallas lead. Neither team could score in overtime.
Abdulrahman Yassine, who scored the second FC Dallas goal on a penalty kick, was injured shortly thereafter and was lost to his team for the remainder of the match.
NOTES -- FC Phoenix Academy, unscored on in its first three matches, finally gave up a tournament goal, two in fact, in a 3-2 U16 quarterfinal victory. After going down a man after a red card, Sergio Benitez and Miguel Acevedo scored for CZ Elite of Pasadena, Calif. Phoenix built a 3-0 lead on goals by Damian German, Aidan Raj and Jose Fierro. … Another Pasadena side, FC Golden State, had better luck, scoring three goals in overtime for a 6-3 U16 quarterfinal victory over Prepa Tec FB of Monterrey, Mexico. Sebastian Aquirre scored in the final minute of regulation to tie the score at 3 and force overtime. Bivaldo Barrera’s goal in the first minute of overtime put Golden State on top. Aquirre and Ricardo Cardenas added insurance.