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MSA Cup Final this weekend @ WSC


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Looks like we should have some pretty good football weather for Thursday's semi-finals and Saturday's final for the 2007 edition of Winnipegs favourate football tourament, the MSA Cup. Cup Champions of course representing Manitoba at the Challenge Cup in Halifax this October.

Lucania have owned this tournament the past few years but not in 2007 as FC Lusitania knocked the defending champions out in the quarter finals earlier this week.

Thursday's semi-finals feature Hellas vs Sons of Italy Lions at 6:30 (boo! Cheeta's got footie) in what should be the feature match of the evening followed by Ital-Inter vs FC Lusitania at 8:30 (Yeaaa. Cheeta can make this one).

The final will kickoff 7:30 Saturday, August 18th.

All matches will be played on Field 1 at Winnipeg Soccer Complex. As per usual there is an admission fee ($3-$5 whatever) with the gate proceeds going toward the Champions travel expences for the Challenge Cup.

Should be fun. Make it out if you can as the Cup Final more often then not is usualy very entertaining, very intensive and quite often a bit loopy.

(Hellas vs FC Lusitania with Lusitania going to Halifax. But then what the Hell do I know?)

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Got it half right.

Both SoI Lions and FC Lusitania went through on 1-nil victories and will appear in Saturdays final. Missed the 1st match but the Hellas players were visibly upset. Not sure if it was with themselves or an unjust result but they were clearly disappointed either way.

For the later match, truth be told the wind made for a tough night for anything of any great quality and the Inter-Lusitania match had trouble finding a rythym. Lusitania needed an hour or so to find a goal (on a bit of a scramble I might add) and then managed to cheat the hang man. Very, very late into the match a desperate shirt pull in Lusitania's box on an Inter break-away was missed by absolutely nobody but the ref, but that's the way she goes some nights. Ital-Inter nil, FC Lusitania one.

Sons of Italy Lions vs FC Lusitania for the MSA Cup Saturday and the responsability of representing Manitoba at the Challenge Cup.

P.S. No beer tent Thursday. Here's hoping we see one Saturday evening.

P.S.S. For those who haven't been to WSC since it re-opened this spring be advised the main pitch (field 1) is a cow pasture. The ball cannot travel 2 foot on any part of the surface without hopping up off of some grand divet and the grass has to be 5 inches long in places. Long grass during high summer, sure, but in mid August? If you want to play the ball on the deck it's like trying to pass in snow. Oh look! Watch your pass "die" in the weeds...

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Sons of Italy Lions will be going to Halifax. The clubs 1st appearance at the Challenge Cup in what has to be five or six years.

Bit of a better evening Saturday for football. Still fairly windy and cool but good football weather all the same. Kick-Off was delayed as the U18 final went into overtime. (Bonivital winning on a goal in the 1st overtime and South End unable to reply.)

Final turned into a pretty good match all in all. Lusitania had more jump and the better part of the play in the 1st half and really put the Lions to the test. Good ball movement, aggressive defending, and a willingness to strive towards goal. Play was broken by too many whistles and wayward passes so the match didn't really get into a consistent flow until later into the half when both sides started to settle in. Even for all their positive movement and the play tilting towards the Lions goal Lusitania didn't seriously threaten. Sawatzky had to be solid on a couple of plays, there was some touch-and-go defending by the Lions but Lusitania couldn't get enough done around the Lions penalty area to feel hard done by in not having a lead a half time. The way the match had evolved to that point though, the concensus in the grandstand was it would only be a matter of time before Lusitania took the lead. Sons of Italy had been pushed back onto the ropes.

Don't know what sort of oranges the Lions got at half time, or if they got an inspirational talk worthy of legend but the Lions came out of the dressing room a changed team as it were.

There was a jump in their legs and a decision in their play which had been driven from them in the 1st half. It wasn't long after the restart when a Lions movement down Lusitania's left produced some desperate defending and a scrambled goal by the Lions Justin Parry. One-nil Lions at the 55th or so.

Sons of Italy had the upper hand for the 2nd half to that point but Parry's goal lit a fire and Lusitania responded almost immediately, rightfully being awarded a penalty within minutes. Sawatzky subsequently made an outstanding save (off of Lusitania's impressive Sacremento) and Lusitania continued to press.

With the field opening, the Lions started to trade opportunities at goal even as the individual battles heating up all over the field of play producing some entertaining and intensive sub-plots for all those in attendance.

Lions Adam Hajkonsky leapt on his opportunity to provide a measure of welcome relief and a 2-nil cushion for his side at around the 65 minute. Another untidy, scrappy goal by Sons of Italy, but they were going into the goal and that's all the score sheet ever remembers.

Within minutes though Lusitania scored a nice volley from top of the box to set up a grandstand finish. Lusitania's Chris Lourenco scoring a nice one time volley as the ball cannoned out to him after another outstanding close-range save by Steve Sawatzky.

And that was it really. Lusitania's bullet had been spent and for all the minds willing the bodies couldn't respond. Tired legs on both sides mixed in with the maximum substitutions still provided for some wisps of opportunity for both sides. A bit of luck, good or bad depending on your point of view, coupled with Lusitania's upright kept the score at Sons of Italy Lions-2 FC Lusitania-1 until the final whistle.

Man of the Match; Steve Sawatzky (SoI) with honourable mention for Ken Sacramento (FC Lusitania).

Officiating; Dodgy at best. Not the ref or the lines mens best night. Even for amateur football.

Attendance; Guessing about 350. At BEST 400. Being combined with the U18s the numbers were higher earlier on. Poorest turnout for any Cup final I've ever been to, and I've been to a few. Weather? Final being later in the season? Don't know.

Disclaimer; With the return to WSC and personal commitments I've seen precious little local football this year. Took no notes during the match and am going by what many consider my crap memory. Apologies for any inaccuracies. They are/were unintentional. Used the match "program" for spelling players names.

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Sons of Italy triumph over Lusitania for MSA Cup


Thanks in large part to Steve Sawatzky's educated guess, the Sons of Italy Lions are headed back to nationals.

The Sons of Italy edged FC Lusitania 2-1 in last night's Manitoba Soccer Association Cup senior men's final in front of 600 spectators at Winnipeg Soccer Complex.

The Lions will compete in the national tournament in Halifax in October. Last night's triumph gave them their fourth MSA Cup title since 1996 and first since 2002, when they went on to capture a Canadian crown.

"It's been like a bad dream almost," Lions player-coach Tony Nocita said of the last four seasons. "Because if you look at our record in the last three or four years, I would say probably out of 100 games we've won 95 and lost just a Cup game or two."

Thanks to Sawatzky, the Sons goalkeeper, their MSA Cup losing streak was in no danger of continuing last night.

Shortly after Justin Parry gave the Lions a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute, Lusitania was awarded a penalty kick. Ken Sacremento took the shot for an injured Sanel Mendin and fired a bullet towards the left corner.

Unfortunately for Sacremento, that's exactly where Sawatzky was headed.

"A lot of times it comes down to nerves a little bit and a little bit of luck," said Sawatzky, who has been with the Lions since they were incorporated 12 years ago.

"I just had a feeling that was the way that he was going to go, based on the way that he plays a little bit. I made my mind up I was going that way early."

It was a huge save, and 14 minutes later 20-year-old Adam Hajkowski put the Lions up 2-0. Chris Lourenco, in the 69th minute, got Lusitania on the board, but it couldn't get the equalizer.

"That save was a key," Lusitania manager Rick Moreira said. "You have to give the goalie credit. That's why he's one of the best. It was a great save. It definitely was a game-breaker."

In the senior women's final yesterday afternoon, Laura Locke and Karli Colpitts both scored twice to propel Sweat Shack past Team United 4-1. Stephanie Rurak had the lone goal for United.

Meanwhile, in the under-18 boys' and girls' provincial finals yesterday, the Bonivital Flames ruled the pitch.

Ben Getachew scored in overtime to lead Bonivital past South End United 1-0 in the boys' final, while Ali Kastner had the only goal in the Flames' 1-0 victory over the Northern Lights.

The senior women's nationals are also in Halifax, at the same time as the men's event, while both Bonivital squads will compete at the under-18 national tournament in Fredericton, also in October.

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