Springfield Demize capture MASL 3 Midwest title
Springfield Demize have made their mark on the Major Arena Soccer League 3 history book by capturing the 2022 Midwest division crown. They were one of four teams who met in Wichita, Kansas January 19-20 to determine a division winner.
Springfield would meet a strengthened FC Wichita side in the semifinals, with a roster that featured members of the Wichita Wings MASL 2 team. FC Wichita is the development partner of the Wichita Wings. In the end it was the veteran Demize who would advance with a 13-10 victory.
FC Wichita were firing on all cylinders early on scoring just :30 into the game off of a free kick. They would follow up with a pair of goals in the opening three minutes to take a 3-0 advantage. The Demize would get on the board later in the quarter with a goal from captain Erik Periera and then Fransico Delgados scored with less then two minutes remaining in the quarter would close the gap to 4-2.
Jared Robbins opened scoring in the second on a powerplay goal to make it 5-2, but the Demize would battle back before the break goals from Desmond Williams, Dominque "The Hulk" Salcedo and Abou Diallo. FC Wichita led at halftime 6-5.
The beginning of the third quarter would see the the second seeded Demize show their quality with three goals helping to take the lead for the first time in the match. Moises Jacobo and Stephen Al Sayed were the goal scorers. The lead would be short-lived though as Wichita would not give up and battled back to tie the game 8-8 with a late goal in the quarter from Guilherme Oliveira. Finishing with four goals Oliveria would account for almost half of the FC Wichita offense.
With the ejection of the Demize veteran defender Steven Al Sayed for multiple yellow cards late in the third quarter the Demize seemed to be thrown off track conceding two quick goals by Thomas Morton and Oliveira early in the fourth.
Demize keeper Joal Barroso, who had a spectacular third quarter keeping the Demize comeback intact as he thwarted multiple goal scoring opportunities during FC Wichita's two-man advantages, would need to be replaced after his blood pressure dropped. Starter Nico Helin would reenter the match and would not concede a goal in the remainder of the fourth quarter.
Trailing 10-8 Demize man of the match Abou Diallo would answer with two back-to-back goals. This powered the Springfield offense who would score five unanswered goals in the last ten minutes to clinch the victory. Saledo scored what turned out to be the game winner with a left footed blast to the lower corner. Desmond Williams would score one of the team's final goals as FC Wichita went with the sixth attacker late in the match.
The second semifinal had Sunflower State FC and the top seeded Des Moines United face off in a game that saw United score first and often. Sunflower kept the game close in the first half, but Des Moines would never trail in the game and eventually punch their ticket to the final with a 15-9 win.
Semifinal results set up a match between the top two seeds, but it was Sprinfield who would outplay Des Moines United for the majority of the game on their way to an 11-6 victory.
Demize kept United off their game by playing low pressure defense making it difficult for their talented individual players to utilize their technical ability to break defenders down in 1v1 situations. The tactics implemented by Demize head coach Chris Hanlon worked throughout with Demize scoring two goals in the first quarter. Alvaro Hernandez and Vinny Albino were the goal scorers. Springfield would never trail in the game taking a 5-2 halftime lead on goals by Gerald Valera, Periera and Diallo.
The second half began with some fireworks as both teams were shown blue cards leading the teams playing shorthanded, four-on-four. This benefited the Demize as they would take a 7-3 lead into the fourth quarter.
Des Moines would fight back in the final quarter tallying three goals, but Springfield would answer with two goals each by Desmond Williams and Diallo. For Diallo, it was his second hat trick in less then twenty-four hours.
Next up for the Springfield Demize is a February 26 fixture at home (Lake Country Soccer) against Wichita Selection in the first round of the US Indoor Soccer Open Cup. A member of the PASL, Wichita Selection currently sit in second place among 20 teams in the amateur competition.