Dos Equis midfielder Larry Bocian delicately chips West Side's keeper Bryce Albert, only to have the ball lift over the bar. Dos Equis won the encounter 2-1 and will play Roma in next week's final. Herald photo by Gary Pearson
--PRINCE ALBERT-- Dos Equis FC created an abundance of chances during their semifinal encounter versus West Side UTD and won the game 2-1, booking their place in Sunday's grand final.
As usual, West Side's Chris Wilson tormented the opposing defence with darting cross-field runs, which led to the game’s first chance. He was sent through on goal only to poke wide of the bottom-right corner.
West Side had little in the way of opportunities in the match, relying too often on shots from afar. But they made a good account of themselves in the first half, and in the 17th minute created a moment of pure class, which culminated with Ryan Kennedy's improbable half-volley from an acute angle sizzling inches wide.
Ten minutes later Dos Equis opened their account. A high arching corner was played into the mixer and Larry Bocian was first to react, heading the ball across goal to a grateful Jessie Honch, whose composure in front of goal was required to head home.
Bocian, Dos Equis’ maestro in midfield, had a blinder going forward, exemplifying a deft touch on the ball time after time. He and Wilson combined all afternoon, giving West Side’s defence fits.
“That’s what we are mostly trying to do, get our short passes well put together,” said 29-year-old Bocian, whose South American background is reflected by his play on the pitch. “Right from the back, a lot of them are passes over the top but I find when we carry the ball it’s a little better.”
West Side, however, pulled the goal back in the 31st minute from an innocuous looking ball, which Adam Harasyn latched onto in a flash. Dos Equis’ keeper John Horn could only slow Harasyn’s bullet as it climbed into the top of the mesh to level the account.
If not for a picture-perfect slide tackle by Dos Equis’ Bart De Marie, West Side may have enjoyed a 2-1 lead at the break. Logan Darbashire was through on goal, but De Marie came sprawling across to make the emphatic last-second challenge. The score remained level at the half.
Dos Equis dominated proceedings in the second half, creating numerous opportunities. But lacklustre finishing kept West Side in the match, albeit by a hair.
Bocian blasted a dipper from another area code, which struck the post on the bounce preserving the tie. But Dos Equis found the eventual winner in the 48th minute, when Wilson coolly slotted home from the penalty spot after a definite West Side infringement in the box.
“We knew they are a high-skilled team, but so are we,” said West Side’s keeper and co-captain Bryce Albert, who helped keep his team afloat. “It’s just the way it goes, they got their chances and capitalized.”
Albert, 21, said after being eliminated that West Side would return as a more experienced and stronger unit next season.
With the 2-1 win, Dos Equis booked an encounter in the final on Sunday, Aug. 14 at Kinsmen Field versus the other semifinal victor, Roma.
You can follow Gary Pearson on Twitter: @newagejourno