[ SOCCER ]
Bulls win national title
The Honolulu Soccer Club Bulls captured the Under-19 National title yesterday at the United States Youth Soccer Championships at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The Bulls defeated the '84 CASL Elite (N.C.) 3-2 to win the James P. McGuire Cup in the first trip to this tournament by a Hawaii team.
"This is huge for our players. Nobody expected us to win it," said coach Phil Neddo. "If I hear Cinderella team one more time, I'm going to shoot someone. I told the team we were the stepsisters and we went out and scored nine goals in four matches."
Matt Fischer got the Bulls off to an early lead with a goal in the sixth minute. Duke Hashimoto took a corner kick and the Bulls ran a set play to set up the score.
"Brandon Tario baited two defenders out of the play, then let the ball run through his legs to Fischer," said Neddo.
Satoshi Mitsuda upped the lead to 2-0 with a goal in the 26th minute after receiving a pass from David Gualdarama on the right side.
"It was a typical Mitsuda goal," said Neddo. "He beat a defender, cut in, pushed the ball ahead and the CASL goalkeeper thought he had a chance for it. But Sato beat him (Justin Hughes, who flew in for yesterday's match from Ireland, where he was playing the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team) to the ball and just walked it into the goal."
Mitsuda was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament in his division.
"I thought I had a good tournament, but I hoped people didn't overlook the other players on our team that played key roles like (goalkeeper) David Semenza and (sweeper) Stephen Carlson), said Mitsuda. "The award is awesome, but it really hasn't sunk in yet."
Russell Bienias cut the HSC lead in half with a goal in the 59th minute, but Hashimoto responded with the Bulls' third goal in the 63rd minute.
Nordic Cup team wins: The United States Under-21 Women's National Team moved a step closer to a berth in the 2004 Nordic Cup championship game with a 3-0 victory over Norway yesterday at Olafsfjordur, Iceland.
Hawaii Rainbow Wahine striker Natasha Kai played the first 74 minutes but did not score. The Americans outshot their opponents 22-1.
Sarah Huffman broke a scoreless deadlock in the 37th minute with a goal from 12 yards out off a cross from Kelly Wilson on the right flank. Wilson then scored the final two U.S. goals with assists from Keeley Dowling and Manya Makoski.
"We were a lot sharper than in the opening game. We connected better and had a lot more energy," said U.S. coach Chris Petrucelli.
Tomorrow, the Americans play Germany -- tied by Finland 0-0 yesterday -- for the right to advance to Thursday's title match against Sweden. The Swedes clinched the top spot in Group A with a 1-0 win over England yesterday.
The U.S. can advance with a tie against Germany, but the Germans need to defeat the American to reach the championship showdown.
"We have good chemistry, especially in our forwards" said Wilson, whose goals were her first at the international level. "Tasha has tremendous speed and great athleticism, Carli (Lloyd) is great on the ball and a great dribbler, and I'm more of a crosser and finisher in front of the goal. We complement each other really well."
U.S. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart posted her second shutout of the tournament and only had to make one save to do so.
Talking about Germany, Petrucelli said, "They are a very good team, although they didn't play very well today. As fatigue starts to hit in your third and fourth games of the tournament, I am hoping our fitness starts to become a factor."