Demize Claim M3's Midwest Division Championship
The Demize have made their mark on the Major Arena Soccer League history book by capturing the M3's first Midwest division crown. The final four weekend hosted in Wichita, Kansas, took place over January 19th & 20th.
The semi final match against a strengthened FC Wichita roster would see some Wings M2 players suit up for the home side. FC Wichita is the development partner of the Wichita Wings. The first three minutes of the first quarter saw Wichita firing on all cylinders with a goal 30 seconds into the game off of a free kick. This would be followed by two more goals to make the score line 3-0. The Demize would strike back off a goal from captain Erik Periera, this would spark the beginning of the Demize comeback. To end the 1st quarter both teams would each tally one more goal but #11 Fransico Delgados goal with less then two minutes remaining in the quarter would close the gap to 4-2.
The start of the 2nd quarter would see a goal by #5 Jared Robbins stretch the lead back to 3 goals on a power play goal. But the Demize would not go away with three goals were scored in the second quarter by #5 Desmond Williams, #7 Dominque "The Hulk" Salcedo and #22 Abou Diallo. Halftime would see the Demize close the gap with a 5-6 scoreline.
The beginning of the third quarter would see the the 2nd seeded Demize show their quality with three more goals which saw them take the lead for the first time in the match with goals by #3 Moises Jacobo and #2 Stephen Al Sayed. The lead would be shortlived as Wichita would not give up and tied the game 8-8 with a late goal in the quarter from #10 Guilherme Oliveira. Oliveria's impressive offensive effort would account for almost half FC Wichita's goals with a total of 4 in the game.
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 # 20 Thomas Morton and #10 Oliveira early in the fourth quarter. Demize keeper Joal Barroso had a spectacular third quarter where he was able to keep the Demize comeback intact as he thwarted multiple goal scoring opportunities during FC Wichita's two man up advantages. Barroso would need to come out after his blood pressure dropped and starter Nico Helin would reenter the match. Nico would not concede a goal in the remainder of the 4th quarter. With the momentum and lead 10-8 having shifted to the home side, Demize man of the match Abou Diallo would answer with two back to back goals of his own. This would spark the final momentum shift in the game and the Demize would score five unanswered goals in the last ten minutes, with the game winner score by #7 Domi "The Hulk" 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 game ended 13-10 and the match would be the highlight of the final four weekend with multiple lead changes and comebacks by both teams during the game.
The second semi final would see Sunflower State FC and the top seeded Des Moines United face off in a game that saw DM United score first and although Sunflower kept the game close in the first half, Des Moines would never trail in the game and eventually punch their ticket to the final against the Demize with a 15 - 9 win.
The final on Sunday would see the two top seeded teams face off for the Midwest Division championship title. The Demize would look to throw DM United off their game by playing low pressure defense and making it difficult to allow United's 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 with the Demize striking first scoring two goals in the 1st quarter with goals by #6 Alvaro Hernandez and #18 Vinny Albino. The Demize would never trail in the game and would take a 5-2 halftime lead on goals by #14 Gerald Valera, #10 Erik Periera and # 22 Abou Diallo. The Demize keeper Nico Helin would concede only 2 goals in the half and defensive tactics would continue to frustrate the United player throughout the game.
The second half would start with some fireworks as both teams would find themselves with blue cards leading the teams to play shorthanded, four against four. This would help the Demize as they would take a 7-3 lead into the fourth quarter. Des Moines would not go away in the final quarter tallying three goals but the Demize would answer with two goals each by #5 Desmond Williams and #22 Abou Diallo. Diallo had his second hat trick in less then twenty four hours. As a result the game would never really be in doubt. As the final whistle blew with the score 11-6, the Demize would claim the Midwest championship and punch their ticket to the potential national championship game to be held April 9th or 10th hosted in conjunction with the MASL 2 national championship weekend against the winner of the M3's Eastern Division.
The Demize will continue their season on February 26th at home (Lake Country Soccer) as the first stage of the US Open Arena Cup begins against the Wichita Selection currently ranked 3rd out of 16 teams in the Premier Arena Soccer League's national standings.
The Demize organization would like to acknowledge all of our coaches, players, fans, and supporters because without them we would not be able to compete at this level. A special thank you to our sponsors Access Dental, Thompson Sales, Spring Green, and Esterly, Schneider, and Associates.