Springfield Demize fall In Heartland Arena Invitational Cup Semi Finals
Demize come up short in sudden death overtime 6-5
The Springfield Demize M3 team fell in overtime of the semi finals of the Heartland Arena Invitational hosted in Wichita, Kansas February 13th. The match featured the second and third seed from the group stages of the cup. With Sunflower State FC seeded 2nd and the Springfield Demize as the 3rd seed. This would be a rematch from the previous weekend with the Demize cross state rivals from Kansas City. This would be the second consecutive time the Demize lost in overtime in the knock out round of the cup competitions. The last time was November 7th in the final of the MLSC Fall Super Cup to the Chicago Mustangs.
The first quarter saw the Demize get off to a flying start with a flick on goal from Jaxn Rogers assisted by 19 year old defender, Robert Turner. The Demize would follow up that goal with a second, tallied by Gui Candatten assisted by Jaxn. The Demize seemed to be in control of the match early on with multiple opportunities including two breakaways that veteran forward Marcelo Hernandez was unable to capitalize on. Head coach Guilherme Ferreira stated, " we created multiple goalscoring chances in the first half to stack some goals on Sunflower and take control of the game but KC's goalkeeper Tito Favela made the difference and kept the game close "
Sunflower would tally there first goal late in the first quarter after Demize player Nelson Landaverde received a blue card for an intentional hand ball. Wyatt Fowler scored on the power play to close the gap and the first half ended 2-1. Demize goalkeeper Nico Helin only conceded one goal and rookie defender Robert Turner lead the Demize defense. The start of the third quarter saw the Demize continue where they left off in the 1st half with a goal from Sporting Springfield's club player, Jeremiah Musa assisted by Kyler Moore. In Musa's second ever appearance for the M3 side, he scored a header, a rare sight in indoor soccer after crashing the goal off Kyler's shot from distance.
In what seemed to be the trend in the second half the Demize would score and then Sunflower would immediately answer never allowing the Demize to take control of the match. The fourth quarter would start 3-2 but Sunflowers defender Delatore would score a free kick from the top of the box at the 11 minute mark to tie the game 3-3. The Demize would answer with a great one timer from Eric Pereira set up off a cross from Victor Meneses a quick counter attack. The 4-3 lead would only last for a few seconds as Sunflower FC forward Girma Kassa found the back of the net within seconds of the preceding kickoff. The game would swing back and forth with both teams having quality chances until 2:35 remaining when Demize Goalkeeper Joel Barroso made is only mistake of the second half mishandling the ball at his feet which saw Sunflower State take the lead for the first time in the game.
Now down a goal in the waning minutes, the Demize would play with a sixth attacker, pulling there goalkeeper and adding Jaxn Rogers as the six man. Jaxn would not disappoint scoring the equalizer off a rocket to the top left corner with 1:29 remaining in regulation. The finish was considered one of the goals of the tournament.
With the score tied 5-5 at the end of regulation, the game would go to a ten minute sudden death overtime period. Jaxn almost completed his hat trick and ended the game with a golden goal at the onset of the overtime but his shot would narrowly miss the frame hitting the near post. At the 7:30 mark Victor would get his pass picked by Spencer Baptiste who would counter and tally his third goal of the night with a deflection of Demize defender Robert Turner which wrong footed Demize keeper Barroso and found the back of the net, sending Sunflower State FC to the championship match on Sunday against the cups top seed, the Omaha Kings.
The loss would end the defending PASL National champions bid for back to back indoor titles. The Demize would finish the group stage with a 2-3 record. After remaining undefeated for over a year in all indoor competitions dating back to 2019. The streak would last over 400 days and would finally end in the group stage January 16th 2021 against the Omaha Kings, the eventual M3's Heartland Invitational Arena Cup champions.
Our organization would like to congratulate the Kings for their first M3 championship and the Wichita Wings for hosting the final four. The Demize will look to face off against the Wichita Wings professional M2 side later this spring at Hartman Arena as they continue to lay the groundwork and prepare for the next step joining the Major Arena Soccer Leagues 2nd division.
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