Real Caribe celebrating their victory at the USASA Region 1 Tournament
Horsham, PA - It was another exciting weekend for Real Caribe SC as the club won the USASA Region 1 U23 Tournament, defeating Junior Lone Star FC 3-2 in a very exciting final. With the win, Real Caribe will be going to the USASA National Cup Finals that are being held in San Antonio, TX from July 19-21.
The weekend started for Real Caribe on Saturday morning with a 4-1 win over FC Dutchmen. Real Caribe coach Huntley Swaby called this "a very important win. With the format of the tournament, it was extremely important for us to get off to a good start."
In the afternoon match, Real Caribe scored 4 goals in each half as they defeated Burlington FC 8-1. The semi-finals took place Sunday morning and Real Caribe defeated UGH Fire 2-0 on goals by Dale McDonald and Mark Marsh.
This led to the final match against Junior Lone Star, which was a rematch from last year's final. Swaby said, "even though we were playing the same club, I felt that their team was even stonger this year". Junior Lone Star got an early goal to take a 1-0 lead that they kept for the rest of the first half. Prior to the end of the first half, one of the Real Caribe defenders picked up his second yellow card leaving them down to 10 men.
Swaby and his staff quickly got to work and changed the formation and game plan to go on the attack and push for an equalizer. The strategy payed off as Real Caribe got an early goal by Yannick LaRoche in the second half to tie the match at 1-1. This was followed a few minutes later with a goal by Diron Duah to give Real Caribe a 2-1 lead.
Junior Lone Star capitalized on a defense error to score and tie the match at 2-2. However, in the 85th minute Keston George made a beautiful 50-60 yard run and scored to put Real Caribe back in front 3-2. This led to a frantic final 5 minutes as Junior Lone Star applied tremendous offensive pressure. Real Caribe held on though and clinched a tremendous win.
Swaby said, "that game was a terrific test, but the boys responded in a tremendous way. They worked so hard to come back in the second half and it was an amazing game that we'll always remember. Right now we're going to enjoy this win, but we need to get back to work soon to prepare for the National Finals. Everyone at the club has put a lot of work into this over the last several years and now we're seeing the results of our efforts."
LISFL President Gus Xikis was at the tournament and said, "I'm so proud of Huntley, Craig (Hines), everyone with Real Caribe, and especially the team. On behalf of the LISFL, I want to congratulate them on this terrific achievement. I can't wait to go with them to San Antonio and see them in the National Finals."
Prior to their trip to San Antonio, Real Caribe's U23 team will be playing in the LISFL Ryder Vass U23 Tournament being held throughout June and July. Xikis said, "it's a great opportunity for soccer fans throughout the region to see this wonderful team and for all of other the team in the tournament to play against them. I really hope people come out to watch and support this team."
Members of Real Caribe with LISFL President Gus Xikis (second from left)