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Flash Put Phoenix To The Sword To Lock Up Conference Championship With Games In Hand
The San Diego Flash improve to 10-2-0 with an eight goal blowout over the Phoenix Monsoon. The three points were enough for the Flash to lock up their second successive NPSL West-Southern Conference Title with two games left of the regular season.
On the back of Saturdays victory at Del Norte High, the Flash are inching their way closer and closer to the National Premier Soccer League Championships (NPSL); a 'Final Four' style, 3 day event hosted by the Flash right here in San Diego from July 26 - 28. The Flash is looking to create history by winning the National Championship in front of its hometown fans and the city's soccer community.
As with most matches this year, teams seem to come out swinging early against the Flash with a very hard and very aggressive style of play in the first half. Despite the fact the Monsoon are winless in their debut season, they came out looking for a major upset. Perhaps this confidence was on the back of a 1 – nil score line in the reverse match earlier in the season when the Flash made the long trip to Arizona. With that being said, the first 30 minutes could have gone either way, with both sides having chances in a terrific end to end battle that had the fans cheering loudly in the stands.
However, the resistance of the Phoenix defensive line was breached on the 30 minute mark and that’s when the flood gates opened on what would be a big scoring night for the Flash. Sergio Valle-Ortiz, playing his first full game after returning from Major League Soccer trials with San Jose Earthquakes, sent a cross into the box, with 'Dutch' Jock well positioned to put a header in the back of the net.
At minute 37, Danny Ortega scored on an assist by Juan 'Kichi' Perez then and in the 43rd minute, Valle-Ortiz ended the game as a contest by scoring unassisted from the middle of the field from 20 yards out. The Flash went into the half 3 goals up and looking like they were in the mood to lock up their conference title defense in style.
A number of changes were made by Assistant Coach Jerome Watson at half time and this was an indication that the Flash were intent on resting some of their star players in the lead up to the NPSL Finals. Forward Justin Picou and goal scorers ‘Dutch’ Jock and Sergio Valle-Ortiz made way for the trio of Conor Hearn, Brennan Tennelle and Brandon Zuniga, with Hearn’s introduction reaping instant rewards.
3 minutes after the restart, Conor Hearn scored on a corner kick from Danny Ortega and the rout was on. Within 10 minutes of the second half, Zuniga brought the ball up on the right flank and found Andy O'rtega for the 5th goal of the match for the Flash. O'rtega then doubled his tally for the night with another goal assisted by Brennan Tennelle. Zuniga then joined in on the act with his own contribution in the 55th minute. The Flash have now shown two weeks in a row how quickly they can tear apart teams within a matter of minutes.
It didn’t end there though and after a penalty was awarded for a foul in the box, up stepped Captain Adrian DuBois (who also went on Major League Soccer trials last weekend) to slot home the teams eight goal of the night and have the Flash on cruise control for the final 30 minutes of the match.
Credit has to go to the Phoenix Monsoon though, they never let their heads down and tried to put together several rallies in the last minutes of the half to come away with something from the game, but the Flash stood strong and came away with their 6th shutout win of the season. The final whistle then sparked celebrations on the field with players coming together and being acknowledged over the loudspeaker as the 2012 NPSL West-Southern Conference champions.
Coach Jerome Watson was pleased with the team’s efforts and most importantly their hunger in the second half when they could have just as easily taken their foot off the pedal.
"Tonight was a good all-around team win. Building a comfortable lead at half time enabled us to rotate our squad meaning that everyone got some playing time leading into the finals.
“These are all important factors as we prepare for the NPSL Championships being held here in San Diego. We really have our focus on winning the National Championship in front of our fans." Watson said.
Result: San Diego Flash 8:0 Phoenix Monsoon.
'30 Dutch Jock - assist Sergio Vale Ortiz
'37 Danny Ortega - assist Juan 'Kichi' Perez
'43 Sergio Valle-Ortiz
'48 Conor Hearn - assist Danny Ortega
'50 Andy O'rtega - assist Brandon Zuniga
'53 Andy O'rtega - assist Brennan Tennelle
'55 Brandon Zuniga
'75 Adrian DuBois (PK)
Man of the Match: Danny Ortega
This weekend marks the final home match for the Flash against Finals aspirants the Fullerton Rangers. Kick-off is at 8pm, Sunday July 1 at Del Norte High School, 16601 Nighthawk Lane, San Diego, CA 92127. Fans can purchase tickets online and will receive 20% off face value if booked before Saturday. Visit www.SanDiegoFlashSoccer.com for more info.