By Andrew Harvey/NPSL.com
Crossfire Redmond made the most of goals at either end of the match—one early and one late—to hoist the Washington Cup in a 2-1 victory over OSA FC at Sixty Acres Park in Redmond, Washington Friday. Duke University forward Nii Engmann provided the game-winning goal in the 86th minute to help his boyhood club win the competition.
“This was a great win and a celebration of returning to play in the NPSL for our guys,” said Crossfire coach Troy Letherman. “After such a difficult year-plus for all of us, it was nice to have a chance to get out on the pitch and get these guys meaningful minutes against a quality opponent.”
Crossfire took an early lead in the eighth minute, fullback Nik Reierson smashed a ball in from the right edge of the penalty area for the game’s opening goal.
The early goal failed to dictate the tempo of the match, with both sides testing one another up and down the pitch on an unusually warm June evening in the Puget Sound.
OSA had a chance to equalize in the 48th minute, when Peter Kingston was fouled in the area and earned a penalty kick. Dylan Tevez squared up for the kick, but Helleren blocked the effort and smacked away a follow-up shot to preserve the lead.
OSA found an equalizer in the second half, when Kingston raced up the left side and forced a sprawling save out of Crossfire keeper Lars Helleren. The loose ball fell to Ruben Joseph, who forced his shot past Helleren to level the score in the 64th minute.
The late minutes saw both teams press for the game-winning goal, with Helleren turning aside a rocketed effort to the upper-left corner in the 72nd minute.
Engmann found the difference-maker with four minutes left to play. After a long diagonal ball found him in space on the left wing, he cut to the inside before rifling a long-range effort to the far side of the net to give Crossfire a 2-1 lead.
“I had a pretty good idea that I wanted to take him on and try to finish it from there,” said Engmann. “My teammates trust me enough to give me the ball there and I was able to reward that trust.”
OSA pushed for a late equalizer, but came up short in stoppage time despite a number of dangerous crosses in the match’s final seconds.
OSA head coach Juan Pablo Murillo was positive about his team’s performance after the match:
“It might not have been the result we wanted tonight, but you can’t help but be proud of our players and their effort,” Murillo said. “The team put up a great fight out there and gave us some strong chances to come away with the win, but we fell just a little short in the end. All in all, this was a great show of what the NPSL has to offer to the players on both these teams.”
Photo Credit: MEL and Maddy from NW Sports Photography