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ERSL Cup Finals
Cumberland Cobras split U10 ERSL Cup finals
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Benaiah Tesfaye sprints past an Ottawa Royals defender during the U10 ERSL Cup final on Sunday. The Cumberland Cobras would goon to win the game and the Cup by a score of 6-1. Fred Sherwin/Photo


The Cumberland Cobras U10 Premier girls and boys teams each had a shot at winning an ERSL Cup on Sunday, but only one of them managed to pull off the feat as the boys team won its final in dominating fashion.

The U10 Level 3 'A' squad has been on a roll since late June when a big win over the Kanata Lightning in the first round of the ERSL Cup tournament helped erase a rather slow start to the season. After winning their first league game against the Ottawa Internationals, they lost two and then tied two for a rather unimpressive 1-2-2 start to the 2009 campaign.

Even a wild 11-4 win over Kanata didn't help right the ship immediately. They tied their third league game in a row five days later before finally getting their act together in back-to-back wins over Cumberland United and Goulbourn to give them some a momentum heading into their ERSL Cup quarterfinal against the first place OSU Force.

The game turned out to be one for the ages. After battling each other to a 3-3 draw, the two teams exchanged penalty kicks through 13 rounds before Cumberland finally sealed the deal with their 13th shooter.

After the big win, the Cobras won six of their next seven games including a
7-1 win over Goulbourn in the ERSL Cup semi-final. The only game they didn't win over that span was a 3-3 tie against the Ottawa Royals Wildcats who, as fate would have it, would end up facing them in Sunday's ERSL Cup final.

Unlike the earlier tie, however, the Cup final was a major league blowout. The Cobras came to the Colonnade Road mini-fields ready to play championship soccer as they jumped all over the Wildcats from the opening whistle.

The Cobras had three good scoring chances before the game was 12 minutes old, including a powerful shot by Noah Holder from just outside the penalty area that the Ottawa Royals keeper just managed to get his hand on to deflect it over the crossbar.

A minute later, the Cobras were applying pressure in deep once again when Zak Rodrigue fired a ball into the goal area that Jordan Garbe got to before the Wildcats keeper had a chance to react and just like that the score was 1-0 in favour of Cumberland.

Three minutes later, Roman Cannell managed to win the ball down low before crossing it to Benaiah Tesfaye who scored high into the net from the top of the box.

The Cobras increased their lead to 3-0 in the 23rd minute on pitcher perfect header off a corner kick that would have made Pele proud. Tesfaye executed the corner to perfection and Cannell came through with a perfectly timed header into the net.

Cumberland's fourth goal came in the final few minutes of the first half. Cannell was once again the instigator as he threaded the ball to Alexandre Szostalo who scored from inside the penalty area.

Up 4-0 at the half, the Cobras didn't take any chances on risking a Wildcats comeback. As play resumed, they put immediate pressure on the Ottawa Royal backs who at times appeared overwhelmed. Less then a minute into the second half, Rodrigue slammed a shot off the crossbar.

Five minutes later, Mellon sent a long ball into the penalty area that bounced off the keeper right to a hard-charging Cannell. The ball then deflected off Cannell's chest past the keeper and into the net to make the score 5-0.

The Cobras sixth goal was another perfectly timed pass from Cannell to Garbe who simply had to get his foot on the ball and redirect it into the net for the score.

The Wildcats only goal came near the end of the game after they were awarded a penalty kick on an arguable call that was made from the penalty area at the opposite end of the field.

The call and subsequent goal ruined Cumberland keeper Brogan Engbers shutout bid, but his whatever disappointment he may have felt vanished during the post game celebration.

After the game Cobras Chirs Engbers, credited the team's skill level to their athleticism.

"This group of '99s we always said were athletes first and soccer players second. We have six kids who play AA hockey, a provincial level gymnast and two kids who play football with the Cumberland Panthers," noted Engbers, who was helped out this year by assistants Sule Karsli and Mark Garbe. "This was defintely one of the better all round games they've played this year. They were a little nervous before the game, but we told them the best way to get rid of the nerves was to play hard from the opening whistle."

The Cumberland Cobras U10 Premier boys team poses with the ERSL Cup and championship banner after defeating the Ottawa Royals Wildcats 6-1 on Sunday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

As the Cobras U10 boys team was celebrating their big win, the U10 girls team was getting ready for their ERSl Cup final against the Kanata Lightning who had beaten them 5-0 in their only regular season match-up.

The game was played fairly evenly though the first half as the Cobras managed to direct four shots on goal. The Lightning, on the other hand, failed to direct a single shot toward the keeper even though they fired six shots at goal and had three corner kicks. In fact, the closest they came to scoring was in fifth minute when a Cumberland defender almost scored an own goal when she tried to clear a coner kick.

Things started to come unraveled for the Cobras as Kanata started to turn up the pressure in the opening few minutes of the second half . The result was a goal from just inside the box in the fifth minute.

Cumberland managed to tie the game three minutes later off a free kick from just outside the box that the Kanata keeper was unable to handle.

The game remained deadlocked for all of three minutes before the Lightning scored the go ahead goal on a bang-bang play in which the Kanata player managed to fire the ball between the Cumberland keeper and the near post.

The score would have been a lot different if not for the efforts of the Cobras keeper who made several stellar saves in the later stages of the second half to keep her team in the game.

Cumberland had several chances to tie the score in the final five minutes but they couldn't find a way to finish. The final nail in the coffin came off a botched call in the Kanata end.

The Cobras had just missed off a corner kick and were pressuring the ball along the end line when it deflected off a Kanata player's foot out of bounds, but instead of awarding the Cobras another corner kick, the referee ruled that the ball had gone off the Cumberland player.

On the ensuing play, the Lightning keeper kicked the ball to midfield where a teammate picked it up and went in and scored on a breakaway to make the final 3-1 Kanata.

The ERSl Cup finals continue next weekend at the Hornet's Nest as four more east end teams will see action. The Gloucester Hornets U12 Premier boys team plays Capital United; the Cumberland Cobras U14 Premier girls team takes on the OSU Force; the Hornets U15 Premier team plays OSU Force as well; and the Cobras U15 Premier boys team goes up against the Kanata Lightning.

To view more pictures of the Boys U10 ERSL Cup final click here

(Updated 9 p.m., Sept. 14)

 

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