Jade Tree United played their last match of the season on Thursday, February 23 against 4th place AzstraZeneca Blast.
Jade Tree, who played without goalkeepers Jim Brooks and Brian Olden (both out due to injury), as well as Mike Leyva (who was undergoing observation at the team’s training camp in the Pocono Mountains), called up Steven Mann and Mark Worrilow from the JTU U-17 team in order to bolster their numbers for this important match.
Initially, Jade Tree played a strictly defensive game. This helped keep the Blast’s chances to a minimum as Steven Mann got his feet wet in his first game as a â€˜keeper in League D.
Mid-half, Jade Tree began to advance with pace, putting passes together and working the ball up field. Many JTU players took their shots on goal, narrowly missing their last chance at glory for the season. Alex Milne, who was visibly frustrated as shot after shot of his was deflected by the Blast keeper, had taken at least ten quality shots on the net without compensation, giving the appearance that nothing the JTU players could do would produce a result.
Undaunted, Jade Tree continued with passion. Late in the first half, Tim Owen broke the deadlock with a sweet shot direct into the Blast net. With this goal, Jade Tree tasted blood and pounced on the Blast, ratcheting up their play and controlling the pace of the game throughout the rest of the half and leaving the score at 1-0 until the half’s end.
As Jade Tree took the pitch for the second half, it was evident that the team was determined to walk away from the match with a victory.
From the start of play, Jade Tree was clearly dominating the game. Jade Tree’s mid-field controlled the pace, and the defense crept up into a more offensive position. It was obvious that JTU was flipping their strategy from the first half and it soon paid off.
A few minutes in, with a just-too-wide shot on goal from Al Agra, Mike Reed recovered the ball and chipped it into the Blast’s net.
Casey Gallucio followed up next with his third goal of the season. Gallucio retained the ball during a scramble in the Blast’s box and nicely tucked it into the net as the Blast defense simply stared in disbelief.
Victor Alvarez and Mark Worrilow held the defensive end for much of the second half, but both players made significant contributions that kept Jade Tree’s pace at an all-time high, playing the ball forward and even taking their own shots on goal.
Darren Walters had a shot go wide, but Al Agra got the rebound. Agra quickly spotted Mike Hoffman, who was deep in the Blast’s box, and passed it off to him. Hoffman then duly punished the Blast â€˜keeper with an unstoppable goal.
Ahead by 4-0, Jade Tree did not slow down. Instead, it appeared as if the team was simply giving every player their chance to end the season with an addition to their scorecard.
Mike Reed fought through the Blast defense-who had finally begun to collapse on the advancing Jade Tree players-but Reed was too deft and rocketed a shot in that continued the string on unanswered JTU goals.
Al Agra, who has been scoreless all season, had another excellent shot on goal that was stopped by the Blast â€˜keeper. Luckily, Mike Hoffman was in the right place in the box and ably tucked in Jade Tree’s sixth of the night.
Pushing all players forward, Jade Tree United were far from finished for the night, as Mike Reed, who broke through with an arsenal of tricks, avoided all attempts to be stopped and completed the match with a hat trick to his name and making the score 7-0.
Jade Tree â€˜s only real defensive plays involved the Blast â€˜keeper making an amazing run towards the end of the match. Darren Walters, Mark Worrilow, and Victor Alvarez all tried to stop the player, but he avoided all three JTU players to eventually take a shot on goal. Steven Mann kept the Blast’s â€˜keeper from scoring and retained Jade Tree’s amazing shutout of the AstraZeneca Blast by 7-0.
Jade Tree United, having won this last match, end their second season in 9th place with a record of 2-7-1.
Manager Darren Walters was elated “While I thought that we might get higher in the table this year, the team did a great job and I am proud of them. They worked hard all season and should be happy with themselves.” When asked about next year Walters was quick to add, “I think that all of the rumors regarding transfers have been just that. I fully expect the entire squad to return next year.”
Jade Tree United would like to thank all of its supporters around the world. Your support is essential to our team.
Jade Tree United 2005/2006 Season Statistics & Awards:
Most Goals: Michael Hoffman
MVP: Brian Olden
Most Saves: Jim Brooks
Most Fouls: Alex Milne / Casey Gallucio
Most Fouled Upon: Mike Reed
Best Goal: Every goal scored against FIST
Most Improved Player: Victor Alvarez
Manager of the Season: Darren Walters
Player Most Destined for “Dancing with the Stars”: Mike Leyva
Most Heart: Tim Owen
Team Spirit Award: Alfredo Agra
Michael Hoffman: 9
Alexander Milne: 7
Michael Reed: 7
Miguel Leyva: 6
Darren Walters: 5
Victor Alvarez: 4
Thornton Owen: 4
Casey Gallucio: 3