Jade Tree United finished their season by meeting FMC in the first round of the NCCO playoffs on Sunday, February 25 at the PAL Center.
This was JTU’s first visit to the play offs and the team was ready to face FMC, who beat Jade Tree earlier in the season.
Jade Tree started strong with a visible energy to their play. But despite their offense, the FMC striker’s where too much for the JTU defense and helped put FMC up 2-0 in under ten minutes.
A run of play that included a fair share of near misses finally concluded with Mike Hoffman blasting one into the FMC net in the 9th minute.
Just as Jade Tree looked to be turning the corner, FMC added another to the board, making it 3-1.
But JTU never gave up and Ryan Mann was able to shoot from the edge of the box to knock in JTU’s second of the night and get the JTU fans believing once again.
Soon thereafter, Mike Hoffman used his body and skill to muscle through the FMC defense to send a blistering ball into the back of the net.
Jade Tree would get scored upon twice more to make it 5-4 at the half.
Returning to the pitch with a sense that they could win, Jade Tree played much stronger out of the gate.
The team pressed on FMC and chances from Al Agra, Casey Gallucio, Victor Alvarez, Darren Walters, and Mike Leyva all went wide or were saved by the FMC keeper. The increasing pressure on Jade Tree to score began to stretch the JTU defense and thus allow FMC to pounce and add three successive goals before Jade Tree began to get the backline in order.
As usual, JTU â€˜keeper Brian Olden was instrumental between the sticks as he kept busy all match swatting, diving, and securing the ball from going into the back of his net.
Jade Tree continued to have chances late in the second half, but to no avail. A corner kick that resulted in a goal for JTU was disallowed after appeals for a handball on Ryan Mann were made and only a spectacular save by the FMC goalie kept Alex Milne’s effort out of the net.
Continuing to pressure FMC into the final minutes, Jade Tree was rewarded when Alex Milne easily beat the FMC keeper to give JTU a final result of 8-5.
This was Jade Tree United’s best finish ever and remains in fifth place in the final standings.
“This team gave me its all this season. Every man worked to his maximum effort and it shows in the final standings”, commented Manager Darren Walters. “They should be proud of what they have accomplished this year.”
Jade Tree United 2006/2007 Season Statistics & Awards:
Most Goals: Ryan Mann / Alex Milne (tie)
MVP: Brian Olden (2nd year in a row)
Most Saves: Brian Olden
Most Fouls Against: Alex Milne
Most Fouled Upon: Victor Alvarez
Best Goal: Casey Gallucio
Most Improved Player: Casey Gallucio
Most Heart: Jim Brooks
Team Spirit Award: Mike Leyva
Ryan Mann: 19
Alexander Milne: 19
Victor Alvarez: 14
Shane Chanpaul: 9
Michael Hoffman: 7
Miguel Leyva: 6
Alfredo Agra: 4
Casey Gallucio: 3
Darren Walters: 2