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CMU Blazer Athletics

Men’s Futsal Advance After Extra-Time Semifinal Thriller

Matheus Moreno's go-ahead goal in the second minute of extra time gave Men's Futsal a 4-3 advantage on the third-ranked Providence Pilots as CMU went on to win their 2019 MCAC Copa de la Paz Semfinal to advance to their first Futsal Championship appearance since 2015.

Providence surprised the higher-ranked Blazers in the first half, jumping out to a 1-0 advantage when a kick-in deflected off CMU defender Ryan Jensen after the Pilots showed sustained pressure in the opening 25 minutes. The secret to the Pilots' success came from implimenting the risky tactic of "the flying goalkeeper", by pushing Jay Thielmann into the front-court, leaving the Providence goal unattended, in exchange for a 5 versus 4 numerical advantage.

Though the tactic didn't amount any significant offensive success, it did throw a wrench into the normally free-flowing CMU attack and allowed the Pilots to escape the half with a lead. "We knew that they were going to be a tough test for us," said CMU Head Coach Anderson Pereira, who held the Copa de la Paz trophy in 2016 when he captained the Red River Rebels to the program's only trophy in Men's Futsal. "They have really improved game after game since the start of the season. They run with a strong four players and get their goalkeeper involved, and we knew that we would have our hands full."

Moments after the second half restart Moreno found himself running with the ball, one on one with Thielmann. The clever Brazilian earned the goalkeeper's commitment and left the ball for a sliding Roy Miller who leveled the score, 1-1.

Paul Odedina would make it 2-1 in the 33rd minute by getting his head to a rocket left-footer from Aidan Beckingham, that was unable to be collected by Thielmann. A well executed set piece led to CMU's third goal which completed the second half scoring for the Blazers. Standing to the left of the Providence goal, at the edge of the penalty area, Jensen rolled his free-kick into the path of an on-rushing Victor Hugo and the second-year winger struck a one-timed missile just under the crossbar.

There was no quit in the Pilots, who despite finding themselves behind by two goals, continued to show belief in the outcome of the match. Thielmann would cut the lead to one in the final five minute, joining the attack and scoring from a kick-in. Then with 2:26 remaining, Johnny Fulford collected a free-kick pass and managed to slide the tying goal past CMU goalkeeper Robbie Friesen, leveling the score 3-3. Friesen would be forced to make the save of the match moments later as the fourth year slid across his goal, extending his long left leg to kick out the would-be winner for the Pilots.

The game-winner came two minutes into the first period of extra time. With the ball in the corner, Victor Hugo found Moreno rushing to the front of goal. Two clever touches of the ball froze the Pilots defender and goalkeeper and a perfect left foot finish from the rookie gave the Blazers a 4-3 lead that they would not relinquish. With a goal and an assist, Victor Hugo would earn CMU's Player of the Game selection.

Next up for the Blazers is Sunday afternoon's season finale with the top-ranked and undefeated Brandon Bobcats. The Blazers and Bobcats met in semifinal action in 2018 with the Bobcats advancing 7-6 on penalties when regular time and extra time couldn't determine a winner. The teams take the court at Red River College at 3:00pm. CMU last lifted the Copa de la Paz in 2015. The Bobcats have yet to put their name on the MCAC trophy.

 

 

 

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