Two Fire SC teams finalists at USA Cup weekend tourney

Blaine based Fire SC was well represented at the weekend tournament portion of the 30th Schwan’s USA Cup as two girls teams made it to the finals of their respective divisions only to come up short against other Minnesota squads.

Fire SC 96 was shut out  by Dakota Rev Rampage 3-0 on the National Sports Center Stadium field Sunday afternoon hours after topping Rudbeckianska, Sweden, in a shoot out 1-0.

Fire SC 96’s Megan Thoemke, right, deflects a crossing pass within inches of the goal post during a 3-0 loss to Dakota Rev Rampage in the under-19 USA Cup weekend tournament championship game played at the National Sports Center Stadium July 13. Photo by Jason Olson

Fire SC 96’s Megan Thoemke, right, deflects a crossing pass within inches of the goal post during a 3-0 loss to Dakota Rev Rampage in the under-19 USA Cup weekend tournament championship game played at the National Sports Center Stadium July 13. Photo by Jason Olson

Anoka graduates Brenna Giddings and Megan Charlson converted both penalty chances to ensure the local club reached the 18-under final.

Fire SC couldn’t convert on two breakaways as the scoring chances were few and far between.

It wasn’t the first final this summer for the squad that includes players from Lino Lakes, Mankato, Mounds View and more.

The team already won titles in Kansas City and Fort Lauderdale in addition to reaching the final match in Eden Prairie and Coon Rapids.

“It’s been a really fun season for us, but we’re working on (the number of players available for each game) right now,” coach Cameron O’Malley said about 12 players who took part in the six games during the three-day weekend tournament. “They’re all going to be college freshmen playing in the fall, so this is a great chance for them to get ready and play.”

O’Malley said playing in the USA Cup offers his team something extra, 25 years after he had a chance to play for his club team: “It’s the most unique tournament we play in all season. It’s a great experience for the kids and they love it, just from an environment standpoint where you have the chance to play teams from Sweden, Wisconsin and Canada. Plus they get a chance to mingle, dance and bond.”

Fire SC 96’s Anna Morrison, middle, braces for a header off a corner kick by Dakota Rev in the second half of the under-19 USA Cup weekend tournament championship game on the stadium field at the National Sports Center July 13. Photo by Jason Olson

Fire SC 96’s Anna Morrison, middle, braces for a header off a corner kick by Dakota Rev in the second half of the under-19 USA Cup weekend tournament championship game on the stadium field at the National Sports Center July 13. Photo by Jason Olson

Fire SC opened the tournament with two wins on Friday, including a 2-1 win against Mankato United before a 9-0 route against FC Northwest (Manitoba, Canada). The team settled for a 2-2 draw against Central FC Strikers (Wisconsin) in the final pool play contest. Fire SC posted consecutive clean sheets to reach the finals, including another meeting against FC Northwest. This time Fire SC came out on top by a 3-0 result followed by the dramatic penalty kicks win against the Swedes.

Fire SC 97

Fire SC 97, a team composed of players from Centennial, Maple Grove, Park Center, Edina, Simley and Tartan, couldn’t get around Prior Lake Splash as the southern metro club scored a 4-1 win in the under-17 championship game played in the shadow of the stadium at the National Sports Center.

To reach the final match, Fire SC opened with shutouts against Green Bay Lightning 2-0 and Thunder Bay Chill 1-0 before the Splash downed Fire SC 97 3-1 in pool play.

One loss from ending the tournament, Fire SC emerged with back-to-back 2-1 wins against Libertyville Premier (Illinois) before moving past Dakota Rev Select 2-1 in the semifinal.

The Splash was the dominant team in the age group, outscoring the opposition by a 19-3 margin.

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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