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JBLM Commanders Cup Soccer Championship

5th ASOS finds magic in overtime thriller

Northwest Guardian

Published: 02:30PM May 17th, 2018
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Northwest Guardian

5th ASOS teammates T. J. O'Connor, left, and Austin Spagnola, right, battle Madigan’s Nicholas Kenzo for a loose ball during the JBLM Commanders Cup Soccer Championship game May 10.

Final results

A Co., Madigan 1 1 0 — 2

5th ASOS 1 1 1 — 3

Final/overtime

SCORING SUMMARY

5th ASOS — Austin Fisher goal (Jonathan Alexander assist), 15th minute

Madigan — Matthew Solis goal (Santillana Alonso assist), 18th minute

Madigan — Kenzo Nicholas corner goal (unassisted), 22nd minute

5th ASOS — Austin Spagnola goal (T.J. O’Connor assist), 40th minute

5th ASOS — Spagnola goal (Glenn Wilderman assist), 46th minute

TEAM STATISTICS

Shots on goal — Madigan, 11; 5th ASOS, 14.

Goalie saves — Madigan, 9; 5th ASOS, 7

Corner kicks — Madigan, 4; 5th ASOS, 2

Last year, the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron lost in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Commanders Cup Soccer Championship to 1st Special Forces Group, 2-1 in overtime, but nearly a year later, the squadron was able to come from behind to beat Alpha Company, Madigan Army Medical Center 3-2 in overtime May 10 at the Lewis North Athletic Complex.

Down 2-1 in the final moments of the second half, T.J. O’Connor took a free kick in front of the Madigan net and lofted it toward the tallest man on the team, Austin Spagnola, who headed the ball into the top right corner. The final whistle of regulation’s 40 minutes was blown, thus causing overtime.

The play shocked both sides of the sidelines.

“Can you believe they tied in the last 10 seconds?” Madigan’s Geovanny Reyes-Matute said. “That’s insane.”

Two five-minute classic overtime periods were played where play continued even after the next goal. At the start of the second overtime slot, Spagnola found himself with the ball on the right side of the Madigan goalkeeper. It was an odd angle but one where a strong strike from Spagnola found its way in the back of the net.

Spagnola said the overtime goal was the more difficult one to execute.

“Keepers get an odd angle, so you just have to aim for the back post and hope for the best,” he said.

Spagnola said the tying header goal was the key moment for the team’s championship win. Without that, overtime would have never happened.

The 5th ASOS team bounced back after a heartbreaking moment to start the second half. In the 22nd minute, Madigan’s Kenzo Nicholas sent a corner kick across the net.

5th ASOS goalkeeper Roman Welch tried to get the ball over his head, but the ball bounced off his fingers and went into the net to give Madigan a 2-1 lead.

“We just knew we were in the same situation (as last year), and we couldn’t make the same mistakes,” said Jonathan Alexander, 5th ASOS captain/coach.

Madigan’s 2-1 goal gave the team more confidence in the second half. After having only one shot on goal in the first half — an 18th minute strike by Matthew Solis to tie the game at the half — Madigan had five quality shots on goal in the second half, followed by another five in the 10 minutes of overtime.

Spagnola credited his 5th ASOS teammates for coming together after allowing the brutal corner kick goal.

“A couple of mistakes (were made) here and there, but we were able to come together and play great defense (at the end),” he said.

Both teams played strong through the end, combining for 25 quality shots on goal. Both goalkeepers combined for 16 saves — some coming directly off their chest at near point-blank range.

“Just having put in the work this year and the amount of (temporary duty assignments) we had, it was special to make it this far to redeem ourselves from last year,” Alexander said.

Dean Siemon: 253-477-0235, @deansiemon