Cal. United FC II Top Inocentes FC in UPSL Fall Championship
The 2018/19 UPSL Fall Season came to a close last weekend with California United FC II hoisting the championship trophy in Los Angeles. Although California United FC II played with 10 men for 55 minutes of the match, the Southern California club was able to pull out a hard-fought penalty shootout victory.
The UPSL is the fastest growing amateur league in the United States with over 300 teams registered to play during the 2019 spring season.
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California United FC II extended its unbeaten record with a 4-2 penalty shootout victory versus Inocentes FC (9-2-3). The match went straight to penalty kicks after regulation concluded a 1-1 draw.
“I’m proud of the guys,” said Ron Gilmore, California United FC II General Manager. “They hung in, and we probably should’ve scored in the 90th (minute), but we’ll take it.”
“This has been a special group and will continue to be a special group,” said Gilmore. “They’re winners and we’re looking forward to where they’ll take us next.”
In the first half an hour, both teams had shots cleared off the goal line by defenders. Cal United FC II midfielder Kyle O’Brien was then sent off for a reckless tackle in the 35th minute, forcing the hosts to play a man down for the remainder of the match.
Andy Contreras scored in the 39th minute with the Cal United FC II forward striking a left-footed curler into the corner for the opening goal.
Erick Valencia scored the equalizer for Inocentes FC in the 62nd minute as the Fort Worth (Texas)-based club was able to break through on a counter attack. Valencia found the back of the net to tie the score midway through the second half.
An offside call negated a goal from Cal United FC in the 90th minute, and the teams headed straight to a shootout.
Christian Gordillo, Juan Pablo Oceguera, Gonzalo Salguero and Paolo Cardozo converted penalty kicks for Cal United FC II. The goalkeeper for each club made a save on the second attempt. Inocentes FC’s third shooter struck high over the bar before Cardozo, the 2018 Fall Season Championship Game Most Valuable Player, calmly netted his attempt into the corner for the win.
Six players on California United won their third UPSL championship in four seasons. Kifikalani Cabrera, Duncan Capriotti, Cardozo, Ikaika Fuerte, Chris Klute and Salguero all previously won UPSL titles with L.A. Wolves FC (Spring 2017) and OC Invicta FC (Fall 2017).
“We never gave up and showed everybody what Inocentes FC is about,” said Mario Alcala, Inocentes FC General Manager. “We’re all heart, we bring a big crowd and play hard. We’ll be back, hopefully.”
Photo Credit: United Premier Soccer League