Boys soccer: Akashi's goal gives Fremd Kinsella Cup over Palatine
The 27th annual Kinsella Cup has provided the village of Palatine with an endless supply of fiercely fought contests between its two longtime soccer rivals Fremd and Palatine -- and Thursday night was no different.
Both sides can only appreciate the importance of what it means to own the Kinsella Cup -- a symbol of soccer excellence in a town that has seen each club enjoy several memorable seasons ever since Celtic Soccer Club founders Jimmy Kinsella and Bill Huges formed the club in 1968.
Visiting Fremd (8-5-2, 6-2-0) would start brightly, then concede an equalizer minutes later. Fremd then used a brilliant 62nd minute finish from Leo Akashi to earn a hard-fought 2-1 victory, and continue its mastery over the Pirates before a huge crowd at Chic Anderson Stadium.
"This is a game we all look forward to playing. It's a great crosstown rivalry, and one that isn't always pretty to watch, but really a lot of fun to play, and I am thrilled that we brought the trophy back home with us tonight," said Vikings captain Joey Rodino, who has played in the last three Kinsella Cup games.
"Palatine outworked us, especially in the first half, but we came back and played with more composure, and purpose to get three big points, which we need to stay close to Conant," added Vikings coach Steve Keller, whose club continues to chase MSL West leading Conant.
Akashi converted his PK attempt in the 7th minute, but Aaron Morris' Pirates (8-7-1, 3-4-1) came right back to draw even when Andrew Kania found the back of the net at 13 minutes after Vikings keeper Robby Remian took a hit inside his box after coming down with an early ball from Isaac Lara.
Remian, an all-state candidate, was later forced to leave the game after suffering an injury during a 50-50 challenge with Jerry Afonrinwo.
Bennett Ash would relieve his teammate between the sticks and make two key second half saves to help insure victory for the visitors.
Akashi would bag the eventual game-winner after Owen Winegar latched onto a short clearing effort. The senior found Alex Kosta, who in turn played wide to Akashi, who unloaded an unstoppable angled effort into the far inside netting in the 62nd minute.
"It's a tough and disappointing loss for sure, but we outworked Fremd in the first half, and played hard in the second half. But one let down and they put the ball into our net," lamented Pirates co-captain Jordan Mok.
"This is a talented team and one that will continue to work hard in order to finish strong and get ourselves ready for the postseason," added Mok.
Next up for the Pirates is Schaumburg next Tuesday, while the Vikings are away at Elk Grove on Saturday