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Northwest United 95 Red wins gold at Nike Cup
Coach Noal Cook took his local Northwest United BU-14 soccer team south the weekend of July 24 through July 26 to compete in the highly-acclaimed Lake Oswego Nike Cup in Oregon.
With over 300 teams from Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Idaho entered, the Lake Oswego Nike Cup is touted as being one of the largest and most competitive tournaments in the northwest.
The boys U-14 division was divided into two groups, Gold and Silver, which were then divided into two flights.
Northwest United was misplaced into the silver division, where they dominated their flight from the first game.
In the opening game against ESUFC Porto, Northwest United took a very early lead with a goal at the 46-second mark. The Northwest squad proceeded to put three more balls in the net in the first half to take a commanding 4-0 lead.
The onslaught continued in the second half when Burlington’s Tanner Gates scored his third goal of the match to complete the hat trick, and Oak Harbor’s Caley Powers put the final goal on the board with 32 seconds remaining to make the final score 7-0.
NWU’s second game against Greater Renton FC, looked promising when the team again took the early lead with a header by Gates at the 5:45 mark. However, after a successful penalty kick by GRFC, the two teams went into halftime tied 1-1.
Known for their comeback abilities all season long, NWU took control of the second half.
Mount Vernon’s Dani Dominguez put two scores in the net, one off an assist by Powers, and Sedro-Woolley’s Kyle Witzel added in a third goal, and the match concluded with the 95 Red team on top, 4-1.
Oregon Rush U-14 Nike proved to be a worthy opponent in the third preliminary game and held the scoring down, but NWU managed to come away with a 2-0 victory to remain undefeated in the tournament.
As the first-seed team in their flight and with an assured position in the championship game, Cook took the opportunity to mix up the field in the fourth preliminary game and put his players in a variety of positions.
Oak Harbor brothers Caley and Dakota Powers enjoyed the change of playing side by side in the front half of the field. However, NWU was unable to convert any of their shots on goal and lost 1-0 NWU to the Willamette United Boca Juniors. The only goal of the game came off a Boca Junior’s corner kick.
The strain of having played 240 minutes of soccer in 95-degree plus weather over three days was evident when NWU and Eastside FC faced off in the championship game on Sunday.
It was, however, Cook’s NWU players who proved how to overcome the heat and fatigue by continuing to play brilliant soccer.
Blake Dimock assisted Dominguez with a goal in the first half, and Gates scored the second goal of the game, a penalty kick, in the second half.
Northwest United played its usual tough defense and left the field left as the Silver Division champions, winning by a 2-0 score.