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Estrella de Chile scores four-peat

Their goal celebrations were more impressive than the victory celebration but a verbal whipping from Estrella de Chile keeper Michael Newton finally got the team acting like champs.
Estrelle de Chile sealed its fourth consecutive men’s open division championship win during the 50th Pacific Western Brewery soccer tournament on this goal by Pablo Clinaz.

Their goal celebrations were more impressive than the victory celebration but a verbal whipping from Estrella de Chile keeper Michael Newton finally got the team acting like champs.

It’s the fourth consecutive victory of the 50th Pacific Western Brewery soccer tournament for Estrella de Chile who downed the Surrey Strikers 2-0 on Monday at King’s Park. Estrella de Chile player/coach Claudio Ramirez said the offence was a result of perseverance and persistence from the players.

“They played this game a million times over and they are experienced in it,” said Ramirez. “They know how to keep their composure. They know it’s not about winning the game in the first five, 10 or 15 minutes. Win the game in the 94th minute.”

Ramirez, who couldn’t play due to a knee injury, said the players responded well. He felt they are a team that was really tight at the back. Played the long ball a lot. Ramirez said once they found their game they knocked the ball around well, and they got the goals they needed.

The offence arrived near the midway mark of the second half on a shot by tournament MVP Ricardo Alvarado that found the top right corner. The second goal came when Sousa, a former under-21 Penticton Pinnacles player, controlled the ball down the left side cut to the right and fed Pablo Clinaz for a strike into the open net with a defender on him. After the offence arrived, Estrella de Chile clamped down on the ball possession ensuring they didn’t give the Strikers much to work with.

Ramirez added the Strikers were a bit outmatched with their skill level. While Estrella de Chile had ball possession for most of the game, the Strikers had their moments earlier in the game but couldn’t find a solution for Newton.

“I thought we were a little disorganized in the first half,” said Striker captain Jay Makrigiannis, whose team sported shirts with the face of Zach Galifianakis from the Hangover. “We made some adjustments at half and I thought we had a hold of the play in the second half until their goal. I thought we were athletically better than them.”

The advantage Makrigiannis felt Estrella de Chile had was they were more organized and experienced.

“They were good at the little things and they never lost focus,” he said.

While Alvarado took MVP honours, the scoring title went to Penticton FC forward Randy Hubbard with five goals. Penticton FC lost to the Strikers 1-0 in a shootout during the semi-final, which would have had them face the now four-time champs.

In the women’s rec division, Vancouver’s Westside Wild defeated the Suncoasters 1-0 to take that division. Wild player Chloe Handley said it was a challenging game for them competing with 11 players.

“We really held on for the last little bit but we had a lot of chances as well,” she said. “It was pretty back and forth but we were happy with the result.”

The Wild clinched the win on a goal by Sam Pither setup by Claire McKinnon. The Wild won all four of their games and allowed just one goal. The B final was won by Mixed Bag. The goalscoring champ was Shell Hayward of SBAA Sol with six goals and the MVP was Rosiv Gympma of Westside. The Langley Extreme won the women’s open division while Penticton took the B side. MVP in the women’s open was Lauren Collins of the Extreme, while the scoring champ was Brenda Tackaberry of the Calgary Cruisers.

Organizer Charlie Goeckel was pleased with how the tournament went.

“The people are happy and want to comeback,” said Goeckel.

And that includes Estrella de Chile.

“It would be nice to go for five in a row,” said Ramirez.