TCSL 2002 Playoff Report


The 2002 Tri County Soccer League Playoffs were played on August 24, 2002 at the Serbian Brothers Field in Lake Villa, Illinois, the home of FK Morava.  Heavy rains early in the week made some of the initial matches a bit slippery, but the well-maintained fields provided great overall playing conditions. 


            FIRST ROUND


For the First Round, Cary, the 8th seed for the second year in a row, came up with a huge upset against the number 1 seed Wauconda Chiefs with a 3-0 victory.  The Chiefs suffered the misfortune of losing their keeper early in the first half with a sprained ankle, but nevertheless were unable to score against a well-organized Cary club. 


The host club FK Morava (second seed) managed a first-half score and then packed the box to hold off the Gurnee Spartans who sent a blast off the upright in the second half, but were unable to score resulting in a well-reserved 1-0 victory for Morava.


In the other bracket, the defending champions, Lake Zurich Aces (seeded third) preserved a shut out against a good Crystal Lake Hammer club to advance while Crystal Lake One and Libertyville Spirits had their match determined by penalties after the Hammers leading for almost the entire match gave up a late goal sending the match to penalties.  From the spot the Spirits turned in the better results for a 2-1 victory to advance. 




The match involving the highest seeds Lake Zurich Aces and FK Morava was also the most dramatic.  In the first half Morava scored first and then doubled from the spot late in the first half.  But, before the half could come to an end, a Lake Zurich player taunted the referee to show him a red card which the referee correctly obliged so at the half, it was Morava 2 and the Aces 0.


After half the Aces concentrated on playing soccer instead of the referee and staged a great comeback to level the score at the end of regulation.  After two scoreless overtimes, a great save by the Lake Zurich keeper on the fifth Morava shot from the spot, decided the match with the Aces advancing on a 3-2 victory. 


In the other semi-final match, Cary again showed a steady buildup and scored first against the Libertyville Spirits.  Cary continued the pressure, but  the Spirits managed another late goal and sent the game into overtime.  In the first overtime, Cary sent a great shot from outside the box beating the keeper in the upper-right corner for the winning goal for a 2-1 victory.




       The Final


A rematch of last years' final, the defending champion Lake Zurich Aces were down to essentially 11 players due to injuries and the dispatching of one of its players from the prior match.  The match started very tight with Cary having several chances.  Play leveled, when the Aces score on a set piece where three different Lake Zurich players flooded the far post zone allowing one to head in, beating both the defense and keeper who had no chance. 


The second half started with the Aces slowing the pace and succeeding in controlling the tempo.  Eventually, the Aces pulled off another big play when a long cross into the box was headed home over a defender and past the keeper for a brilliant score.  The match played out with the final score Lake Zurich Aces 2 - Cary 0.


After the match, the tradition of presenting hardware took place with the championship trophy awarded to the Aces, Second Place to Cary, and Third Place to FK Morava.