PHOENIX -- Two Baltimore-area boys teams finished second at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships at the Rose Mofford Sport Complex.
Missing standout central defender Michael Green, the Columbia Darby conceded two early goals and was routed, 5-1, by the Colorado Rush Warriors of Littleton in the under-20 title match yesterday morning.
The Baltimore F.C. Bullets had the misfortune of drawing the home team in their U-19 final late Saturday night. Spurred on by a loudly supportive, standing-room-only crowd of several hundred more than the 3,700 seating capacity, Phoenix's Cisco Flames used a pair of second-half goals to overcome the Bullets, 2-1, for the 61st McGuire Cup.
That left the S.C. Baltimore Stars with the last chance to bring gold back to Baltimore. The Stars took on the Atlanta F.C. Lightning Gold late last night in the U-18 championship game.
Green, who at 6 feet 4 was also a threat to score on corner kicks, was on the sideline, suspended because of a red card late in the Darby's 4-3 semifinal victory over Club Ohio/Dynamo. Columbia's disorganization on defense was evident on Colorado's first two goals, both by John Carroll, which effectively put the national crown out of Darby's reach.
Missing Green "shouldn't have mattered that much. We should have been able to deal with it," said Chad Evans, who took over in the central defense. "We should have been able to organize it and we didn't. Guys were running all over the place. Once you go down two goals in a national final, [the opponent] will find ways to win."
The Darby finished its six-year history with six Maryland Cups, three Region I titles and two runner-up finishes at nationals.
"Losing Mike really hurts us in the back, but we're old enough now where we should be able to pick up our heads and move on," said striker Jason Lockerman, a team member since the beginning.
The Bullets were in control for the first 25 minutes, taking a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute. Kurt Meyers played give-and-go with Ryan Cuomo to break free toward the box before Meyers fed Ryan Lampton, who found the near corner from the top right of the penalty area.
But midway through the half, the momentum shifted to Cisco, which dominated from there.
Baltimore defenders Adam Nastalski and Darren LaRacque were exceptional in defeat.
"We tried to tough it out in the back," said Nastalski, one of six Bullets players from UMBC. "We tried to hold them off with defense. That's how we got through regional and the state cup. They beat us on a couple of lapses. I'm happy we got this far."
Pub Date: 7/27/98