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Pre-game: Boise Cutthroats vs East Valley United Pro

calendario 05.08.2021
by: Salvador Torres
  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Playoff
  • Semi-Pro
  • Spring
  • Tournaments
  • United States
  • UPSL Premier
  • Men
  • UPSL Premier - Men
Pre-game: Boise Cutthroats vs East Valley United Pro

This Friday's UPSL national semifinals will see two teams from the Western United States face off for a chance to reach the 2021 spring finals. Those two teams being Boise Cutthroats and East Valley United Pro. 


Boise Cutthroats 

Here is how the journey to the semifinals was for the team from Idaho. In the Western Conference - Mountain division, the cutthroats finished in 5th place with 5 wins, 1 draw, and 4 losses. They tallied 32 goals and allowed 26 for a GD of +6. Finishing 5th, they were the last seed of the mountain division playoffs as 1st place Real Salt Lake U19 Academy did not play in the postseason. Being the last seed, this meant they would play 2nd place Battle Born Futbol club of Nevada. In their two previous encounters, Boise got the better of those meetings beating the Nevada team 4-3 and tieing 3-3 during the regular season. Their quarterfinal matchup would again favor the potato state team by a score of 3-2, and they would advance to the Mountain division finals vs. Kongo. It would be their 4th encounter in over two seasons, and Boise has always been victorious against Kongo, beating them previous 4-3 during the regular season and twice the season prior. Boise would edge Kongo 2-1 in the Mountain division finals to reach the national round of 16.


The Boise team was on a three-game winning streak as they faced Colroado's Club El Azul, who ended up 1st in the Colorado division. The Cutthroats advanced 3-2 to reach the quarterfinals against Capital City, who are based in Austin, Texas. With a narrow win of 2-1, the team of Idaho gets the victory to reach the semifinals. Now they are on a 5 game winning streak as they prepare for East Valley United Pro. 


Out of all four teams that are left in the UPSL nationals, Boise is the underdogs having the most losses during the season. Their journey to this point was filled with close margin wins. When asked to share his thoughts on this, coach Hector Palacios said, "People know our record in the regular season was not too good. We have to travel sometimes over 7 hours. It is tough, but we stay tough. The strategy is just to take one game at a time no matter what. We practice to win the game. Nothing to do with looking ahead." 


On a different note, one of the notable traits that the UPSL likes to take pride in is player development. This sentiment is also shared by coaches and individuals running teams in the league. Many places don't have professional or collegiate opportunities for aspiring players to be exposed in a large country like the United States. Coach Palacios, during the interview, spoke passionately about his players in this context, stating, "This is the youngest team we ever had in the 4 years we have been in the UPSL. They are all heart, and they want to win. We got some great players who don't get recognized."  


While the country does have a soccer presence in the rocky mountains states like Colorado and Utah, not much is known about the soccer scene in Idaho, professional or amateur. The other three teams in the semifinals come from more established states with a notable soccer reputation like Florida, New York, and Arizona. Being among that company means a bit more for the Boise Cutthroat to win on Friday, not just for the sake of the tournament but for their home state. When asked if they feel they have to make a point for Idaho, coach Palacios said, " Of course, this is why we play in this league. We are a small city in Idaho. Some people don't even know where Idaho is. It is to prove a point, we do belong with the big cities, Idaho belongs in the American soccer community." 



East Valley United Pro 

Meanwhile, for the Arizona team, they look like the better team on paper. They ended the regular season with 8 wins and 1 draw in a 9 game season, finishing 1st place in the Arizona/Nevada division. They scored 32 goals and allowed 10 for a GD of +22. They continued their unbeaten streak in the division playoffs by beating Las Vegas Legends, FC Arizona, and Tucson Maccabees decisively by a goal margin of 2 or more. That kind of performance would continue going into the nationals. With the exception of the round of 16, where they beat Escondido Mayas 3-2, they again won their games by two-goal margins against Southwest during the round of 32 and Cal FC in the quarterfinals. This now marks EVUP's winning streak to 14 as they face Boise Cutthroats. EVUP's coach did not respond to our request for an interview. 

The matchup will start on Friday at 5 pm pacific at LA Harbor College and streamed on Eleven Sports.  

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