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Foro 360 Pro Win the UPSL Finals Over Chicago Nation

calendario 07.02.2022
by: Salvador Torres
  • Fall
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  • UPSL Premier - Men
Foro 360 Pro Win the UPSL Finals Over Chicago Nation

Foro 360 Pro defeated Chicago Nation to lift the UPSL fall 2021 trophy by a 1-0 scoreline in their first-ever UPSL title. 


This match-up would be the first time both sides will face in competitive play. Chicago Nation being undefeated since the first game, following the recent trend of undefeated times winning the UPSL national championship, looked like the favorites on paper. They recorded wins in all regular-season games and passed the playoffs earlier than the rest of the final four teams waiting for their semifinal opponents since December. In their first match in over a month, they played Kalonji Pro-Profile in the semifinals to a 2-2 draw. Afterward, the game was still even and was pushed into penalties in which Chicago Nation advanced 5-4. They scored 67 goals in the regular season and playoffs and only allowed eight goals. Their top goalscorer is Lukaz Sulka, who tallied 23 goals. In an interview back in January, their journey was summarized by the president of Chicago Nation, Garrett Hayward.

The Texas team finished 1st in the Central Conference North division with an 8-1-3 record, scoring 28 and allowing 21. Arguably, they had the most challenging time making this stage compared to their opponent. They passed Texas Spurs and Rayados Irving in the division playoffs by one and two-goal margins. They blanked Houston Dynamo academy 2-0 in the national round of 16 and fought to the bone against Club El Azul in the quarterfinals. They won with a 5-4 comeback in that match after being down 3-2 in the half. They again had an uphill battle against LAFC Academy in the semifinals. Trailing behind 3-2 in the second half, Sebastian Mendez floats a rainbow shot over the LAFC goalkeeper in the 92' to force the game to overtime. Then in the dying minutes of the second extra time segment, Anthony Manning gets a lucky touch from a cross to get the game-winning goal for Foro to advance to the finals. Their top goalscorer is Miles Byass with ten goals. 

Match Recap:

On a sunny Sunday afternoon at the new Bell Bank Park in Mesa, Arizona, both Foro and Chicago Nation were set to kick off after a long semifinal match on Saturday. Chicago would get their first significant chance at goal in the 6' after a free-kick in the center of the field. The Chicago player sends a long lob pass to a forward in the box where the forward heads the ball from the half-circle, and the Foro keeper Ceus blocks the long header on the line. From there, the windy city team focused more on the counterattack that would usually catch the Foro defense slipping up, and some chances have come off that. They would get another chance in the 26' where the midwest team midfielder gives a pass to the left side for the forward to get one on one with Ceus on the edge of the box, and the forward shoots but Ceus blocks it. A Foro defender would recover the rebound before getting tripped up by the same Chicago forward. 


In general, Chicago would start the build-up from the back as the goalkeeper rarely boots the ball in the air, then Chicago would distribute a long ball to the forwards to chase and grab. They also played short passes, and possession switched to Foro 360 since they incompleted many passes. In one mistake in the 30', after a failed clearance by the Chicago defense, Foro gets the turnover outside the center circle. The forward runs vertically on the edge of the box and unleashes a shot angling to the left that nearly misses the post. The game is still 0-0. Like their game against LAFC Academy, the midfielders of Foro would launch lob balls to their lone striker on the top for him to finish the ball. They also drove the ball up the gut of the Chicago midfield, with their players making individual efforts and taking the ball up all alone. They also used their bodies to fight off the pressure to keep possession. 


Chicago would get another opportunity at goal in the 41' after a mix-up in the midfield. It results from a Chicago midfielder who launches a lob pass to a forward on the run on the left side. Before he can control it, Ceus comes out to get the bouncy ball and collides with the forward on the box line, but the ref gives no call for a foul or penalty. They get another similar chance off a slicing lob pass from their midfielder in the center circle to a forward three minutes later. The forward then beats the defensive line on the reception and goes one on one with the keeper Ceus. He gets one touch to the right with his left foot trying to beat Ceus, but the Foro keeper dives and grabs the ball out of the Chicago player's possession to prevent a possible goal. Foro would respond in stoppage time after a clearance from a corner kick. The Foro player's ball goes to Foro defender Manning who gets a header above the post. The half would end scoreless.


Overall, Chicago had more chances at goal with counterattacks and lob passes while Foro drove the ball up the gut, making risky passes on the ground and in the air. They also won more standing tackles and were more physical. They had more possession in half, but their long-shot efforts didn't test the Chicago keeper often. 


Chicago would have more possession of the ball as the second half went on, not playing the counter and building up plays. The game would feel more relaxed for both sides, possibly from fatigue. It also got more choppy from constant fouls compared to the first half. Chicago would get two chances in the 60' and 64' but ended up short or just off target. Foro would then break the tie in the 77'. Foro gets a throw-in on the left side of the field, and a Foro player receives the ball, takes a long second looking up before sending a low cross to Miles Byass, who heads the ball with the top of his head and arches backward to where the ball beats the keeper at his left post. Foro takes the lead 1-0. Chicago would get a chance to respond three minutes later with a shot on target, but Ceus blocks it for a corner. Unfortunately, it leads to a Foro clearance. Foro would play till the clock ran out, and Chicago looked defeated and exhausted, giving away poor mistakes. They were knocking on the door to get the tieing goal, but the referee would blow the final whistle, and Foro 360 Pro would win the UPSL Fall 2021 championship. 


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