Futbol Club Santa Clarita

The Santa Clarita Storm


Season Ends with a thriller

Late minute Goal ties the game 1-1
Published Nov 18, 2018

North Hills, California- Beautiful Day for soccer 73 degrees partly cloudy and two valley rivals to supply the entertainment. 
Santa Clarita Storm faced Valley rivals Valley United SC at Heritage Christian High School in UPSL Pro Premier's Division final game of the fall season. 
It was one to see the Storm and Valley United put on a show of competitive soccer in an ongoing battle that ended in a 1-1 tie with a game-ending thriller.  
Santa Clarita started the game by putting pressure on the United defense with a number of shots in just a 5-minute span.  First by Andres Zalamea in the 14th minute that just missed the target, by Jesus Pescador in the 17th minute that was on target but at Valley United's keeper Cassey Philips

Zalamea while on the attack got a pass off to John Lopez who shot just over the crossbar in the 19th min.  Throughout the half, the Storm dominated the first 45 minutes of play. In the 26th minute, Santa Clarita's Andres Zalamea was fouled 22 yards from goal. The restart was taken my Lopez who just missed a goal off the far inside post but it bounced back outside the net on the field of play. 

Then finally in the 43rd minute of play Zalamea made a pass from the right side of the net to Lopez who was positioned in the center about 4 yards out and quickly turned on the pass and shot beyond the reach of Philips and put the Storm up by one at the close of the first half of play. 

The Second half of play Valley United came out more aggressive applying a lot more pressure creating opportunities and dominated from the start. 
They quickly started creating more opportunities for themselves and taken more shots that were on target and if not for the Storm's all-star keeper Kyle Cunningham those opportunities would have turned in to goals. 
51st minute Valley United got behind the Storm defense and got a direct shot on goal but Cunningham was on it and quickly push the threat off to the safety to the side and out of danger. 
Then quick on the counter Storm Nelson Peraza carried the ball down the right side cut into the net and found Lopez in front of it, Lopez got the shot off by just past the far post.  Valley continued putting pressure on the Storm and in the 76th minute, it almost paid off as they created a breakaway one on one with the keeper.  The only problem was that keeper was Cunningham who came off his line to meet the attacking player and remove any chance.  A couple of minutes later Valley came back and managed to get past the Storm defense and slip one past Cunningham, but only to have it called back due to offsides.  Storm return the favor with an attack of their own up the middle with Lopez fighting off several defenders slipped the pass over to Zalamea who was doubled up on and returned to Jesus Pascador in the center of the field he turned it over the Lopez who shot and missed over the crossbar. 
Then in the 87th minute Valley running out to time-pressured more and more and started taking shots and on target but Cunningham put on another clinic of keeper saves and turned them away. On a save the ball went out and a corner kick was awarded to Valley United.   Valley denied on the kick but was granted another corner kick and in the 89th minute in a  scramble in front of the net and somehow to cap off a very exciting match Valley United managed to find a whole the got past Cunningham and tied the score in the last 30 seconds of regulation time. 
It was like a script was written to end the season with everything in a soccer game a fan could want in a UPSL game. 
Player of the Match Kyle Cunningham who single handed kept his team in the game. As in the Second half, it could have easily been a 5 to 1 scoreline in favor of Valley United if not for Cunningham.

At the end of the UPSL Spring season, Cunningham was named to the UPSL National Starting IX an award the United Premier Soccer League honors 11 players, one of each position from teams across the country from the BEST 11 players in the league nationwide. 

Santa Clarita will now take to the road to LA Harbor College Stadium to take on Undefeated  Wolves in a 6 pm match next Sunday, November 4th. 
Futbol Club Santa Clarita (FCSC) is a Pro-Am team whose mission is to assist talented players with an avenue to the next level of professional soccer. In its 12 year history, FCSC has assisted players to the professional level of US Soccer. Males 18 and over with the ability and commitment to compete at a professional level and commit to a professional schedule for 10 months of the year are welcome to contact FCSC at

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