Sporting AZ FC ended its UPSL regular season with a bang, grabbing a 4-1 victory over MSC United at Highland High School Saturday night. Alejandro Aguilar bagged a brace on the evening, which saw fellow Costa Rican Harold Calvo inducted into the club Hall of Fame in a halftime ceremony.
After shaking off some early scares from the visitors, Sporting churned into action. Aguilar kicked off the scoring in the 22nd minute, when Ismael Santana laid the ball neatly into the Tico’s path, and Aguilar thumped it low and into the corner from 18 yards out.
A moment later, Santana was pushed down the box while in pursuit of a throw-in, and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Aguilar stepped up and slotted home for the quick 2-0 lead.
In the second half, U.S. Open Cup hero and Sporting AZ FC captain Jon Guse capitalized on a Tony Cascio corner kick that was first saved by the MSC keeper but dropped in the perfect spot for the center back to roof his shot for the 3-0 lead.
MSC took advantage of a Sporting mistake in the defensive third to put a goal on the board, the only one allowed by Sporting in league play this season.
Starting striker Danny Arrubla would not let MSC’s excitement stand, however. In the 72nd, he got on the end of a corner kick and put it on goal. An MSC defender tried to save, but ended up finishing the goal.
With the 4-1 win, Sporting AZ FC has comfortably finished the regular season in first place in the UPSL Southwest Conference. The club will face El Paso’s Southwest FC next Saturday the 7th in the semifinal of the conference playoffs. If victorious, Sporting will face the winner of the other semifinal between MSC United and FC Grande.
Sporting AZ FC Starters: David Paul, (c) Jon Guse, Ross Alexander, Chris Green, Tony Cascio, Noel Castillo, Colin Kim, Alejandro Aguilar, Ismael Santana, Danny Arrubla
Subs: Andrew Weber, Roberto DeLima, Eijin Kishimoto, David Alton, Paul LaMarca, Mo Salama, Heber Mena