Sporting AZ FC booked its place in the United Premier Soccer League National Championship Finals with a 2-0 victory over FC Grande and a Southwest Conference title.
The visitors from New Mexico were active from the first whistle, putting Sporting on their heels in a back-and-forth first half, but the home side used some halftime adjustments to get out in front.
Just four minutes into the second half, Sporting forward Alejandro Aguilar made a swashbuckling run down the right, before dropping his cross deep into the path of Tony Cascio. The big Gilbert native struck low and into the corner for the 1-0 lead.
In the 81st, Aguilar and Cascio would connect again. Dominic Papa fed Cascio down the left side of the park, and Cascio deftly slotted for Aguilar, who split two defenders and beat the goalkeeper with a first-time chip.
The UPSL National Championship Finals will take place in Golden, Colo., and Lakewood, Colo., August 10-12, giving Sporting plenty of time for recovery and preparation for their quarterfinal match. Follow Sporting AZ FC on social media and sportingaz.com for details.
Sporting AZ FC Starters: Andrew Weber, David Paul, (c) Jon Guse, Dom Papa, Mo Salama, Eijin Kishimoto, Tony Cascio, Noel Castillo, Paul LaMarca, Alejandro Aguilar, Ismael Santana
Subs: David Alton, Danny Arellano, Julien Dragomir, Jose Ramos, Chris Green, Ross Alexander