Sports

United stifles Gunners

Langley United’s Alex Dalla Zanna (#13) boots the ball past a member of the Port Moody Gunners during the finals of the U21 Cup on Saturday morning at the Port Moody Town Centre. Langley won 1-0 to capture the Cup, one of three titles Langley United teams who won Cups in their respective divisions that day. - Robert McDonald
Langley United’s Alex Dalla Zanna (#13) boots the ball past a member of the Port Moody Gunners during the finals of the U21 Cup on Saturday morning at the Port Moody Town Centre. Langley won 1-0 to capture the Cup, one of three titles Langley United teams who won Cups in their respective divisions that day.
— image credit: Robert McDonald

The goal at the start of the season was to develop the players, and that was accomplished.

But the cherry on top? That would be winning the Fraser Valley Soccer League U21 Cup.

“For me, at the end of the day it is about developing the players because it is an under 21 team,” said Paul Ballard, who was coaching the Langley U21 side for the first time after returning to Langley last year from Northern Ireland, the last stop of his professional career.

“It is always fun to win a trophy, so to say we won something is fantastic.”

Langley United defeated the Port Moody Gunners 1-0 on Saturday morning at the Port Moody Town Centre.

In the 60th minute, Elie Gindo fired a shot on goal and Mitchell Urzinger beat three defenders to the rebound in the box and scored on a low shot to the far post.

Ballard called Urzinger the team’s X-factor.

“His pace and skill were hard for Port Moody to contain and in the end, he deserves full credit for that goal he scored,” Ballard said.

The Gunners were the top team in the league all season and this was their first loss in 21 games (17-0-4). Along the way, the team scored 106 goals and only allowed 11 in that span.

But Langley United executed their game plan to perfection and only allowed the Gunners high-octane offence a few quality scoring chances, with keeper Evan Lowther up to the task each time.

Ballard also credited the back four of Lucas Solmes, Nate Peters, Matt Kasteel and Sam Sinclair with excellent play,

“They (Port Moody) are a very talented team, a very deep team so we knew the only way we were going to get anything was if we played as a team,” Ballard said.

“That is the one thing we have been saying all season as a coaching staff is that we need to move together, not as individuals, but as a family, as a group.”

Winning the Cup was a big accomplishment for the team considering the team’s youth and inexperience, the coach said.

“This is a bunch of players … who at one point in their careers have been told they are too slow, too short, don’t have a good enough first touch, aren’t going to make it,” Ballard said.

“They are a bunch of guys who believed they could keep it going, and their passion, their fight, their determination, that is what got us the victory on Saturday.

“Winning the Cup was a team goal for us at the beginning of the season and it feels great to say that we achieved success.”

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