Most of the teams might refer to it as their league’s postseason tournament. Seoul American’s boys soccer team likely views it in a much different light: Unfinished business.
They’ve come up just short the last two years in the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference tournaments, losing the 2012 final 2-0 to Yongsan International-Seoul and last year’s 1-0 to Taejon Christian International.
Especially after the Falcons rallied to edge regular-season champion Seoul Foreign 3-2 on Wednesday, coach Steve Boyd feels his team has a good shot at its third KAIAC tournament title in 13 years or at the very least meet Seoul Foreign again in Saturday’s final.
“I would think so. If not, there’s an upset somewhere,” Boyd said following Wednesday’s match. Jason Lee tied it in the 74th minute assisted by David Neaverth, who in stoppage time netted the match winner on a penalty kick.
But to stop a Crusaders team that had beaten the Falcons 3-1 the first time they met, Seoul American will have to buckle down better on defense. Both of Seoul Foreign’s goals came in the first half off set pieces, and each finished on a header.
“Our defense played much better” than the first time the teams met, but “we’re going to have to shore that up,” Boyd said, referring to the set-piece goals. “Seoul Foreign is a quality team.”
Though both teams finished 11-1 and shared the regular-season championship, the Crusaders earned the top seed in the tournament via goal differential. Seoul American faces winless Osan in its opening match at 12:30 p.m. Friday at Taejon Christian.
Any one of four teams, the Falcons, Crusaders, the host Dragons and Yongsan, are capable of winning the tournament, Boyd said. “TCIS has improved. YIS-Seoul got five goals on us the last time we played,” he said.
“The kids are excited. I’m excited. But we have to be careful.”
While the boys are playing in Daejeon, the girls tournament kicks off Friday at Seoul American’s Sims Field, with Seoul Foreign also the top seed there. The Crusaders are seeking their third straight title.
Championship soccer tournaments are also on the docket in Japan, the boys at Yokota and the girls at Zama, with Matthew C. Perry a slight favorite in the boys and Kinnick favored in the girls.
The latter is the first event to be held at Zama’s Huitema Memorial Field since field-turf installation was complete earlier this month.
Interdistrict baseball and softball play is on tap at Daegu, which welcomes E.J. King’s diamond squads for a weekend series of games with the Warriors, Osan and Humphreys, the latter which fields only a softball team.
Robert D. Edgren hosts a high school track and field meet for the first time in three years. Edgren had not fielded a team since 2011.