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AFNORTH's Laurenz Kohl scores the game-winning 3-2 on a penalty as the Lions defeated Florence to advance to Thursday's Division II final against Marymount at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals.
AFNORTH's Laurenz Kohl scores the game-winning 3-2 on a penalty as the Lions defeated Florence to advance to Thursday's Division II final against Marymount at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
AFNORTH's Laurenz Kohl scores the game-winning 3-2 on a penalty as the Lions defeated Florence to advance to Thursday's Division II final against Marymount at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals.
AFNORTH's Laurenz Kohl scores the game-winning 3-2 on a penalty as the Lions defeated Florence to advance to Thursday's Division II final against Marymount at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
After stopping Florence's penalty shot  by Manfredi Galli, center, AFNORTH keeper Paul Kohl can't get the rebound by Filippo Tortelli that tied the game at 2-2. Kohl's brother Laurenz later scored the 3-2 winning goal on a penalty in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018.
After stopping Florence's penalty shot by Manfredi Galli, center, AFNORTH keeper Paul Kohl can't get the rebound by Filippo Tortelli that tied the game at 2-2. Kohl's brother Laurenz later scored the 3-2 winning goal on a penalty in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
AFNORTH's James Barata centers the ball against Florence's Damiano Pacchiani in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. AFNORTH won 3-2 to advance to Thursday's final.
AFNORTH's James Barata centers the ball against Florence's Damiano Pacchiani in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. AFNORTH won 3-2 to advance to Thursday's final. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Florence's Manfredi Galli, left, and Matteo Roncaglia team up to stop AFNORTH's Guillermo Rodriguez in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. AFNORTH won 3-2 to advance to Thursday's final.
Florence's Manfredi Galli, left, and Matteo Roncaglia team up to stop AFNORTH's Guillermo Rodriguez in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. AFNORTH won 3-2 to advance to Thursday's final. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
AFNORTH's David Mitchell and Florence's Nicholas Accattatis fight for the ball in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. AFNORTH won 3-2 to advance to Thursday's final.
AFNORTH's David Mitchell and Florence's Nicholas Accattatis fight for the ball in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. AFNORTH won 3-2 to advance to Thursday's final. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
AFNORTH's Seth BonenClark, left, controls the ball against Florence's Damiano Pacchiani in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. AFNORTH won 3-2 to advance to Thursday's final.
AFNORTH's Seth BonenClark, left, controls the ball against Florence's Damiano Pacchiani in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. AFNORTH won 3-2 to advance to Thursday's final. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Marymount's Alexander Herne, blue jersey, scores his team's fourth goal as AOSR's Arnaldo Di Biase watches in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Marymount won 4-2 to advance to Thursday's final.
Marymount's Alexander Herne, blue jersey, scores his team's fourth goal as AOSR's Arnaldo Di Biase watches in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Marymount won 4-2 to advance to Thursday's final. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
AOSR's Guglielmo Fradusco looks his shot toward the net for a goal as Marymount's Antonio Di Tommaso, left, and Lorenzo Estero watch. Despite Fradusco's efforts, Marymount won the Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, 4-2 to advance to Thursday's final.
AOSR's Guglielmo Fradusco looks his shot toward the net for a goal as Marymount's Antonio Di Tommaso, left, and Lorenzo Estero watch. Despite Fradusco's efforts, Marymount won the Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, 4-2 to advance to Thursday's final. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Marymount keeper Akrm El Weikel get a hand on a shot by AOSR's Gugliemo Fradusco, center, as teammate Alexander Klarenbeek watches. Marymount won the Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, 4-2 to advance to Thursday's final.
Marymount keeper Akrm El Weikel get a hand on a shot by AOSR's Gugliemo Fradusco, center, as teammate Alexander Klarenbeek watches. Marymount won the Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, 4-2 to advance to Thursday's final. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
AOSR's Christian Sjoman fouls Marymount's Julian Van Hensbergen in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Sjoman was sent from the field for the foul, and Marymount won 4-2 to advance to Thursday's final.
AOSR's Christian Sjoman fouls Marymount's Julian Van Hensbergen in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Sjoman was sent from the field for the foul, and Marymount won 4-2 to advance to Thursday's final. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Marymount's Giovanni Taricone, left, tries to get the ball from AOSR's Seung Hyun Na in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Marymount won 4-2 to advance to Thursday's final.
Marymount's Giovanni Taricone, left, tries to get the ball from AOSR's Seung Hyun Na in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Marymount won 4-2 to advance to Thursday's final. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
AOSR's Tommaso Articoli heads the ball away from Marymount's Mario Freilino in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Marymount won 4-2 to advance to Thursday's final.
AOSR's Tommaso Articoli heads the ball away from Marymount's Mario Freilino in a Division II semifinal at the DODEA-Europe soccer finals in Reichenbach, Germany, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Marymount won 4-2 to advance to Thursday's final. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

The AFNORTH Lions have spent the spring preparing for Thursday’s DODEA-Europe Division II boys soccer championship match against the reigning champion Marymount Royals.

All that remains is to find a way to win it.

AFNORTH earned its shot at the Royal dynasty with a rugged 3-2 defeat of Florence in the second of two divisional semifinals Wednesday. Marymount defeated rival American Overseas School of Rome 4-2 in the day’s first elimination game.

The final is scheduled for 3 p.m. CET at Kaiserslautern High School.

Marymount 4, AOSR 2: These two intracity rivals and perennial division powerhouses seemingly can't produce a bad game.

Wednesday's knockout-round match had the look of a rare dud in the teams' eternal feud. Though top-seeded AOSR largely dictated the flow of the game, it was Marymount that entered the final stretch with a 2-0 lead.

That wasn't safe against the Falcons. AOSR, which spent much of the game down a man due to a first-half red card, turned up its offensive efforts, harassing the Royals into a penalty that set up AOSR's first goal and unleashing a few subsequent attempts at an equalizer.

But rather than the tying goal it sought, AOSR inadvertently gave Marymount some room to breathe when a failed clearance caromed into the Falcon net for a 3-1 Marymount lead.

AOSR scored a late goal to threaten again, to which Marymount responded with its own last-minute game-clinching score.

Through a translator, Marymount coach Alessandro Romano called the series "the derby of Rome" and said his team’s familiarity with AOSR allows it to lock in on the Falcons' best offensive players and target their weaknesses in the counterattack.

Wednesday’s semifinal was the latest in a string of compelling matchups between the crosstown rivals, most notably Marymount’s 3-2 overtime defeat of AOSR in the 2017 European championship match.

AFNORTH 3, Florence 2: Senior defensive specialist Laurenz Kohl made a memorable cameo on offense to extend the Lions’ postseason run.

Kohl raced deep into Florence territory late in the second half, drew a foul on an overaggressive defender and converted what held up as the game-winning penalty kick to send the Lions to the championship match.

AFNORTH coach Greg Blankenship said Kohl is “instant offense” when relocated from the backfield to the front line, and he proved the wisdom of the strategy on Wednesday.

Another AFNORTH tactical shift didn’t work out as well. Up 2-0, the Lions got overly conservative in hopes of preserving the lead; Blankenship used the words “old and nervous” to describe his decision, which backfired as Florence scored two goals in quick succession before Kohl’s late drive earned the victory.

Kohl also scored on a penalty kick early in the game. Teammate James Barata knocked in a loose ball for the Lions’ only open-play goal.

AFNORTH and Marymount played to a 2-2 draw in a Tuesday pool-play matchup.

broome.gregory@stripes.com

Twitter: @broomestripes

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