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CAMP WALKER, South Korea — Osan American came up short again in its bid for the Far East Class A boys soccer championship, but the young squad says there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about next season.

The Cougars fell 4-1 to Seoul International in the loser’s bracket final Wednesday. The Tigers were ahead 4-0 at halftime, and Kevin Finch ended the shutout with a second-half goal off a feed from Carlos Albadalejo.

Albadalejo is among a handful of younger players giving the Cougars hope after a 7-9 season that began slowly but featured upsets of perennial league power Seoul American.

“We have a lot of freshmen coming back,” said Albadalejo, pointing to Jay Carver and All-Far East selection Alex Lane on defense.

The Cougars have come close the past few seasons, finishing third in the Class A tournament two years ago and second in 2003.

Taejon Christian International (14-2-3) won its second straight title Wednesday with a 4-2 victory over Seoul International. But the Dragons have 11 seniors on this year’s team.

The Cougars, who went 2-2 in the double-elimination affair, gained valuable experience through the three-day tournament, said senior winger A.J. Scott.

“We played better than I thought we would,” he said. “We talked more and played more as a team. Our defense stepped up a lot. We just stayed together more.”

Osan posted one victory over an international school, blanking Seoul International 2-0 on Tuesday, but fell flat against the Tigers in Wednesday’s rematch.

“If we would have played with the same intensity in the first half as we did in the second, we would have won,” Scott said. “We were just dead. We weren’t hustling. Just not fully awake.”

But, Albadalejo predicted, “we’ll be good in the future.”

Faith Academy blanks Pusan in Girls Class A final

CAMP HIALEAH, South Korea — The Pusan American Panthers could not have picked a worse time to suffer their only blowout loss of the season.

Becca Sanders and Leah Sanders scored twice to boost Faith Academy to a 7-0 victory over the Panthers (16-3) in Wednesday’s final of the Far East Class A Girls tournament.

Pusan’s second straight second-place finish was a bitter ending to its landmark season. They opened with 11 straight victories before fading to 5-3 in the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference and Class A tournaments.

“We’re a little disappointed,” said Brieanna Carroll, who scored 27 goals this year and has 79 in three seasons.

For the first time in the team’s eight-year history, the Panthers beat Seoul Foreign and racked up its second victory over Seoul American. Pusan finished with its best record.

“Looking back, we were one of the teams that could have won” the tournament, Carroll said. “I’m looking forward to next year already.”

A few factors worked against the Panthers in the championship match, said Carroll and coach Gary Canner.

Pusan entered the Class A final weary after a 1-0 semifinal victory over Osan American, ending the school’s two-year title run. Faith Academy had two hours to rest after beating International Christian-Uijongbu 5-0 in the other semifinal, but “we had just 30 minutes to rest before the final,” Carroll said.

“I’m happy we beat Osan,” she said, “but it took a lot out of us.”

Wet weather the previous two days didn’t help, turning the field into mud and playing into the hands of Faith’s team possession game, Carroll said.

“We’re a running team. We kick and run and you can’t do that in those conditions,” she said.


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