Pilot Cup boys' 3-4 gold division: Binford delivers for MCS

COSTA MESA — For two 30-minute halves, Kyle Binford does his best to disarm scoring chances. But if penalty kicks are required, as they were twice on Sunday for his Mariners Christian School third- and fourth-grade boys' soccer team, the defender showed he certainly knows how to find the back of the net.

Binford converted a pair of game-winning penalty kicks Sunday to help the Dolphins claim the Daily Pilot Cup boys' gold division title at Jack Hammett Sports Complex.

Binford's driving shot toward the center of the cage went off the goalie's palms and into the net to cap a 4-3 advantage in PKs after Mariners Christian and Kaiser Elementary had played to a 2-2 tie in regulation time of the title match.

Binford also had the decisive PK in a morning semifinal triumph over Mariners to help the Dolphins eventually capture the school's fourth boys' gold division crown in 13 Pilot Cup appearances. Mariners Christian also won this division in 2010, 2004 and 2003.

"I just try to go to the left corner, because its easier for me," said Binford, who admitted he did not get his second penalty kick of the day in the direction he wanted it.

Mariners Christian was guided by a co-coach with pro experience. Chris Klein, a former Major League Soccer player who last competed for the L.A. Galaxy two years ago, served as a co-coach for MCS.

Klein said Carson Klein, Stephen McMillan and Nolan Rhodes also scored in both penalty-kick sessions to help the Dolphins cap the youth soccer tournament with a 5-0 record.

Kaiser which turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead in the final, had two shots carom off the goal post and another off the crossbar in regulation. The Knights, coached by Paul Hillson, had penalty-kick conversions from Jack Starnes, Caden Garrido and Dylan Hillson.

The Knights, who posted a 4-3 semifinal triumph over Our Lady Queen of Angels earlier on Sunday, had goals from Ty Burgess and Starnes in regulation of the final.

Rhodes, another Mariners Christian defender, scored on a booming blast from near midfield to give Mariners Christian a 1-0 lead against Kaiser in the eighth minute.

But just two minutes later, Burgess equalized by lofting a high shot over the goalkeeper after getting behind the defense.

Kaiser went ahead in the 24th minute, when Starnes ran onto a through ball from the back line, carried down the right side, then directed a shot just inside the far post in the 26th minute.

Mariners Christian knotted things again in the 26th minute when Sam Morehouse rolled a pass to Carson Klein on the right wing and the forward deposited it into the upper right portion of the net from about 10 yards out.

Hiilson punched a shot from near the right side of the goal that ricocheted off the goal post early in the second half. And Starnes kissed a shot off the lower half of the crossbar in the 54th minute to create a buzz among the estimated 200 spectators that lined the Kaiser sideline.

Starnes directed a shot on net from close range in the 58th minute, but Dolphins' keeper Brennan Carroll fell to his knees to make the stop. Carroll finished with five saves, while also stopping one penalty kick.

Jax Richards, sweeper Will Debassio and defender Nolan Schupak also typified the constant effort exerted by the Kaiser squad, which Paul Hillson said did not have a single club player.

"I'm extremely proud of the way we played," Paul Hillson said. "We hit the bar three times. It's a tough way to lose."

Conversely, the Mariners Christian roster was comprised almost completely of club players, according to Chris Klein.

Benjamin Dahlke, a forward, displayed the kind of skill the Dolphins players had fortified with year-round club participation.

"There were some good teams and very good players out here, all playing for their school," Chris Klein said. "We won two games in penalties and that makes its fun for the boys and for their school."

Will Walker, Micah Look, Jack Bibb, Evan Smith, Chase Hall, Evan Fischbacher and Richard Eusey also contributed for the champions.

Kaiser's tournament run was also aided by Aldrich Jimenez, Jonathan Sparks, Steven Evans and Clayton Wallburger.


Twitter: @BarryFaulkner5

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World