New England Soccer Today

Elm City Captures NPSL Title

NEW HAVEN, Ct. – The NPSL Championship trophy will reside in New England for the next 12 months. And it was captured in emphatic fashion by a league debutant, no less.

Tavoy Morgan scored twice to spearhead Elm City Express to the NPSL title in its inaugural season by beating Midland-Odessa FC 5-0 before a crowd of 3,112 at Yale University’s Reese Stadium.

Morgan, affectionately called “the Bull,” initially struck in the 26th minute then added another in the 44th minute. It was more of the same from the super-charged Express attack as Quenton Swift scribbled his name on the sheet in the 75th and 90th minutes while Daniel Oliveira notched one of his own 80th minute.

With Saturday’s title win, the Express became the first Connecticut-based club to capture a national championship since the 1967 Hartford Italians lifted the National Amateur Cup.

Despite some initial high pressure from Midland-Odessa, Saturday’s match essentially belonged to Elm City. In fact, the hosts outshot their guests from Texas 7-1 during the first half.

Morgan was a force throughout, and took center stage early when he ventured deep into enemy territory before he was fouled to set up Elm City’s first shot on goal, a close-range header from Istvan Kanyo.

But Morgan made Midland-Odessa pay midway through the first half when he eluded two defenders en route to the 18, where he poked a shot inside the far post to send the crowd into a frenzy.

The Jamaican international made his impact felt again right before the break. With Elm City pressing for second, Morgan answered the call when he slotted through another shot in the 44th minute.

While the Texas squad absorbed plenty of fire, they weren’t without chances of their own. Right before the halftime whistle, Ricardo Palimino pushed a point-blank header just over the bar. In the 49th minute, Isaac Sanchez put a free kick from the top of the box wide of frame.

The second half may not have been as productive as its predecessor for Elm City, but that didn’t make it a dull occasion. Morgan and Ibrahim Keita both flashed some quick-footed moves to catch Midland-Odessa defenders flat-footed, and each drew collective “oohs” from a crowd that was clearly entertained.

More entertainment for the home crowd came in the 75th minute when Swift hurled himself into the area where he buried it past a helpless Jorge Medina. The Midland-Odessa keeper couldn’t do much on Oliveira’s effort either, a blast from 25 yards that screamed into the back of the net. Swift added another in the 90th minute cap the attacking fireworks.

When it was all said and done, the Express outgunned their foes 16-1 in the shot department, and forced seven saves from Medina.

Elm City, which kicked off its inaugural season only four months ago, finishes its remarkable season with a combined record of 14-1-2 between regular season and postseason competition.

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