[PDL] Alfonso Motagalvan
scored on a goalmouth scramble in stoppage time to give the Ventura County Fusion a 2-1 win over
the Chicago Fire, making the California team the lowest seed ever to win the Premier Development League championship.
In its third year, the Fusion won its first championship, played
before a sellout crowd of 3,500 fans at Buena High School, despite playing for nearly an hour with just 10 men after
Ventura took the lead in the ninth minute on Ivan Becerra
's goal off former Chivas USA player Rodrigo Lopez
's corner but then lost midfielder Manny Guzman
with a red card after he clashed with Chicago midfielder Mark Blades
The Ventura did a good job
to holding off the Fire attack until the last quarter of an hour when Harvard star Andre Akpan
evened up the game when he deflected Blades' cross into the
"It's a wonderful night for us, and a good advertisement for the game," said Fusion coach Graham Smith
. "We battled
well. We were pushed onto the back foot after the red card, but that galvanized us to stay strong. It's a great night for Ventura, but really this belongs to the players. They performed in
brutal weather down in Texas last week, and really played well tonight. This is their night."
Smith had been sent out for entering the field in the Fusion's celebrations
after the winning goal.
Referee Alejandro Mariscal
had earlier sent off Ventura assistant coach Ole
and Chicago head coach Larry Sunderland
Ventura finished third in the Southwest Division and beat the Los Angeles Legends,
Hollywood United Hitmen, Kitsap Pumas and Bradenton Academics to reach the final.
Chicago was playing in its championship game. It was beaten by the Cape Cod Crusaders in 2002.
Aug. 8 in Ventura, Calif. Ventura County 2 Chicago 1.
Goals: Becerra (Lopez) 8, Motagalvan 90; Akpan 74. Ventura County --
Hill, Barna, Becerra, Riley, Smarte (Guerrero, 90), Byrne (Guei, 76), Guzman, Lopez, Motagalvan,
Barrera (Avesyan, 82), Hamilton. Chicago --
Maurer, Campbell, Rice, Schuler, Sinovic (Morrow, 46), Blades, Braun, Edgar, Knotek (Cutshaw, 46), Adlard,
Akpan. Red card:
Ventura County -- Guzman 33 Referee: