Santa Cruz FC Takes Home Third At UPSL National Finals
The Lowell club ended the tournament in third place after failing to reach the finals.
Santa Cruz FC ended its season on a high note Sunday night, with a commanding 3-0 victory over Rush ACM3 (El Paso, Texas).
The second-year squad out of Lowell ended the first half strong, scoring the only three goals in the match in the final ten minutes before the break. Forward Guilherme Barbosa scored a brace in the 38th and 39th minutes, while his partner up top, Geo Alves, added a third goal in the 45th.
Midfielder Patrick Sorensen assisted the first goal, heading a direct pass from right back Kelvvy Liva into the box before Barbosa ran onto the ball and blasted a shot over the keeper from a narrow angle at the near post.
Shortly after the restart, Liva won a ball in the midfield and started a counterattack down the right flank, ending in Liva crossing the ball from the right corner. Liva's cross was deflected right to Barbosa, who chested the ball and volleyed a low shot into the far side netting.
Santa Cruz again found success going down the right for the third goal, as Michael Sorenson received a long pass down the wing and used fancy footwork to get around the left back. Running along the end line with the ball, Sorenson slid a pass between the keeper and central defender, setting Alves up for a tap in.
It was a high note to end the weekend Santa Cruz FC, which started with a difficult 1-0 loss in the semifinals on Friday night to SCU Heat (Columbia, South Carolina). SCU Heat would later lose to the eventual champions, Olympians FC (El Mirage, AZ), by the score of 1-0 on a stoppage-time goal.
While falling short of their championship aspirations, reaching the National Finals and coming back to New England with a third-place trophy is a massive success for Santa Cruz FC, which entered UPSL in 2021.
"Obviously, we did not win the goal that we came here for, which was [first place]," said defender Baker Senoga in a post-game interview. "We tried hard, we played good in the second game, and we got something to show for it."
Barbosa echoed Senoga's statements and is already looking ahead to what is next for Santa Cruz: "I think it was an unreal experience. We took advantage of everything, we took it all in, we stayed present. I think of course we came a little bit disappointed. We came here and we did our job and we got third place, but we're still hungry for more and we're ready for next year."
In case you missed it, The Blazing Musket spoke to founder and general manager Igor Monteiro to discuss the founding of Santa Cruz FC and their journey to the UPSL National Finals.