Local youth soccer team reaches regional semifinal

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The Pacific FC Fire boys soccer team came up one win shy of playing for a regional championship.

The team from Southwest Washington won its pool and advanced to the semifinals in the under-16 boys age group at the U.S. Youth Soccer Presidents Cup Far West Regional in Arvada, Colo. On Saturday, a 1-0 loss to FC Super Nova from Boise in the semifinals ended the tournament for the Clark County club.

The Idaho entry scored on one of only two second-half shots and withstood a late push from the Fire that included three corner kicks and two free kicks. The Boise team lost 2-0 to the L.A. Premier FC in the tournament finals.

Separate from the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series, the Presidents Cup is a series of tournaments for developmental-level youth soccer teams. Washington sends winners of its Challenge Cup state tournaments to the Presidents Cup regionals.

Pacific FC recorded two wins and a tie during pool play at the regionals, which began last Wednesday. The Fire then defeated Real Olympico of Colo., in the quarterfinal match.

The Fire opened the regional tournament with a 1-1 draw against La Roca of Utah. Arturo Gomez scored for Pacific FC, finishing a play developed with Joseph Hernandez dribbling the ball down the right wing. Utah tied the match midway through the second half, and backup Fire goalkeeper Dalton Reis made several key saves to keep the result a draw.

A 1-0 Fire win over Sagebrush SC Juventus of Nevada on Thursday came on a late goal from Brendan Nuzam, who split defenders to turn a long goal kick from defender Reed Wortman into a goal. Starting Fire goalkeeper Sharif Batroukh returned after sitting out the first match with a dislocated thumb, and made a series of early saves.

A 2-0 win over Tuzos Juniors of Phoenix, Ariz., on Friday morning put the Fire atop its pool. Hernandez scored in the first half and Nuzam in the second. Batroukh and defenders Sterling Ransom, Andrew Jamison, Wortman, and Andrew Spaulding blanked the Arizona entry.

The quarterfinal match on Friday afternoon against the host club went into overtime, where Eddie Altukoff scored the go-ahead goal and the Pacific FC defense held through the second overtime period. Hernandez pounced on a loose ball for the goal that gave the Fire a 1-0 lead with 20 minutes left in regulation. But the Colorado team tied the score with 10 minutes remaining.

Playing in the Presidents Cup regionals for Pacific FC Fire were: Eddie Altukoff, Batroukh, Troy Blake, Gomez, Hernandez, Jamison, Quinten Martinez, Phillipe Mattos, Nuzum, Ransom, Ries, Micah Ritchie, Brett Sparks, Spaulding and Wortman. The head coach was Tommy Nuzum. The assistant coaches were Ron Sparks and Jason Martinez.

Formed in 2010, Pacific FC is a select-level club serving Battle Ground Youth Soccer Club, Eisenhower Soccer Club, Lewis River Soccer Club, Prairie Soccer Club, and Westside Soccer Club.