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Strikers make consolation final in Portland

The Yukon Strikers U14 boys rep soccer team got a win just when they needed one the most on Sunday.

The Yukon Strikers U14 boys rep soccer team got a win just when they needed one the most on Sunday.

Playing at the Mount Hood Challenge in Portland, Oregon, the Strikers defeated BSC Portland in a 1-0 shutout win to reach the consolation final. It was their first win of the tournament.

Losing 3-1 to Oregon’s PCU Red & Black in the final, the Strikers finished sixth in the U14 boys silver division.

“We were sixth out of 14 teams in our category, so we’re really happy with that,” said Strikers head coach Ed van Randen. “That’s a really good result for the Yukon.”

The Strikers opened the tournament with a 0-0 tie against Portland’s Eastside Timers on Friday, followed by a 2-1 loss to PCU Red & Black.

In another close loss, the Strikers fell 3-2 to Pacific FC from Washington on Saturday.

“This was their first tournament,” said van Randen. “They have been practising all winter and we have to go to nationals in about a month and a half, so this was a nice warm-up tournament for them.”

Leading the Yukon squad in goals were striker Luka van Randen and centre midfielder Callum Wood-Ryan with two apiece. Left midfielder Skylar Bryant also got a goal.

Strikers goalkeeper Graydon McDonnell was in net for both of his team’s shutouts.

“A couple players stood out in terms of their play,” said Ed. Centre back Malcolm Muir “was really exceptional the whole tournament… He was really amazing back there and was so solid. He really kept the scores close for us. Him and our goalie Grayden were a great combination.

“The other guy who was really fantastic was (defenceman) Elisha Leenders. He really stepped up. He played fantastic soccer. It was a real surprise how good he played.”

The Mt. Hood Challenge is one of America’s largest annual soccer tournaments. This year’s event featured 7,380 players, on 496 teams, playing in 1,069 games on 67 fields.

The U14 National Club Championships - the Canadian championships in which the Strikers will compete - will take place in Vaughan, Ontario, over Thanksgiving weekend.

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