And so it comes to this! Another year of CASA Soccer in the books and the Kelly Cup final is all that’s left to be settled. Which teams remain standing to fight for the biggest trophy in CASA next weekend? FC Misconduct vs Real Vidas.
FC Misconduct should be a familiar name to those acquainted with CASA’s ‘big clubs’. Longtime powerhouses, their trophy case is impressive. This season, they finished 3rd in the Primera with 6 wins, 3 ties, and 1 loss, on 21 points. The Primera 4th place team directly beneath them on 20pts? Real Vidas. One of the newest teams from the Vidas United FC family of clubs, Real Vidas were a feel-good story of the Primera season, coming into the league and finishing 6- 2-2 in their first season. Could they cap off a Cinderella run with a Kelly Cup victory?
The teams met in Matchweek 3 of the Primera’s regular season and FC Misconduct were 3-2 winners, in a game that they led for all 90 minutes. “We’ll gladly take a gritty victory over a very solid Real Vidas,” said Misconduct captain Blake Fink at the time, who also scored a brace in the victory. “End result didn’t fall our way but a great lesson on what to expect out of the top teams in CASA,” said Real Vidas captain Evan Gibbs in his post-match comments. Will Real Vidas learn from that lesson, or are FC Misconduct too tough a test?
Come game day it’ll be 22 players on the field, so personnel will be critical. Here Misconduct are at a disadvantage, as they’ll be missing some key players, headlined by their starting goalie Dave Root, as well as Fink, their leading scorer. Right back Sam Bollinger and Forward Ryan Finley will also both be missing. Real Vidas expect to have close to a full-choice roster – “we have a few players that are on extended vacation or moved away for the summer that are looking to come back for the match which speaks volumes to the togetherness of the squad,” said Gibbs. “For a lot of my guys this the biggest game of their life.” It’s very much a case of the passionate upstart looking to take out the experienced giant, with pros and cons to both. “I don’t think our experience hurts at all and it might help us not get overwhelmed by playing at Union stadium,” said Misconduct’s Fink, “but in men’s league having young legs is never a bad thing.” “I think history and experience likely becomes irrelevant once that whistle blows and the game begins.”
When that whistle does blow, the teams will both come out in 4-3-3 formation, barring any tactical tricks. “We typically don’t switch it up,” said Fink, “It gives us freedom to move some of our top guys into different positions based on the opposition”. Key players for Real Vidas will be Brandon Esker, a CDM who made the CASA All Star team last season, and Ahmed Bah, who was their top goalscorer. Misconduct will look for strong performances out of Alec Golini, top goalscorer in the absence of Finley and Fink, as well as Steve Macurdy who will be contesting the middle of the pitch.
Named in memory of former Casa Soccer League board member, player, and friend, Shane Kelly, the Kelly Cup is the biggest stage for Philadelphia amateur soccer. The match between FC Misconduct and Real Vidas will take place on Saturday, July 17th following the final whistle between Philadelphia Union and D.C. United at Subaru Park.