SOc-KellyCup-2022

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 SouthHouse vs Rose Tree Gunners FC.

Last year’s beaten finalists return! SouthHouse booked their spot in the Kelly Cup Final with a second placed league finish, a playoff quarter final win over Tercera champions Yardy FC, and a playoff semi-final win over Real Vidas. This group of seasoned campaigners might have been labelled “old” and “past it” on social media, but expectations were always high for SouthHouse, who retain a strong and experienced squad. 

Having won it all before, they might even enter the final as slight favorites. In addition to finishing higher in the table during the league season, they had a superior goal difference to Rose Tree thanks to a stingier defense, and were up joint top for goals scored with their opponents in the final. Perhaps that record is another reason to give them the favorites tag heading into this game.

The star of this team is Finn Reese, the big German striker whose goals have fired them through the various stages of this competition, but in truth there’s quality evenly spread throughout this side. They’re good at absorbing pressure with a compact formation and are as comfortable playing on the break as they are building from the back. Fans new to CASA might also look out for their deep lying playmaker, who makes them tick, and their wide forwards, who are capable of launching rapid counter attacks.

It was only a couple of years ago that Rose Tree Gunners FC were in Tercera: the third division of CASA. It’s a testament to what an impressive job captain Dean Giovanopoulos has done with this side that they’re now in their first Kelly Cup Final. This team are the young challengers to SouthHouse’s status as wiley campaigners. They have a deep squad that has been battle tested over the past few seasons by consecutive promotions and an appearance in last year’s Kelly Cup semi-final. They established their bonafides by knocking out last year’s winners, FC Misconduct in the semi-final. They are also in the Palangi Cup final on Wednesday June 22nd, and they will have the experience of having played a match for a title more recently than their opponents.

The natural inclination might be to favor SouthHouse, given that they were finalists last year and have won the tournament in the past. However, close examination of recent fixtures will show that SouthHouse lost in the regular season to Rose Tree by a 6-3 margin, and then again in the semi-final of the Palangi League Cup, conceding a last minute winner, having initially lead the game. Perhaps Rose Tree have their number this season!

This is another team that is loaded with talent from front to back. Rose Tree pride themselves on their defense and are known for playing a compact block that frequently frustrates opponents. That’s not to say that they’re not also deadly: they’ve got several lively strikers and wide players. Fans new to CASA might look out for Hunter Dyson, their attacking midfielder, through whom much of their forward play flows.

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 SouthHouse and Rose Tree Gunners FC will take place on Sunday, June 26th following the final whistle between Philadelphia Union and New York City FC at Subaru Park.

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