Rovers DI Capture Bank of Guam 7th Annual GFA Cup Title

Rovers DI Capture Bank of Guam 7th Annual GFA Cup Title

he Rovers DI claimed the Bank of Guam 7th Annual GFA Cup trophy edging second-consecutive finalists Table 35/Fuji Ichiban Espada FC 4-3 in the tournament final at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.

The win capped the Rovers DI’s championship season in the Budweiser Soccer League, in the team’s first foray into Division I play.

In the GFA Cup final, Espada’s Andre Gadia opened scoring for both teams, heading in a header assist from teammate Isiah Lagutang. Moments later, the Rovers’ Jason Cunliffe took advantage of a pushing foul in the box for a penalty kick opportunity. Cunliffe easily leveled the match with a shot from the penalty kick spot that sailed right past Espada goalkeeper Joe Laanan.

Moments later, the Rovers DI took a 2-1 lead when Natsuki Recella collected the ball from a clearing attempt by Espada’s Marlon Evans, ran past Espada’s last line of defenders and knocked in his shot from the left side in the 25th minute.

Espada managed to level the match minutes later following a corner kick play. The ball sailed over Rovers DI goalkeeper Taro Miyamoto and landed right in front of Marlon Evans, who quickly took a shot. Dominic Gadia redirected the shot into the goal for his first goal of the night.

The Rovers DI regained the lead in the 57th minute. On a corner kick play, Espada keeper Joe Laanan managed to push the ball up and away from the goal, but before Espada had a chance to clear the ball, the Rovers’ Yaw Antwi-Agyei reacted with a bicycle kick for goal.

About 20 minutes later, the Rovers DI gave enough space for Espada’s Dominic Gadia to take a long-range shot that leveled the match again. The celebration was short-lived as the Rovers’ David McCallum scored on a header on the ensuing play following the kick off for the final 4-3 score.

The Rovers DI become only the third team to win the GFA Cup and the second consecutive Budweiser Soccer League Division I champions to secure the tournament trophy.

Matao captain Jason Cunliffe has played for each of those three teams at least once that have hoisted the championship trophy. He scored a goal with Quality Distributors FC in 2008 for the title in the inaugural year, scored a hat trick for 2010 winners Guam Shipyard, the game-winning goal in extra time for Guam Shipyard in 2012 and scored once on a penalty kick for the Rovers DI in 2014.

Also receiving awards following the GFA Cup final match were winning teams from the recently concluded Budweiser Soccer League. The Rovers DI captured the BSL Division I championship trophy and Jason Cunliffe also was recognized as one of two winners of the division’s Golden Boot. Ashton Surber from the Southern Cobras also was recognized with the Golden Boot award. Espada was recognized at the division’s Fair Play award winner.

For Division II, the IP&E/Paradise Fitness Sidekicks were honored with the division championship and the Sidekicks’ Shawn Spindel also was one of two Division II Golden Boot award winners. Kevin Tainatongo of Big Blue Division II was the other recipient of the DII Golden Boot Award. The Pago Bay Disasters won the Division II Fair Play Award.

In the BSL Masters Division, Hyundai Family FC swept all awards – the division championship and the Fair Play Award. Hyundai’s Se Lim also won the division’s Golden Boot award.

A fiesta-style party was held for the GFA Cup finalists and BSL award winners at the GFA National Training Center second floor lanai.

The Rovers DI proudly hoist the GFA Cup championship trophy with Guam Football Association Executive Committee member Gian Tenorio and William N. Li, Assistant Vice President and Marketing Officer with Bank of Guam during an awards ceremony following the team’s 4-3 win over Table 35/Fuji Ichiban Espada FC in the Bank of Guam 7th Annual GFA Cup championship match at the GFA National Training Center.