In what could be described as a Cup Group Title Decider, Augusta United FC and Limeño Georgia matched up against one another. The winner would decide which of the two would go on to play in the Regional Cup Final next week against Limeño U20. United were in the better position after winning their first 2 group games sitting on 6 points while Limeño had come in having won and tied a game which put them at 4 points.
Limeño would need to win in order to make it to the final but United would only have to draw to earn a trip to the Cup Final. These 2 Premier Division teams will also be expecting to challenge for honors in the regular season and a Cup trophy at this stage of preparation would be the perfect spring board to a successful season.
The match itself started in a frenetic pace as both clubs immediately went after one another with Augusta United getting the better early chances. As the half continued on, a sort of stalemate developed with each side having few opportunities and both defensive thirds managing to stifle all probing attacks thrown at them. The two teams seemed evenly matched on evidence from this half.
The 2nd half would start much the way the first half ended with Augusta having a higher ratio of chances but with no real reward. Limeño’s tiki-taki style of play would be a foundation to the breakthrough for them in the match.
On 54 minutes, Limeño’s creative possession led to an attack down the right wing that produced a waist high cross to a waiting Saul Tinoco standing in front of goal completely unmarked. Tinoco got a free volley into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead and important advantage in the match.
This was the goal that Limeño needed to impose more influence on the match. Augusta now need to score to keep their Cup Final hopes alive but this hope would be harmed just 3 minutes later when Limeño scored again.
After Augusta had lost possession in the midfield with an errand pass collected by Limeño. The Limeño player had plenty of space and time picked out his right winger with a cross field pass to release captain Geo Rios with a move inside. Rios then split to Augusta defenders before burying a shot from inside the penalty area, beyond the reach of the Augusta keeper Ethan Ratliff, for a devastating 2-0 lead near the midway point of the 2nd half.
This goal changed the complexion of the match where there was now a goal cushion for Limeño which means that Augusta would now have to press to try to score 2 goals to get them back level. Limeño would know this and could try to stifle Augusta further to prevent them from chasing the game.
Time did become a factor as wave after wave of Augusta attack was countered with a strong back line of Limeño and the continued threat from Limeño with their own attack. This method of play from Limeño brought about another breakthrough in the match that effectively sealed the victory for them.
Good possession from Limeño found them effectively move forward ending with a fantastic through-ball that split the Augusta back line and released an attacking Limeño player who found himself one on one against Ratliff in goal to reach the pass. The Limeño player got to the ball a split second before Ratliff and unfortunately for the Augusta keeper, brought down the attacking player for a called penalty.
Veteran forward, Marcos Tobar, stepped up and calmly converted the penalty, putting Ratliff off in the wrong direction, to give Limeño what would then seem an unreachable lead with less than 20 minutes remaining in the match.
If Augusta was going to get back in this game, they would need to score quickly and pressure from there, but Limeño were well behind the ball now soaking up pressure and still hitting on the break. Try as they did, Augusta could not break down the Limeño defense.
There were some frantic encounters between the 2 sides late that earned players form both sides a fair amount of yellow cards from referee Horacio Olivera, but control was maintained. The final whistle finally blew after 5 minutes of added time to give Limeño Georgia the 3-0 victory and birth in the first ever UPSL Georgia Regional Cup Final. They will be facing Limeño U20 which effectively will be a Limeño Derby Final and bragging rights from the team from north Georgia.