Championship Saturday kicked off with our first-ever youth tournament on the ACME field outside of Talen Energy Stadium. The tournament was a great success, and families were enthusiastic as they watched their children compete. Team Mexico ultimately came out on top and took home first place medals, complete with a high-five from the Union’s mascot, Phang. We had a great time watching our youngest soccer stars take the field, and we look forward to doing this event again next year.
This year, we also held the first all-star game, which replaced the third place competition held in previous years. Players were selected from each of the 52 teams in the tournament and were randomly drawn into two teams. Returning players were hyped for this match-up and ready to give it all they had. Fans and families watched on as the grey team beat out the black team by a score of 3-0. It was a great turnout for the event, and we can’t wait to make it an annual tradition next year.
With Team USA in the final for the first time in Unity Cup history, there was speculation that they could upset the Liberian squad, which had been to the final every year since the tournament’s existence and had won the previous two years in a row. But Liberia came out firing to start the game off, scoring just 7 minutes into play. Team USA had a majority of possession the rest of the half but couldn’t find the back of the net. Going into halftime, the score was 1-0 Liberia.
Coming out in the second half, USA was determined to score, but ultimately couldn’t find the back of the net the whole game. In the 75th minute, Liberia doubled up their lead, and just 5 minutes later made the game 3-0, which would end up being the final score. Team Liberia’s goalkeeper, Prince Monyan, made some great saves throughout the game to keep USA scoreless. It’s not a surprise that team USA couldn’t score, due to the fact that Prince Monyan won the Golden Glove award as this year’s best goalkeeper— only giving up one goal during the whole tournament.
Team Liberia is now back-to-back-to-back champions, and there’s no looking back from here. They will aim to defend their title reign in next year’s tournament. Is anyone able to stop the dominance of Liberia, or will they win for a fourth straight year?
Check out our Best of Unity Cup Championship Day photo album to view all the incredible and unforgettable moments from the day!