Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, will always be a special day in my life and in the lives of my immediate family, other family members and friends — it was the day that I, this writer, along with my college soccer teammates, was inducted into the SIUE Soccer Hall of Fame.
In 1975, my senior year in college and my third year as a member of the SIUE (Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville) Cougars soccer team, I played a big role in helping the Cougars become the first SIUE squad in any sport to reach an NCAA Division I national championship game. My Cougars team played the University of San Francisco for the 1975 NCAA Div. I title, at Edwardsville, and lost, 4-0, to the eventual champions, the Dons, which was rated as one of the best ever college soccer teams.
It was a fantastic run for our team, which was, and still is, considered the best ever SIUE soccer squad. After advancing to the NCAA tournament the previous three years, my ’75 team, for the first time, won consecutive games in NCAA postseason play. We defeated Cleveland State University (3-2) in the first round, knocked off powerhouse St. Louis University (2-1) for the first time in postseason play in the quarterfinals, then proceeded to beat defending NCAA national champion Howard University, 3-1, before falling to San Francisco in the title game.
The team featured leading scorer Tim Twellman, whose son Taylor is a former USA national team player and former MLS leading scorer with the New England Revolution; Taylor is now a soccer analyst on many broadcasts of USA national team games. A number of my teammates went on to play in the NASL, including Twellman, Greg Makowski, John Stremlau and myself. Our assistant coach, Pat McBride, played in the NASL with the St. Louis Stars and was one of the pioneers of the old North American Soccer League.
The event was most memorable because the reunion was our first in 40 years; it was good to see teammates and old friends, to meet their families, reminisce and laugh about old times and to see everyone health and well. I will forever remember my teammates and treasure the memories for ever. It is great feeling being an SIUE Hall of Famer.
The New York Red Bulls (14-9-6) were clobbered by the Kaka-led Orlando City SC, 5-2, last Friday night as Canadian international Cyle Larin recorded a hat trick for the visitors to Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls, though, are still in first place in the MLS Eastern Conference, and thanks to New York City FC, which defeated Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-1, the Red Bulls are also still tied on points with the Whitecaps in the race for the Supporters’ Shield trophy.
Larin (24th, 43rd, 61st) had his best day as a professional; he started the goal spree in the 24th minute and never looked back. He now has 14 goals on the season, the most for an MLS rookie. He benefitted from two assists from Kaka, the Brazilian star. Bryan Rochez, scored Orlando’s fifth goal in the dying moments of the game.
Dax McCarty (29th min) and Lloyd Sam (58th) scored for the Red Bulls, which saw their head coach Jesse Marsch and defender Matt Miazga red-carded. Sam scored his his eighth goal on the season. Orlando’s third goal was an own-goal by a Red Bulls defender in the 46th minute. The Red Bulls host Columbus Crew SC, Saturday, October 3 at Red Bull Arena, at 7:00 p.m.
In other MLS games last weekend, Los Angeles Galaxy topped FC Dallas, 3-2; San Jose Earthquakes over Real Salt Lake, 1-0; Sporting KC and Seattle Sounders played to a 1-1 draw, and so did Philadelphia Union and New England Revolution; Toronto FC bettered Chicago Fire, 3-2; Portland Timbers over Columbus Crew, 2-1; and Houston Dynamo defeated Colorado Rapids, 3-2.