MP United Football Club clinched the championship in Division A of the M-League after slipping past TanHoldings FC, 4-3, last Sunday at the Hopwood Middle School Field.
Michiteru Mita towed MP United to the important victory, as he made a hat trick in their last game in the shortened competition, including the go-ahead five minutes before the one-hour match wrapped up. The Northern Mariana Islands Football Association technical director’s two other goals were recorded in the third minute and 51st.
Mita’s second goal tied the match, 3-all, and he nailed it off MP United’s third corner kick attempt. For his third and game-winning goal, Mita soared for a kick and over TanHoldings goalkeeper John Bucayo. After the collision, the ball dropped and rolled in, giving MP United the slim lead at the 55th minute mark. MP United went on to use the clock to protect its lead and take the title-clinching win.
MP United, which drew one goal from Young Bin Kim in the 24th minute, finished the spring season with a 7-1-2 win-draw-loss record—the same mark the CNMI U16 Boys National Team gained. The deadlock had to be resolved via goal difference with MP United winning, 19-10. MP United scored 32 goals and gave up 13 in 10 games, while the Teen Ayuyus recorded 20 and yielded 10.
Adding his hat trick last Sunday, Mita earned nine in his M-League debut for the second best output this season. The Teen Ayuyus’ Sunjoon Tenorio and Mita’s teammate Kim also collected nine goals apiece, while TanHoldings’ Sean Perez was the Golden Boot winner with his 12.
Perez made all three goals of TanHoldings in their loss to MP United. He drilled all three in the opening half, posting his first in the ninth minute and the last two in the 11th and 29th minute.
Had TanHoldings won last Sunday’s game, it would have claimed the Division A title. Instead, the team dropped to third place with its 7-0-3 record. The squad earned the most goals in the season with 33 and gave up 14.
Paire/Hawaiian Rock finished fourth despite forfeiting its final game of the season against Kanoa FC last Sunday. The two teams had identical 3-1-6 slates, but Paire/Hawaiian Rock won the tiebreak via goal difference, -3 to -24. Paire got 18 goals and allowed 21, while Kanoa collected 17, but yielded 41—the most this season. Sun Palace, which did not play several games in the closing stage of the division contest, had only one win to show and scored seven goals.