MP United clinches boys U15 title


MP United’s Sunjoon Tenorio, 10, goes for the game-winning header during the closing minute of their game against Tan Holdings-1 in the boys U15 division of the NMIFA fall league last Saturday at the Oleai Sports Complex Field. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Sunjoon Tenorio dealt Tan Holdings-1 a heartbreaker, scoring a late header that lifted MP United to a thrilling 1-0 win in the final regular season game in the boys U15 division of the 2015 NMIFA Youth Fall League last Saturday at the Oleai Sports Complex Field.

With the close victory, MP United finished the shortened season with a perfect 6-0-0 win-draw-loss record and claimed the division championship. Tan Holdings dropped to a 5-0-1 mark for a runner-up finish, missing its bid for a third straight division title against the same rival. Tan Holdings-1 and MP United wrapped up the 2014 fall season with similar 4-1-0 slates, but the former won the tiebreak due to its superior goal difference, 35-27. Tan Holdings-1 then made it two in a row this spring season after earning an immaculate 10-0-0 mark.

Tenorio, however, ended Tan Holdings-1’s reign, as he posted the lone goal in the deciding match at the 79:10 mark or less than a minute left in regulation. The winning goal came off a left corner kick from Edwin Kim.

Before the Kim-Tenorio connection, the former had two unsuccessful right corner kicks in the second. Kim’s first try landed at the waiting hands of Tan Holdings goalie Jonathan Capayas, while the second was way off the back of the goal.

The third time was the charm for MP United with Kim getting ready for the kick, and Tenorio, Clayton Izuka, and Michael Lee taking their positions inside the penalty area. After the kick, Tenorio soared from the middle and went for the header against Alan Hinson, whose teammates Louie Calayag and Mareko Tekopua were also near the goal to provide help defense, while Capayas was at the far right side of the goal. Tenorio’s header went on to drop from past the center of the post down to the net with the smaller Capayas failing to catch the ball.

A jubilant Tenorio rushed to their bench to exchange high-fives with some of his teammates and soon the entire squad and its supporters joined the celebration as referee Amzad Khan blew his whistle, signaling the end of the important game.

Tenorio, in an interview with Saipan Tribune after the match, said the winning goal was his third header this season. Incidentally, the first two were also courtesy of Kim’s corner kicks.

“Even though we missed a couple or corner kicks earlier, I knew we could still get one off because we’ve been doing the same play in our past games and had some success. Edwin usually takes the corner and I am one of the players getting inside and trying for the header,” the CNMI U15 national team member said.

Joining Tenorio, Kim, Izuka, and Lee on the champion squad are goalie Christopher Aninzo Joshua Abragan, Makie Binalay, Eui Jin Byen, Grant Eichenberger, Eun Syu Hahn, James Kim, Oliver Lee, Cody Leon, Matthew Ong, Kevin Park, Alex Park, Mock You, and Go Sekiguchi, who celebrated his birthday last Saturday and got a perfect gift from his teammates with their title win. Daniel Lim coached MP United in the championship-deciding match and was assisted by fellow U18 player Kennedy Izuka.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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