Last Sunday in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Beaman United defeated Deportivo Mi Jalisco for 3-1 to become Fall 2022 UPSL KY-TN Conference Champions.
The first half saw a very even game with a crucial save by Alex Rodriguez for the Lions to keep the result scoreless.
In the second half, Beaman started strong.
Seth Poku hit a rocket 30 yards out, smashing into the crossbar past Deportivo’s goalkeeper.
The Lions continued to Push and found the lead in Kentucky through a majestic play by Seth Poku. The attacking midfielder faked a shot, disorienting the Deportivo players, then used his right foot to set up a shot with his left and finished in the bottom left corner.
From a goal kick, Joe Omundi for the Lions sent striker Ryan Roussel to goal. On a 1v1 with the keeper Roussel did not miss, giving Beaman a 2-goal advantage.
The Lions did not stop.
Kwadwo Poku assisted Daniel Picken just outside the box. The left back took a shot with his left foot sending the ball into the bottom right corner.
Despite the 3-0 disadvantage, Deportivo exploited the opportunity to shoot on goal from the right flank and with a tricky curved shot, shortened the score to 3-1.
Beaman won the game, and the Lions were crowned UPSL KY-TN Conference Champions for a second time in 2022.
“It felt great,” said Beaman defender Victor Bellido. “I felt like the whole game we did very good tactically, we were very organized and we felt like if we kept our goal at zero the goals will come.”
Beaman head coach Gift Ndam is satisfied with the Lions’ performance.
“It feels good, Deportivo is a really good team,” he said. “They're direct, intentional about going forward, so when away from home, it means a lot especially to a team that beat us early in the season four to two.”
“Especially when we are now back-to-back Conference Champions, which is something that's not easy to do because there are a lot of good teams in our conference, not just Deportivo,” said Ndam.
After having conceded eight goals in two games against Kalonji Pro-Profile and St. Louis City SC U21, Beaman improved its defensive phase giving away only one goal – which did not involve a defensive mistake – against Deportivo Mi Jalisco.
“Defensively, we've worked really hard as a group,” said Ndam. “Just be in tune a little bit more and not take mental breaks. Especially when we don't have the ball and can we win the ball back just a little bit quicker.”
Lion defender Austin Morenzoni mentioned mindset as the key to the team’s success.
“Just our overall attitude,” he said. “Paying attention to detail, especially heading into this weekend with Open Cup.”
After defeating Kalonji Pro-Profile in the 3rd Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Beaman will play in Round 4 this Sunday against D’Feeters Kicks SC.
The secret formula to Beaman’s first-year triumphs lies in its meaning of family and a mix of young and experienced players.
“We became a family over the past year, working hard towards our goal together. It just feels special, taking another step in this Open Cup,” said Bellido.
Morenzoni said the team gels perfectly because the young guys bring the energy while the older lads bring the experience.
“Just these guys bringing that experience for us, helped us out a lot,” he said. “And I don't think other teams around here have something like that, and that's why I think Beaman is so special.”
With a win against D’Feeters on Sunday, Beaman will advance to the Open Cup Tournament Proper along eight more teams from the Qualifying Rounds.
The inclusivity and the opportunities the Open Cup provides for the players is what makes it special, said coach Ndam.
“It gives young players and to give players that wants to still play at the next level the opportunity to display that talent,” he said. “The reason why this team exists is to compete and to continue to go as high as we can every single season.”
The sky is the limit for the Lions.
“With the Open Cup we've never been here before, but we're breaking new grounds and can we continue to make history as we go,” said Ndam. “We’re hoping that this will continue to give us an opportunity to foster, show our talent and showcase our talent and continue to improve as a group.”
This article was written by Federico Pravettoni