By Charles Cuttone
SAN DIEGO - July 27, 2012 - FC Sonic put on a dominating performance and defeated the Madison 56ers 2-0 Friday afternoon at Del Norte High School in the first semifinal game of the National Premier Soccer League Championship Series.
Sonic went up in the 57th minute after a foul in the penalty area. James Gross fired a hard spot kick past 56ers goalkeeper Ryan Onwukwe.
Sonic took a 2-0 lead in the 75th minute. Leslie Fraser ran onto a ball through the Madison defense, cut into the penalty area and fired a hard driven shot past Onwukwe.
The light blue-clad Sonic threatened to break the game open several times, forcing the Madison keeper to make a number of big saves.
Sonic set the tone for the game just seven minutes in, when Tucker Sandercock forced Onwukwe to save a line-drive shot on goal. Five minutes later, Tom Mustac put another shot on goal. Then in the 18th minute, he ran onto a ball in the area, but the Madison ‘keeper charged out to make a sliding grab.
The onslaught continued ten minutes later, when Sonic midfielder Jordy Ciuffetelli made an overlapping run on the left side and took a shot from the left corner of the penalty area, again forcing a stop from Onwuke.
Madison’s best chance of the game came from NPSL Player of the Year Carlos McCrary in the 28th minute, a rocket shot from 35 yards that forced league goalkeeper of the year Charlie Sales to make a leaping save. Three minutes later, McCrory’s shot from outside the 18 curled wide right.
Sonic continued to pepper the Madison goal, looking for a first-half break that never came. In the 38th minute, Joe Sales sent a shot from the top of the 18 sailing high and two minutes later, Mustac sent a shot wide left.
In the last two minutes of the half, Sonic put two shots off the football crossbar, which sits about two feet above the goal crossbar, first by Ciuffetelli, then by Mustac.
Sonic continued to dominate possession and chances into the second half. In the 46th minute, Ryan Jones sent a curling shot high, then Pat Le Toutneau hit one high two minutes later.
Madison forced Sales to make his second save of the game in the 56th minute, when Christopher Brown took a dangerous shot from the left side of the area.
After taking a 1-0 lead, Sonic settled things down looking for the second goal. It almost came in the 60th minute after a nice buildup out of the midfield, but Cody Antonini hit his shot high.
Once they took a 2-0 lead, Sonic settled into a possession game to run out the clock.
FC Sonic will face the winner of Friday’s Bay Area Ambassadors-Chattanooga FC semifinal on Sunday at noon for the NPSL crown.