Dallas Cup XXXIV - Fulham run out 5-1 winners over Kashiwa Reysol for title

Published Saturday, March 30, 2013 11:22 AM by Shane Barrow
Dallas Cup XXXIV - Fulham run out 5-1 winners over Kashiwa Reysol for title

What a final we had on tap forDallas Cup XXXIV.  English side Fulham facing off against the team everyone was talking about Kashiwa Reysol.  The team from Japan has been blasting competition all week long and doing it in style.  A beautiful possession game has been playing opponents off the pitch.

In the shadows of Reysol, Fulham have quietly been winning.  With size, speed and technical ability Fulham have clearly earned their spot in the final.   Could Kashiwa Reysol get their quick possession game going against the more athletic Brits?  Would a leaky Fulham defense stand up to the relentless Reysol attack?

As the game kicked off it was weather worthy of a final on Easter Sunday at the Cotton Bowl with clear skies and temperatures in the low 70s.  It was obviously going to be a very open final as both teams generated dangerous attacks in the opening exchanges.

In the 7th minute Fulham grabbed the lead as a long cross to the back post was headed back across by Ryan Williams to Maumer Tankovic who blasted into the roof of the net from close range. An early lead for Fulham and a sure test for Kashiwa Reysol who found themselves trailing for the first time all week.

Fulham was doing a wonderful job pressing Reysol and not allowing the Japan side to get through the midfield at all.  The question after 15 minutes for me was if Fulham could keep up the high pressure for the full 90.  FFC had a difficult semifinal.  Would their legs hold up?

A potential game changing call came in the 19th minute as a ball into the box freed Cauley Woodrow.  Reysol keeper Syunsuke Ito raced out and dropped him.  The referee immediately pointed to the spot.  Woodrow stood over the penalty kick with the chance to put Fulham ahead 2-0.  Ito was up for the challenge though as he dove to his right making a fine a save.  Kashiwa Reysol were still only a goal down but would need to raise their game over the final 60 minutes to claim the coveted Dallas Cup title.

Ito was again called into action minutes later as a steal in the midfield allowed Vigen Christiansen to race in on goal.  Ito came off his line and made a nice save making himself big and blocking.  Reysol were holding the majority of the ball, but Fulham were generating all the scoring opportunities to that point.

The final ten minutes of the opening half saw the ball belong almost entirely to Kashiwa Reysol.  Finally at the stroke of halftime the possession paid off with a chance.  A Natsuki Mugikara  freekick found Kouki Oshima at the back post, but Oshima's redirection came back off the post.  The match went to break 1-0 to Fulham, but with Reysol on the front foot and gaining confidence.

The second half opened with a massive Kashiwa Reysol mistake that gifted Fulham their second goal.  A Fulham long ball sent Reysol defender Mugikara racing towards his own goal where he made a much too soft back pass towards Ito.  Cauley Woodrow raced in stealing the pass and placing the ball in the net.  2-0 Fulham within the first minute.

The lead would grow to three when a Sean Kavanagh long pass found Woodrow behind the defense.  Woodrow gathered himself and fired home a wicked shot to the back post.

Reysol grabbed one back in the 67th minute as a Kouki Oshima found space between the Fulham center backs where he turned and fired home cutting the lead to 3-1.  The Japanese went on the attack with Fulham content to sit back and absorb the pressure with the two goal cushion.  FFC brought on fresh legs and looked ready to see out the final fifteen minutes of play.

But instead of seeing the match out, Fulham decided to score a fourth when Joshua Passley crossed for Jordan Evans to redirect on goal.  Ito got across to make the save but the ball had crossed the line for the goal.  They weren't content with only four though as they struck once more providing the 5-1 final score.

The Dallas Cup Super Group Championship belongs to a well deserving Fulham side.