The silver plate was held aloft in triumph as Stegman’s Old Boys defeated Valencia 2 – 1 in the final to win the inaugural SOB Cup. And the plate kept being hoisted back up throughout a night of celebration by the Minneapolis club, not only because of the joy of winning the tournament that they hosted but because it was the club’s first piece of silverware.
It took just fifteen months. Just fifteen months from the founding of Stegman’s Old Boys Football Club to the first competition victory recorded. It is a historic win, and one that will be remembered for some time to come.
“We’re over the moon about this” said the Manager Jon Bisswurm “not too long ago the SOBs were just an idea, so just over a year later to be drinking shots off of a trophy that the team won, well, it’s more of a rush than being at a techno party with the Laker girls at David Hasselhoff’s house.”
The tournament opened inauspiciously, with an out-of-season storm through the night leaving the playing surface covered in snow. Though the ground crew worked tirelessly, only the combined efforts of them and the Warlocks players who were warming up for their first match were able to clear the surface enough for play to begin.
The warm-up seemed to work for Warlocks, who opened the tournament with an assured 2 – 1 victory over a feisty and dangerous-looking Dynamo Eden Prairie to set the tone in Group A.
The second match was Stegman’s Other Boys’ competitive debut, against First Division champions Blast. The Other Boys gave a good account of themselves, hitting the bar early in the first half and going into halftime level. Blast piled on the pressure in the second half and were able to breach the Other Boys’ defense, eventually winning 2 – 0.
Stegman’s Old Boys, resplendent in their all-black away kit, made their tournament bow against Warlocks. The two rivals were evenly matched and played an open, end-to-end game. The Old Boys were able to take the lead through Sean Webb, who buried a long-range shot into the bottom corner of the next. It was a lead that they would not relinquish.
Valencia, First Division stalwarts, started the tournament strongly, laying down a clear marker with their 4 – 0 win over Stegman’s Other Boys. It was an accomplished performance, the Other Boys having no answer to the Valencia forwards.
Dynamo almost did enough to cause an upset. Starting short-handed, they were able to grab a quick lead on the Old Boys. Quickly up to full strength, a stung but still methodical Blues attack carved chance after chance. Sean Webb was able to bury one to level scores. Midfielder Daniel Warner grabbed a second and the SOBs were flying. A few missed chances later and all it took was for a mis-hit cross to find the corner of the net for the match to end 2 – 2. Still, it was enough to see the Old Boys into the final.
The top two teams in Group B met in what was effectively a semi-final, with Valencia squaring off against Blast. It was a tactical struggle from the beginning, both teams getting the ball down and playing but neither willing to commit the players forward to really open things up. As the match wore on into the final minutes, Blast were able to get the ball in the back of the net – a critical goal considering their goal difference – but it was controversially called back and Valencia, with the 0 – 0 draw, were headed to the final.
The fifth place game was a high-octane affair, Dynamo and Stegman’s Other Boys trading goals from start to finish. Dynamo drew first blood only for Lance Farrell to score the first Other Boys goal and level the scores. Dynamo again put the ball in the back of the net, and then bagged another in fluky circumstances, the ball deflecting off of an Other Boys defender and again off of the goalkeeper and into the net. Al Vo was able to bring the score to 3 – 2, but the Other Boys were unable to find the equalizer.
Blast and Warlocks faced off for third place on an increasingly frigid Rice/Arlington pitch. Both teams played positively, but Blast carving the better chances and scoring early. The maroon-clad team continued to have the better openings, but were continually stymied by a fantastic performance from the Warlocks goalkeeper. He couldn’t keep them at bay forever, and Blast scored a second late in the game to seal third place.
All eyes were on the final, with Valencia and Stegman’s Old Boys squaring off for the silver plate.
The Old Boys were off the mark quickly, using their wingers to good advantage and pinning Valencia into their own half. Pete Manning bagged his first for the club after good work by Bisswurm and Webb in the middle. And then Jon Scott made it two. The Old Boys won the ball at the back and found Webb in space. The forward spotted Scott’s run and sent an inch-perfect pass into the winger’s stride for Scott to fire on goal. A deflection helped, but it was the speed of the counter-attack that devastated Valencia. The second half saw the Old Boys take a more defensive stance, with Valencia gaining a strong hold on the game. A goal with 20 minutes left made it an exciting finish, but a strong defensive effort led by Dan Hedstrom and Jake Keeler quelled the threat, making Stegman’s Old Boys the inaugural SOB Cup champions.
1. Stegman’s Old Boys; 2. Valencia; 3. Blast FC; 4. Warlocks FC; 5. Dynamo Eden Prairie; 6. Stegman’s Other Boys