By JEFF CORDES
Express Staff Writer
They had amazing depth. They had awesome passing and ball skills.
Midfielders were sturdy, willing to deliver the ball on the wing. And the homegrown
defense had a stubborn Idaho quality that served it well.
But what separated this years Leftys F.C. mens soccer
team from its predecessors was its ability to finish and score the goal. Youre
always looking for a finisher on a soccer team. And Leftys had two.
Leftys finished 16 times last weekend during the annual Ketchum
Classic Tournament and became only the second local squad to win the annual late-summer
tournament attracting teams from the Northwest.
Former Oregon State University wing Dominick Conti of Leftys F.C.
took a pass from 1986 All-Ivy League stopper Jack Dies and scored the game-winning goal
one minute into the first 10-minute sudden death overtime Sunday.
It was Contis third goal of the tense 91-minute contest witnessed
by hundreds of fans at Atkinson Park.
Leftys F.C., which had squandered a 3-0 halftime lead in the
championship game of the 12-team tournament, thus nailed down a 5-4 overtime victory over
Boise Sting and completed an unbeaten 4-0 run to the title of the two-day tourney.
It was Ketchums first win in its own tournament since Dies
Ketchum Swinelagers won in 1992.
Tournament organizer Ed Hurtubis of Leftys F.C. said with relief,
"I guess we like to keep the fans interested. The first half, we were all over them.
Then we got cocky and came out flat in the second half and they ran right through us. But
we showed good composure to come back and winand Jack Dies had a great ball to set
up the winner."
Undisputed Most Valuable Player of the tournament was Leftys
striker Joe Chiodo, who scored seven goals and, along with Contis four goals, gave
Leftys its winning 1-2 punch.
Like many Leftys players, Chiodo had college soccer experience.
He showed it all weekend, scoring at opportune times. Eight minutes into the finale, after
a series of saves by Leftys goalkeeper Olin Glenne of Oregon State, Chiodo made it
1-0 from close range.
Mike Prendergrasts cross ended up with a Conti header goal at 27
minutes. Then Glenne and Conti played their kick-and-run game on the short field, finely
tuned from four seasons playing together on Oregon States team from 1993-96.
Glenne made a save and quickly drop-kicked a line drive downfield to
Conti flying down the right wing. Conti corraled the ball in the corner, by the flag, and
deftly nutmegged the ball between the Sting defenders legs. Conti then put it in the
net for a 3-0 Leftys lead at 37 minutes.
It was similar to the Glenne-Conti connection that gave Leftys a
1-0 victory over tough Portola Valley in the opening game Saturday morning.
"We read each other," said Glenne. "He knew Id be
running on it," said Conti.
The lead was shortlived. Soccer players like to say that 2-0 is not the
most dangerous lead, its 3-0. If youre leading 2-0, the score is still close
and you will continue pressing. At 3-0, youre almost relaxing.
Indeed, the college players from Leftys got showed up by two high
school seniors from Meridian, Idahoand Boise Sting scored a startling three goals in
the first six minutes of the second half for a tie.
Boise Sting back Ben Lugar collected the remnants of a corner kick and
made it 3-1 one minute into the second half. Talented Sting striker Luke Christian, like
Lugar a Meridian High senior, walked through the Leftys defense and scored twice in
two minutes for a 3-3 deadlock.
Fortunately for the home team, Chiodo was opportunistic and took
advantage of a Sting defensive misplay to score in the box at 65 minutes. But prosperity
wasnt working well for Leftys in the second half. Sure-handed Glenne juggled a
ball, and Boises Mike Hermes put it in.
Sting keeper Kent Jones preserved the 4-4 tie late in the second
halfmaking two saves against onrushing Chiodo at the corner of the net, and tipping
a blast by Conti over the net at 81 minutes, after a nice set-up by Kurt Funkhouser.
With 90 minutes done, it went to overtime and didnt last long at
Glenne fisted away a tough-angled Sting direct kick just 30 seconds
into the fray and the ball popped out to Dies on the right side. Conti said, "Jack
saw me trying to make a run and he put the veteran touch on his pass." Conti beat the
last defender and put the ball away.
Dies, 34, a former University of Pennsylvania soccer player who spends
most of his time these days being a father and a golfer, was happy to bring home another
He said, "The difference between this team and the one that won in
1992 is depth. Weve got a good rotation and can send in fleets of players to get the
In its other games, Leftys F.C. blanked Portola Valley (Ca.) 1-0,
rallied past Missoula (Mt.) 3-2 and whipped Pocatello 7-1.
Against Portola Valley, "we had a full team effort for the
shutout," keeper Glenne said. Glenne made a number of fine saves, and the
Leftys defense came up with some great blocks including an excellent sliding stop by
Hurtubis on a cross in the box at the 60-minute mark.
Contis game-winning goal after Glennes accurate goal kick
wasnt his best effort but it worked. Conti said, "I got past the defender and
it was one-on-one. I mishit it but it went in. We had a lot of opportunities, but one goal
Trailing 2-1 to Missoula Saturday evening, Leftys stormed back on
three goals by Chiodothe winner coming on a nice ball from ex-Duke University player
Sam Smith with 10 minutes to play.
Sunday morning, Leftys spotted Pocatello an early 1-0 lead and
reeled off seven unanswered goals.
Chiodo banged bodies with the Pocatello keeper and tucked the ball home
at 37 minutes, finishing a bout of trash-talking between the two.
The eventual game-winning goal came off the foot of Hurtubis. He
left-footed a 33-yard liner high into the net after Michael Reeds direct kick was
batted around in the box and bounced back out past the 18.
At 55 minutes, Craig Maxwell banged home a left-footer from 17 yards
after passes from Matt Brinker and Conti. Chiodo scored again, from Funkhouser and Conti,
then Dates Fryberger made it 5-1. Two goals by Robin Sarchett, the second on a pass from
Steve Fostvedt at 78 minutes, finished the rout.
Doing a solid job all weekend was the Leftys F.C. defense
including Matt Redman, Ryan Bahoshy, Maxwell and Fryberger.
LEFTYS NOTESStriker Joe Chiodo from Sacramento and
Christian Heritage College was the second-leading scorer for the Sonoma State University
Cossacks last fall. The 5-8 senior had 6 goals and 4 assists in 18 games for 8-9-2 Sonoma
Other college players for Leftys included the 1-2 punch of
goalkeeper Olin Glenne and wing Dominick Conti. They started for the Oregon State Beavers
from 1993-96. Glenne is still first on the all-time career saves list at Oregon State with
120 and nine shutouts. Conti is fifth on the career scoring list with 16 goals.
Sturdy midfielder Kurt Funkhouser logged professional time in Holland
and Brazil. And Jack Dies was a three-year captain and All-American for the University of
Pennsylvania from 1983-87. Dies was a member of the U.S. development squad and played
professionally for two years. He came to Idaho in June 1990 after being cut from the
national team that was headed to Italy. He said, "I didnt expect to come here
and find the kind of program that Richard Whitelaw had set up. Ive had a great
second career and lots of good memories."
Dies, Craig Maxwell and Steve Fostvedt were the only players remaining
from the 1992 Ketchum squad that captured the Ketchum Classic soccer championship with
four wins. Dies scored 4 goals and Fostvedt 3 goals that year, as the Ketchum Swinelagers
brushed aside the memory of three runner-up finishes in five years and outscored their
Ketchum won the final 5-1 over Berlin of Utah, but it was Richard
Whitelaws game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Park City that put the Swinelagers
in the final. They also blanked Jackson Hole 3-0 and Old Peculiar from Seattle 5-0. MVP
was Ketchum midfielder Eric Slotten. Other players were keeper Matt Patterson, Benji Hill,
Rob King, Roger Breeze, Johnny McDonald, Philip Majure, John Whisler, Rob Freeman, Steve
Chenery and John Droege.
Boise Blast and Weber State have dominated the Ketchum Classic for a
decadethe Blast winning in 1991, 1993, 1996 and 1997, and Weber State prevailing for
four times in 1989-90 and 1994-95. Last August, Fast Eddy of Ogden slipped past
Leftys F.C. 5-0 in the title game.