Dream Team overpowered Pinto United 3-0 on Sunday to win the final of the Fishing Pond Football League at the Manzanilla Recreation Ground. Playing in soggy conditions, Dream Team hit Pinto with three late goals to end their resistance and claim the $20,000 first prize. Pinto collected $5,000 for placing second.
A youthful Dream Team squad, playing with three teenagers, capitalised on their opponents' significant drop in intensity in the second half to break the deadlock and blow the game open.
Substitute Devonte Felix, in his first play since entering the game in the 80th minute, made it 1-0 with a helping hand from Pinto goalie Myron Mark. Felix collected the ball on the right flank and sent in a cross at the near post which was fumbled by Mark into the net to the delight of Dream Team.
Kory Stewart almost made it 2-0 for Dream Team with a jinking run past two defenders on the left but his shot was saved by the Pinto goalkeeper. From the resulting corner, however, Aaron Perouse, 17, doubled the lead with a left-footer as the ball fell to him at the far post.
Dream Team forward Akeil Holdford after squandering three gilt-edged chances in the second half, atoned for his earlier profligacy with a clinical strike into the top right corner after he received a pass on top the box. Pinto, missing their star attacker Brian Sequa, had no answer to the late onslaught as the referee blew his whistle to end the contest.
Dream Team coach Hayden Diaz was a happy man after the game and lauded his youthful squad.
"The performance was great with them youths and them. Two 17-year-olds come and change the game. Two went on ten minutes to go and score. They were focused until the end and defended well. I tell them stay compact and keep their shape and they did that."
Diaz said his team's fitness was a deciding factor and knew they just had to be patient.
"Today was different, the ground was little heavy and based on fitness, Pinto was a little sluggish. I knew second half their legs were done gone already."
Looking forward, Diaz said he will stick with the youth policy of the team.
"I trying to transform Dream Team for the next season with more the younger players. It's only two players from 2013 (captain Kern Diaz and Markie Sylvester). More of the younger players, I want to give them the opportunity. I tell them this final is their own."
At the prize-giving ceremony immediately after, one of the league's sponsors, Nigel Safe, a PNM local government candidate for Manzanilla/Fishing Pond, congratulated the winners and urged young people to stay active.
"Being a community builder and community advocate, I encourage and endorse positivity for our young persons. This league promotes positivity," he said.
League organiser Prakash Ramkissoon thanked Safe for his support and also his advocacy in getting floodlights for the Fishing Pond Recreation Ground for the hosting of the 2020 competition.
MVP - Brian Sequa (Pinto Utd)
Most Goals - Kory Stewart (Dream Team)
Most Disciplined Team - Eastern Div Police
Best Defender - Keshawn Diaz (Dream Team)
Best Goalie - Akeil Seifet (Dream Team)
Most Promising Team - All Stars FC