Cleveland Advances to MLIS Final Four with 12-6 Win over Chicago

The Cleveland Crunch advanced to the MLIS Final Four with a 12-6 win over the Chicago Mustangs in the MLIS Wild Card Game before a sold out Soccer Sportsplex in North Olmsted, Ohio.

Chicago got a Gabriel Uno goal 50 seconds into the game to take a 1-0 lead, but that would be the only time that the Mustangs enjoyed a lead on the night. Aidan Bozak tied the game at 5:48 of the first quarter and gave the Crunch the lead for good just 27 seconds later.

At 8:34 of the first, Mikey Derezic scored his first of four goals to extend the lead to 3-1. The teams traded goals with Ryan Minick's breakaway goal restoring the Crunch lead to 5-3. Just 43 seconds later Cleveland caught Chicago flat-footed on a free kick and Ma'Cain Spragling scored to make it 6-3. Spragling added another goal a little over five minutes later to make it 7-3.

Crunch goalkeeper Marijo Musa, who had a tremendous hand in protecting the lead when the score was close, was shaken up late in the third quarter, but remained in the game. Chicago got two goals in the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter to cut their deficit to 8-6, but Cleveland scored the game's final four goals. Musa was credited with 14 saves and was named "Man of the Match" by the Crunch.

The season is over for the Mustangs players, but the Mustangs organization is hosting the MLIS Final Four April 1 and 2. The Crunch advance to face the top-seeded Omaha Kings in the first semifinal at 6:00pm CDT next Saturday, followed by the Houston Bolt and Rapid City FC. The semifinal winners will play in the first MLIS Championship on April 2 at 2:00pm CDT.