The Croatian Eagles and Milwaukee Sport Club booked their spots in the Wisconsin Amateur Cup final – and the U.S. Adult Soccer Association Region II tournament, too.
Aaron Lauber (Franklin/UW) and Scott Raymonds (Brookfield East/UW-Green Bay) scored in the opening half hour as the Croatians topped Bavarian SC 2-1 in a semifinal Saturday at UW-Milwaukee Engelmann Stadium, while Steve Sperl (Wauwatosa West/UW-Milwaukee) had a pair of goals as host Milwaukee Sport Club blanked North Shore United 3-0 in the other semifinal at Schwabenhof in Menomonee Falls.
As the defending champions, the Croatians earned the right to play host to next Saturday's state final. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Croatian Park in Franklin. Both finalists have qualified for the Region II tournament June 13 to 15 in Westfield, Ind. The regional champion earns a spot in the USASA National Cup Finals, which are July 24 to 27 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Lauber converted a header off a free kick by Adam Lysak (Milton/Marquette) to give the Eagles the early lead against the Bavarians, and Raymonds doubled the advantage when his chipped shot found the back of the net about 30 minutes in.
Colin Monahan (East Troy/UW-Parkside) pulled one back in the 88th, but the Croatians (11-1-1 in all competitions) saw out their third win of the season over the Bavarians – they also beat them 3-1 in the Wisconsin Open Cup final last fall.
Jake Jankowski (Muskego/Wisconsin Lutheran) opened the scoring for Sport Club before Sperl struck twice in the second half. Matt Eisold (Burlington/Wisconsin Lutheran) kept the clean sheet in the win over North Shore United, which plays in the Wisconsin Soccer Leagues First Division.
Sport Club upset the Croatians 6-4 in the WSL Major League semifinals last June and went on to win the championship. The Eagles, though, have won both of the league meetings between the sides this season, 2-0 in the fall and 1-0 last month.