Home-field advantage continues to be important in the USASA Wisconsin Werner Fricker Open Cup, as Milwaukee Sport Club and Croatian Eagles each posted one-goal victories on their home turf last Saturday to advance to next weekend's final.
Sport Club outlasted United Serbians 4-3 after extra time in a semifinal at Schwabenhof in Menomonee Falls, while the Croatians scored twice in a 20-minute span late in the first half and held off Bavarian SC 2-1 at Croatian Park in Franklin.
The final is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Croatian Park -- the Eagles received home-field advantage for the final as the defending state champions. Location could be important, as home teams have won all five of the tournament's matches so far.
United Serbians went out to a 2-0 halftime lead, but Sport Club got goals from Steve Sperl (Wauwatosa West/UW-Milwaukee) and Sam Krenzien (Wauwatosa West/UW-Green Bay) to pull level. The visitors again took the lead, but Krenzien scored his third goal of the tournament to force extra time.
Jake Jankowski (Muskego/Wisconsin Lutheran) gave Sport Club the lead for the first time during the first period of extra time, and the two-time reigning Wisconsin Soccer Leagues Major Division champions held on to book their spot in the final.
In the other semifinal, Scott Raymonds (Brookfield East/UW-Green Bay) scored the 21st-minute opener and Andy Huftalin (Marquette) doubled the Croatians' advantage in the 41st. Robbie Boyd (Milwaukee Marquette/UW-Milwaukee) pulled one back for the Bavarians in the 60th, but they couldn't find an equalizer.
Saturday's match will be the third time in six months that the Eagles and Sport Club meet in a state final: the Croatians won 3-1 in the Wisconsin Amateur Cup final in May, while Sport Club prevailed 2-1 in the WSL Major final in July.
The Croatians are 6-0-2 in all competitions this fall, while Sport Club is 5-0-2. The winner of Saturday's match will earn a berth in next spring's USASA Region II Werner Fricker Open Cup tournament.
(Home team listed first)
Quarterfinals: Oct. 18
Croatian Eagles received bye
Bavarian SC 3, North Shore United 0
Milwaukee Sport Club 1, Milwaukee Kickers 0
United Serbians 6, Milwaukee Brewers 3 (AET)
Semifinals: Oct. 25
Croatian Eagles 2, Bavarian SC 1
Milwaukee Sport Club 4, United Serbians 3 (AET)
Final: Nov. 1
At Croatian Park, Franklin
Croatian Eagles vs. Milwaukee Sport Club, 2 p.m.
State champion advances to next spring's USASA Region II Werner Fricker Open Cup tournament