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Croatian Eagles capture national crown

July 30, 2012

Franklin - The Croatian Eagles Soccer Club tipped California's PSA Elite, 3-2, in extra time in the United States Adult Soccer Association National Men's Open Cup championship game on July 22 in Bridgeview, Ill.

The Eagles, who are also celebrating their 90th anniversary as a program this year, claimed their first national crown.

Ramon "Choko" Alvarado of Franklin scored in the 119th minute for the game-winner.

Alvarado, 30, ran onto a through ball from teammate Mohammed Sethi of Mequon on the left side and scored the deciding goal.

"He just buried it," said manager Alex Toth of the game-winner. "He did a clinical finish; he opened up his hips and with the inside of his right foot, just curled it into the far post."

Jason Willan of Menomonee Falls scored the first goal in the 14th minute. PSA Elite tied it in the 29th minute, then the Eagles' Philip Surprise broke the tie in the 75th minute. PSA again evened it six minutes later, setting up Alvarado's heroics.

Alvarado had also tallied in a 4-0 triumph over the ASC New Stars of Texas in the semifinal game.

The Croatians (23-1-3) will meet Madison United in the Major League title game Aug. 5 at Croatian Park in Franklin.

The Eagles were playing without Craig Carlson, who passed away on July 14 at the age of 25. They wore black armbands in his memory.

The Croatian men's under-23 squad also reached its championship game but fell, 1-0, to New York's Real Caribe.

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