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Date of Issue: June 23, 2010

World Cup game draws crowd to Tequila Beach

U.S. soccer fans watch the big screen T.V. at Tequila Beach during the U.S. match up against Slovenia. Islander Photo: Kevin Cassidy

About 30 die-hard supporters of the U.S. soccer team, including some members of the defunct Island Football Club, converged upon Tequila Beach restaurant June 18 for the kickoff against Slovenia, played in Pretoria, South Africa.

U.S. fans were disappointed early on with the play of their team and later were disappointed when referee Koman Coulibaly reversed what should have been a goal to complete a historic comeback from a 2-0 deficit.

Slovenia, the smallest nation in the tournament with slightly more than 2 million citizens, took the lead in the 13th minute when Valter Birsa curled a left-footed shot that caught U.S. keeper Tim Howard flatfooted. Late in the first half, the U.S. looked to be in good position to tie the game when Clint Dempsey’s cross appeared to find Landon Donovan on the back post, but a Slovenian defender slid in to deny the goal. Slovenia went on a quick counter attack and beat Howard for a 2-0 halftime lead.

Donovan halved the score for the U.S. team in the 48th minute when he roofed a shot from 5 yards out. Michael Bradley then tied the score when he volleyed Jose Altidore’s header into the goal, setting the stage for the ref’s major gaffe.

Donovan curled a free kick from the right side of the penalty area in the 85th minute that midfielder Maurice Edu volleyed into the back of the net to complete the unbelievable comeback, but Coulibaly blew his whistle and called off what would have been the game-winning goal, stunning the Tequila Beach crowd and the rest of the world.

Coulibaly would give no explanation for his call, further miffing soccer fans across the globe.

Despite the referee’s call, the U.S. is still in good position to advance to the knockout round of 16 with a victory over Algeria in the game set for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 23. Everyone’s invited to join me and my fellow die-hard soccer fans at Tequila Beach to help cheer the U.S. team to victory.

Baseball season closes

The Anna Maria Island Community Center’s baseball season came to a close June 5. Though it was a last-minute league put together when a new board of directors couldn’t be formed to continue play under their Little League charter, about 50 kids participated in T-ball and pitching machine leagues.

There were no standings kept in either league with the focus being on making sure the kids had fun while learning the basics of the game.

Flag football action

The NFL flag football summer league for coed adults is off and running at the Anna Maria Island Community Center with six teams taking part. The teams are split into two conferences, AFC and NFC, with winners of each conference meeting later in a Super Bowl match.

The league got started June 17 with the Bills taking a 13-12 victory over the Bucs. Chris Jones led the way for the Bills with 45 yards rushing, including a touchdown and an extra point, while also passing for 41 yards and a touchdown. Brian Moorehead was on the receiving end of Jones’ touchdown pass and finished with 41 receiving yards while passing for 37 yards. Ryan Hogan added 37 receiving yards for the Bills.

Hogan played a key role on defense for the Bills, intercepting a pair of passes and recording one flag pull. Jones led the Bills with three flag pulls, while David Bishop and Moorehead each finished with two pulls apiece. Nikki Bekkerus and George Imes finished with one flag pull each in the victory.

The Bucs were led by David Johnston, who completed eight passes for 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Scott Eason was on the receiving end of one TD pass, while Billy Malfese, who ran for 21 yards and 36 receiving yards, was the recipient of the other TD pass.

Defensively the Bucs were led by Chris Grumley’s interception and a flag pull by Shawn Kaletta in the loss.

The second game of the evening saw the Broncos overcome the Giants 13-7 behind the passing of Mike Walter. Walter completed 11 of 14 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown. One touchdown pass went to Robert Cornell, who finished with 98 receiving yards and an extra point, while also finding time to pass for 34 yards and a touchdown to David Zaccagnino. John Pace added 64 receiving yards for the Broncos, which also got 12 receiving yards from Denise Brigg in the victory.

The Bronco defense was led by Zaccagnino’s five flag pulls and an interception and three flag pulls from Walter. Pace and Brigg rounded out the Bronco defense with one pull apiece.

Jeremy Jackson paced the Giant offense with 94 yards passing and 54 yards rushing including a touchdown run. Tyler Bekkerus added 82 receiving yards and an extra point. Ben Stewart with 19 receiving yards, April Jonatzke with 12 receiving yards and Mark Anderson who had 11 receiving yards rounded out the Giant offense.

Bekkerus had three flag pulls and an interception to lead the Giant defense that also had two flag pulls from April Jonatzke while Anderson, Jackson, Stewart and Jimmy Thomas each finished with one flag pull apiece in the loss.

The final game of the evening saw the Vikings pillage the Jaguars 25-12 behind a defense that intercepted three passes, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Jordan Pritchard led the defensive effort with two picks — one he took to the house — while also recording two flag pulls. Todd Zawistoski also intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown. Phelps Tracy added two flag pulls and Plowman finished with one pull.

Offensively the Vikings were led by Paul Kurtz, who completed 11 passes for 114 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. One TD pass went to Lance Plowman, who finished with 45 receiving yards and the other was caught by Zawistoski, who finished with 69 receiving yards, including an extra point.

The Jaguars were led by Jason Sato, who completed five passes for 63 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Clay Orr, who finished with 78 receiving yards. Michael Durrance added 65 passing yards for the Jaguars, which also got 36 receiving yards from Bob Vita and 10 receiving yards from Aris Thompson in the loss.

Durrance and Scott Rudacile paced the Jaguar defense with two flag pulls apiece, while Orr added an interception and a flag pull in the loss.

Horseshoe news

Three of the six teams advanced out of pool play during June 19 horseshoe action at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. John Johnson and Jerry Bennett defeated Norm Good and Jay Disbrow 21-17 in the semifinal match. The championship match saw Johnson and Bennett roll past the team of Hank Huyghe and Tim Sofran by a 21-4 score.

Two teams emerged from pool play during June 16 horseshoe action. John Johnson and Sam Samuels defeated Norm Good and Steve Grossman in the championship game by a 22-17 score.

Play gets under way at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m. followed by random team selection. There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.

Key Royale news

The women of the Key Royale Club played a nine hole, individual-low-net golf game on June 15. Flight A went to Tootie Wagner, who carded an even-par 32 to finish one shot ahead of Diane Miller.

Flight B winner was Terry Westby, who torched the course to the tune of a 4-under-par 28.