Cajun Soccer Club (Lafayette, LA) vs. Gaffa FC (Jackson, MS)
2017 Gulf Coast Premier League Cup Championship
Pan American Stadium, New Orleans, LA
Saturday, July 28, 2017 6:30 PM CST
The Gulf Coast Premier League’s championship will take place in New Orleans, but for the first time since the league’s inception the champion will not be a New Orleans-based team.
Humbling three-time champion CDMotagua in the semi-finals with a stunning 3-2 win, the Cajun Soccer Club did what no team had been able to do prior: make it so the GCPL would have a champion other than the Blue Eagles.
On the other-side of the bracket, Gaffa FC disassembled Pool Boys FC 6-0 in Jackson, making it so there is a possibility of not just the first non-Motagua champion, but potentially the first champion not from Louisiana at all.
The two sides will square-off this Saturday at Pan America to crown the winner of the GCPL cup.
Cajun Soccer Club (6-0-2)
The Lafayette, LA based Cajun Soccer Club had a season that few GCPL teams can rival. The club finished top of the Western Conference, had a +22 goal differential, and knocked off the three-time champion in the semi-finals. Many would find it tough to believe that this team started the season 2-0-2, because the results in the last half of the season were remarkable. Down the stretch, CSC proved they could win not just blowouts, but also hard-nosed close matches. Entering the GCPL Cup Championship this Saturday, the club is currently on a five-game winning streak.
When looking for a focal point for CSC, we need to search no further than Vasbert Ledger. Ledger, the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines international, began suiting up for CSC in the fall season. Everyone knew the quality of player Ledger could be, and this summer he has not disappointed. Winning the league’s Golden Boot with 9 goals, Ledger proved to be a force on the pitch for the Cajuns.
Still, it is not only Ledger’s goal-scoring ability that has made him so impressive. In addition to scoring, he has added five assists and been and been used as a diversion in order to make his team’s attack even more dynamic. Joining Ledger, Austin Clause, Jarrian Cutrer and Jakob Goodwin have all chipped in 4 goals piece and Brandon Briscoe has 3 for the Cajuns.
The offense of CSC is so incredibly exciting and variant that they will be hard to shut down. Especially if Ledger and midfielder Clause (4 goals, 5 assists) are clicking, the disciplined backline of Gaffa FC will have its hands full.
- Biggest Win: 9-0 over Lake City Gamblers (July 15)
- Biggest Loss: 1-2 against Boca Knights FC (May 27)
- Lead Scorer: Vasbert Ledger (9 goals, 5 assists)
- Player to Watch: Austin Clause, MF
Gaffa FC (7-0-3)
For the most part, Jackson, MS-based Gaffa FC dominated the bottom of the Eastern Conference; however, when facing the top of the table, away from the confines of Jackson’s Freedom Ridge Park, they have struggled.
On June 10th, Gaffa sent a younger, less experienced side to New Orleans and CD Motagua of New Orleans beat them 10-0 in Pan American Stadium. In July, Gaffa sent their more senior side to Pensacola’s Ashton Brosnaham Stadium, but still dropped a 4-0 result to the Gulf Coast Texans. These two results nearly eliminated Gaffa from playoff contention, but resiliently they closed out the season, on the road, beating fellow Mississippi team Biloxi City FC. This resulted jumped them from third to first in the Eastern Conference in the final game of the season.
The Texans and Motagua results have made Gaffa’s season goal differential -2, but this mark is an incredibly misleading statistic. Gaffa has reeled off impressive victories over pretty much everyone else in the East and beat Pool Boys FC 6-0 in the semi-finals.
For Gaffa, balance is probably their biggest attacking strength. When looking at the squad from Jackson, they have not had a reliance on a single goal scorer or creator this season. Michael Cooper and Craig McCabe both have 4 goals each, but beyond them 11 other Gaffa FC players have netted goals. Cooper, Phillip Mallet, Anteneh Lemma are all credited with 2 assists, but 7 other players all have at least 1 assists too. The boys from Jackson are not a one-horse show.
Beyond the stability of the overall attack, Gaffa has one of the most hard-nosed players in the GCPL in Tom Cosgrave, who may possibly be the best Eastern Conference defender. The hard tackling, quick thinking center back makes the Gaffa backline hard to break down. It will be an interesting challenge watching as the lively and variant CSC attack goes after Gaffa’s defense.
- Biggest Win: 5-1 over Gulf Coast Texans (June 10)
- Biggest Loss: 0-10 against CD Motagua of New Orleans (June 25)
- Lead Scorer: Michael Cooper and Craig McCabe (4 goals each)
- Player to Watch: Tom Cosgrave, CB
About the GCPL Cup Championship
Come out this Saturday, July 29th as the GCPL crowns its champion in New Orleans Pan American Stadium. Kickoff between Cajun Soccer Club and Gaffa FC is at 6:30 PM. There will be a food truck from Dat Dog, a halftime show with Soccer Genius, and more. Tickets are only $10, and kids 12 and under will be admitted free of charge. You may purchase tickets online by clicking here.