Worthington United under-17 boys soccer coach Michael Hendricks said his players take pride in being good at finishing scoring opportunities.

Worthington United under-17 boys soccer coach Michael Hendricks said his players take pride in being good at finishing scoring opportunities.

But Worthington United squandered several quality chances as it went 0-3 at the 2008 Midwest Regional Cup, which was held last Saturday through last Wednesday at Sportscore Soccer Complex in Rockford, Ill.

Worthington United finished last in its four-team pool behind Scott Gallagher from Missouri (2-0-1, 7 points), Bangu Tsunami Blue from Minnesota (2-0-1, 7) and South Dakota Fury (1-2, 3).

"It's a rarity that we don't finish our chances, and that's why we made it this far to begin with," Hendricks said. "But this has been a tournament of missed opportunities for us. We hit the crossbar four times in the first game and we hit the crossbar three more times in the second game. We lost both those games by two goals, so our inability to finish was obviously the difference."

Worthington United opened last Saturday with a 3-1 loss to the South Dakota Gold Fury. Worthington United took a 1-0 halftime lead after Eric Erb put a shot off the crossbar that caromed to Billy Halsey, who quickly put the ball in the back of the net.

But the other three shots Worthington United hit off the crossbar didn't result in goals, and the Gold Fury rallied for three goals on four shots in the second half.

"We're normally fairly solid once we got the lead, but they had the wind at their back in the second half and that gave them an advantage, even though we had possession about 55 percent of the time," Hendricks said. "There was one shot where Mitch Johnson hit the ball underneath the crossbar, and it still bounced back out. That's when we knew it wasn't our day."

Last Sunday, Worthington United lost to Bangu Tsunami Blue 3-1. After falling behind five minutes into the game, Worthington United tied the score before halftime as Erb scored off a crossing pass from Austin Windsor.

But with Worthington United playing an extra forward to try to generate offense, Bangu Tsunami Blue scored two goals in the final seven minutes of the second half.

"We needed to win this game to move on to the semifinals, so we had to gamble and push forward in the second half," Hendricks said. "We definitely had our chances. But Billy Halsey and Grant Groff both hit the crossbar in this game as well."

Worthington United then lost to Scott Gallagher 1-0 last Monday. Erb hit the crossbar from 20 yards five minutes into the game for Worthington United's best scoring chance.

Paul Hendricks made four saves to keep the game close before Chase Wright knocked in an own-goal while trying to clear the ball out of the box.

"That was the toughest team we played in this tournament," coach Hendricks said. "Chase is a very sure defender and he was just trying to make a play for us, and the ball got shanked in. This was a weekend where nothing went right for us."

•The Worthington United U-13 boys team went 0-1-2 to finish third in its four-team pool with two points behind Scott Gallagher (2-0-1, 7) and Capital City S.C. from North Dakota (2-1, 6).

Last Saturday, Worthington United opened with a scoreless tie against Scott Gallagher.

"Scott Gallagher was a big challenge because we were missing one of our better forwards (Alex Crognale), who was at a baseball tournament," said Billy Thompson, who coaches the team along with Simon Davis. "We played an organized game to earn the draw, and we had a few chances. Caleb Gruenbaum hit the post with a shot, and our goalkeeper (Thomas Nolan) made a few big saves."

Worthington United lost to Capital City S.C. 3-2 last Sunday. After Capital City S.C. took a 2-0 halftime lead, Crognale scored off an assist from Ben Carloni to make it 2-1. Crognale scored again off a pass from Roscoe Blackburn to cut Worthington United's deficit to 3-2 late in the second half.

"The bottom line is we played very poorly," Thompson said. "That was a game we'd win nine of 10 times. They had the wind at their backs in the first half, and they scored off a couple corners to put us behind the 8-ball.

"We had a lot of great chances, but we missed on most of them."

Last Monday, Worthington United tied Azurri Italia from Nebraska at 1 to wrap up pool play. Crognale scored off an assist from Charlie Reymann to make it 1-0 at halftime, but Azurri Italia rallied for the tie.

"This was a very average performance from us," Thompson said. "We just didn't play very sharp in the last two games."