Melbourne Heart FC has suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rapids in its final hit out at the Hawaiian Islands Invitational in Honolulu.
Melbourne Heart FC has suffered a 1-0 loss at the hands of the Colorado Rapids in its final hit out at the Hawaiian Islands Invitational in Honolulu.
The 2010 MLS Champions secured victory through a first half strike from rookie Tony Cascio, consigning Heart to defeat as John Aloisi's side rounded off a thoroughly impressive campaign across the Pacific.
The Rapids' first round selection in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft scored on a rocket in the 30th minute, and also hit the crossbar and the post with shots later in the match.
Boasting a side consisting largely of National Youth League players and an array of Victorian Premier League stars, in addition to Socceroo legend Josip Skoko, Heart was a clear underdog heading into the tournament given the pedigree of its rivals for the four-team competition's crown.
But in fighting out an impressive 0-0 draw and subsequent penalty shootout defeat against K-League giants Busan I'Park, and a narrow loss to the Denver-based Rapids, Heart has emerged from the Hawaiian Islands Invitational with more than simply its pride in tact.
By not only keeping pace but genuinely challenging the likes of Busan and Colorado, each fielding first team line-ups in anticipation of their forthcoming K-League and MLS campaigns, Heart provided its faithful with a glimpse of a potentially shimmering future.
16-year old midfielder Phil Petreski was among the players to strengthen their reputations with stellar performances at Aloha Stadium, joining teammates Josh Groenewald, Kristian Konstantinidis and Zac Walker as Heart's leading under age performers.
Local league heroes Glen and Jason Trifiro, as well as Steven Gray and Frank Lagana meanwhile merely reaffirmed the Victorian Premier League's status as the nation's leading state competition by managing the transition to such fierce competition with poise and ease.