By Jimmy LaRoue
Freestate Soccer Alliance and Bethesda SC’s Under-16s will play Saturday with an Elite Clubs National League playoff berth on the line.
The game is set for 4:30 p.m. at the UMBC Turf Field
Freestate currently holds the 16th and final National Championships spot (1.36 ppg, 4-4-3 National Flight A), while Bethesda is in 17th (1.14 ppg, 3-4-7 National Flight A). A win or tie for Freestate would eliminate Bethesda.
Carmel United (1.13 ppg, 5-8-3 National Flight A) is the only other Flight A club outside the top 16 with a realistic chance at the playoffs, which take place in Waukegan, Ill. at the end of this month. With two games against Flight A teams remaining, Carmel United would need wins against Eclipse Select Soccer Club and Sockers FC, and two losses by Freestate, to slide into the 16th slot.
Bethesda’s only path to the 16th and final playoff spot involves defeating Freestate and then hoping for a Freestate loss against FC Delco, and at least a tie or a loss by Carmel United in one of its two remaining games.
In U-17s, Bethesda is one of three teams tied for 15th place in National Flight A, along with San Diego Surf and PDA at 1.50 ppg. Lonestar SC and Carmel United, at 1.44 ppg, and 1.42 ppg, respectively, are not far behind. FC Virginia is solidly in 11th place in Flight A and in first place in the Mid-Atlantic Conference.
No local teams in Flight A are likely to qualify for the U-18 or U-15 playoffs.