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Global Apr 04, 2012

Dallas Cup participants dodge tornadoes, battle for knockout round spots

By Charles Boehm

The 33rd edition of the Dallas Cup, taking place at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Tex. and the Richland Soccer Complex in Dallas this week, has challenged organizers and participants both on and off the field with hot opening-day temperatures, a devastating wave of tornadoes and other severe weather on Tuesday and at one field, even a swarm of bees.

One of the most famous, well-respected youth soccer tournaments in the world, the Dallas Cup brings together 180 top teams from across the United States and the world for top youth competition in front of an estimated 160,000 spectators every year during Easter Week.

Hundreds of houses and buildings were damaged when a vicious storm front roiled over North Texas yesterday, spawning around a dozen tornadoes which badly disrupted life in the densely-populated region. The effects impacted some of the Dallas Cup’s schedules, but miraculously had not caused any known fatalities at the time this article was published.

The Dallas Morning News reported that another natural hazard befell several U-16 teams on Tuesday, as the first half of the match between Dallas’ Solar Chelsea and Aztecs FC Premier (Calif.) was interrupted by a swarm of bees in the vicinity.

As usual the tournament’s “Gordon Jago Super Group,” which features top Under-19 youth teams from top professional clubs from across the globe, has been a leading draw.

Manchester United’s youth squad rolled to a 2-0 record in Bracket A with victories over Santa Clara Sporting (Calif.) and FC Dallas’ U.S. Soccer Development Academy team. The Red Devils look like strong favorites to advance to the semifinals from Group A, while Sporting, FCD and Mexican club Tigres (who lost to FCD in their opening match) try to catch up – or at least secure the wild-card semifinal berth which goes to the top second-place team in the Super Group – in their final games.

Dallas Texans’ Development Academy team tops Super Group Bracket B, paced by a 2-0 win over German side Eintracht Frankfurt and a scoreless draw with the Mexican U-20 National Team. Paris St. –Germain (France) is 0-2 thus far, but could still influence this finely balanced group as they play the Texans in their final match, with Eintracht and the Mexican U-20s still capable of overhauling the local club.

Bracket C has two clear frontrunners as Everton FC, champions of England’s Premier Academy League, sit at 2-1 with a +6 goal differential, just behind Coritiba FC in the standings despite beating them in head-to-head play, due to the fact that the Brazilians are also 2-1 with a +9 goal differential. After demolishing Bolivian representatives Club Bolivar 6-0, the Englishmen must wait to see how other results play out to know whether they’ll be one of the final four who reach the knockout rounds. Japanese team Kashiwa Reysol are out of contention for the finals but did defeat Everton in a wild 4-3 match, underlining the bracket’s competitiveness.

The Super Group semifinals take place on Friday, and the final, along with the rest of the tournament, concludes matters on Sunday.

[ +Find more information, including scores, schedules and standings from other Dallas Cup groups, here ]

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