ECNL: Nearing a close to the year
By Jimmy LaRoue
The last games of the year before the next National Event in Sanford at the end of the month took place over the weekend.
After the National Event, most of the league will take the month of January off, as just six clubs will be in action, four of those Northwest Conference clubs–Washington Premier, San Juan Soccer Club, Crossfire Premier and Santa Rosa United–that will play each other over the course of one weekend.
In the Mid-Atlantic Conference, Freestate Soccer Alliance’s Under-15 through U-18 teams began their ECNL seasons in fine fashion, picking up seven wins and a tie in eight matches.
Under-14: Low scoring games (mostly) rule the day
Much of the action was in the Texas Conference, with low scoring games ruling the weekend. In three conference games Saturday, six teams scored a combined one goal, that coming in TSC Hurricane’s 1-0 win over AHFC. Texas Rush and Dallas Texans, along with Challenge SC and Lonestar SC, played to scoreless ties. FC DELCO beat Penn Fusion by a 1-0 margin, while Bethesda SC won 5-0 over Richmond Strikers. Sunday was similar, with Solar-Chelsea SC defeating FC Dallas 2-1, while Gwinnett Soccer Association and Carolina Elite Soccer Academy (0-0), as well as Freestate Soccer Alliance and the Strikers (1-1) played to ties.
Under-15: Carolina Elite with two shutout wins
Freestate opened their 2012-13 ECNL season with a 1-0 win over Virginia Rush Saturday, and 4-0 win over Richmond Strikers Sunday. Carolina Elite Soccer Academy picked up two, 1-0 wins over the weekend, defeating Atlanta Fire and Gwinnett Soccer Association. Outside of this month’s national event, teams in the conference have just a handful of regular season games remaining, most of those taking place in February.
Concorde Fire, which did not play over the weekend, is well out in front of the conference at 15-0-1, but figure to be tested at the National Event in Sanford, as they face 7-0-1 FC Virginia of the Mid-Atlantic Conference, 7-1-5 FC Dallas of the Texas Conference and a 12-2-1 Eclipse Select Soccer Club, first in the Midwest Conference.
Penn Fusion, in just its second game of the season, handed FC DELCO its second defeat of the season, 4-0 and will be off until late February’s National Event in Dallas.
Under-16: Hat trick of goals, assists leads Dallas Texans
Dallas Texans shutout Texas Rush 5-0 Saturday to move to 10-0-3 and in first place on points in the Texas Conference. The Texans got a hat trick from Brittany Crabtree, along with goals from Annalyn Kumar and Ashley Smith. They also got a hat trick of assists from Madison Hartsock, and another assist from Alyah Mitchell.
The Texans will be at the Sanford National Event and will face two teams in the early stages of their seasons–Mid-Atlantic Conference Bethesda SC and Northeast Conference Albertson Fury, as well as VSI West FL Flames (4-9-3) of the Southeast Conference.
Freestate’s Paige DeLoach had a four-goal weekend, tallying a hat trick of her own in a 4-0 win over Virginia Rush, and the lone goal in a 1-1 tie with Richmond Strikers.
Orlando City (12-2-2), meanwhile, continued its fine form with a 2-1 win over VSI West FL Flames to remain in first place in the Southeast Conference.
Under-17: Sporting Blue Valley within striking distance of Midwest Conference leaders
Sporting Blue Valley (9-0-2) kept within striking distance of the top of the Midwest Conference after a 4-0 win over struggling FC Wisconsin Eclipse (0-13-2). Sporting is just two points behind both Eclipse Select Soccer Club (10-1-1) and Michigan Hawks (10-0-1) in the standings.
Sporting’s goals came from Haley Hanson, Alexandria Hess, Abigail Sieperda and Savannah Trujillo, who also had an assist. Hannah Lukinac and Jordyn Webster also had assists in the win.
Thirteen Sporting players have at least one goal, with U-15 national teamer Dorian Bailey leading the way with eight.
Freestate opened with two wins to start its season, including a 9-0 win over Virginia Rush.
Under-18: Three team race in Southeast Conference
CASL Chelsea Ladies (11-0-3) prepped for its trip to Sanford with a 6-0 win over Charlotte Soccer Academy to stay atop the Southeast Conference with a 2.57 ppg average. In Sanford, CASL will face FC DELCO–winners of its first two games of the season–FC Virginia (6-3-0) and in what figures to be a highlight of the National Event, a matchup against 13-2-0 Eclipse Select Soccer Club.
Second place Carolina Elite Soccer Academy (12-2-1), along with Concorde Fire (12-3-1) ahead of CASL on total points in the conference by one (37-36), though, kept pace with two wins over the weekend, 2-0 over Atlanta Fire and 3-2 over Gwinnett Soccer Association.