ECNL Playoffs: Freestate, McLean U17s win groups to advance to ECNL Finals
This weekend’s ECNL Playoffs in Aurora, Colo. were once against extremely competitive, with more than a few groups coming down to Sunday’s final round of games. Despite an unfortunate lightning storm on Sunday postponing a handful of the afternoon matches, most were able to be made up and group winners were decided anyway.
Two D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area teams, Freestate U-17 and McLean U-17, won their groups to advance to Richmond, Va. for the ECNL Finals in July. Freestate will be one of eight teams competing for the title of ECNL National Champion in the U-17 Champions League, which is composed of the top girls teams in the country. McLean will be one of eight North American League teams in Richmond battling for the ECNL National Championship at the league’s second level.
See below for recaps from Aurora, Colo. for group winners Freestate, McLean and other area teams that competed in the ECNL Playoffs this weekend at the Champions League, North American League and Showcase levels.
U15 Champions League
FC Virginia: A lightning storm forced the cancellation of FC Virginia’s final game against Sporting BV, but the team had already faced elimination as Dallas Sting swept Group A going 3-0 with eight goals scored and none allowed. FC Virginia finished third in the group ahead of Sporting BV which finished 0-2.
- 1-1 Draw vs. Santa Rosa United (6/21)
- 0-2 Loss vs. Dallas Sting (6/22)
- vs. Sporting BV (PPD)
Freestate: A tough start to the weekend for Freestate would prove costly, as Friday’s loss to Wash Premier kept the squad out of contention for the Group F title. Freestate finished the weekend three points off the pace set by FC Bucks, who finished with a 2-0-1 record and will move on to Richmond, Va. in July for the ECNL Finals.
- 1-3 Loss vs. Washington Premier (6/21)
- 3-1 Win vs. Chelsea Ladies (6/22)
- 1-1 Draw vs. FC Bucks (6/23)
U16 Champions League
McLean: The difference between a first place finish and a third place finish in Group F was minuscule for McLean. With hard-fought draws against Mustang SC and AHFC rather than wins, the team would end up on the short end of the stick finishing five points behind group winner AHFC.
- 2-2 Draw vs. Mustang SC (6/21)
- 1-2 Loss vs. FC Stars of Mass (6/22)
- 1-1 Draw vs. AHFC (6/23)
U17 Champions League
Freestate: (Group Winner) It was a special weekend in Aurora, Colo. for the Freestate U17 squad, as a 2-0-1 showing would be enough to capture the Group E crown. The team won its group outright with a 2-0 shutout of Real So Cal on Sunday afternoon in a winner-take-all match. Freestate won Group E by one point over Real So Cal, and will move on to Richmond for the ECNL Finals in July.
- 5-0 Win vs. Washington Premier (6/21)
- 3-3 Draw vs. AHFC (6/22)
- 2-0 Win vs. Real So Cal (6/23)
U15 North American League
Bethesda SC: A challenging group got the best of Bethesda SC in Aurora this weekend, as the team suffered three straight losses en route to a fourth place finish in Group G.
- 0-4 Loss vs. Gwinnett SA (6/21)
- 0-2 Loss vs. Minnesota Thunder (6/22)
- 1-2 Loss vs. AHFC (6/23)
Virginia Rush: In a tightly-contested group where six of the nine matches played resulted in draws, Virginia Rush finished tied for third with two points. D’Feeters SC captured the Group E title, going unbeaten with a 2-0-1 record.
- 0-2 Loss vs. D’Feeters SC (6/21)
- 2-2 Draw vs. SLSG (6/22)
- 0-0 Draw vs. Atlanta Fire (6/23)
McLean: Group D was another one that saw its schedule affected by weather, but Texas Rush won the group outright despite only playing two matches. The Rush’s six points were tied with VSI Flames for best in the group, but their 4-1 win over the Flames on Saturday would be the difference. McLean went winless in three matches, a 1-1 draw with Eagles SC being the lone bright spot.
- 0-1 Loss vs. Texas Rush (6/21)
- 1-1 Draw vs. Eagles SC (6/22)
- 0-3 Loss vs. VSI Flames (6/23)
U16 North American League
Freestate: Sporting Blue Valley ran away with Group A, going 3-0 with seven goals scored and only one allowed. Freestate, VSI Flames and Heat FC finished with three points apiece to round out the group.
- 0-1 Loss vs. Sporting Blue Valley (6/21)
- 0-1 Loss vs. VSI Flames (6/22)
- 3-0 Win vs. Heat FC (6/23)
Richmond Strikers: In Group B, Albertson Fury narrowly surpassed FC Wisconsin Eclipse by one point to earn the ECNL Finals bid. Richmond finished last in the group, losing three games by just one goal each.
- 1-2 Loss vs. Albertson Fury (6/21)
- 1-2 Loss vs. San Juan SC (6/22)
- 2-3 Loss vs. FC Wisconsin Eclipse (6/23)
Bethesda: In an extremely tightly contested Group E, Bethesda saw its weekend cut short after going 1-1 in its first two matches. Despite being within striking distance of TSC Hurricane and Sockers FC, Bethesda was not able to play Sunday’s game against SoccerPlus Conn. due to weather conditions.
- 1-2 Loss vs. Sockers FC (6/21)
- 3-0 Win vs. TSC Hurricane (6/22)
- vs. SoccerPlus Conn. (PPD)
FC Virginia: D’Feeters SC ran away with Group F, going a perfect 3-0, scoring eight goals and giving up one. FC Virginia finished a distant second, earning four points on one win, one draw and a loss.
- 1-1 Draw vs. FC Delco (6/21)
- 3-0 Win vs. De Anza Force (6/22)
- 1-2 Loss vs. D’Feeters SC (6/23)
U17 North American League
McLean: (Group Winner) McLean earned a spot in the upcoming ECNL Finals with a dominant weekend in Aurora, going 3-0 with 10 goals scored to just two allowed. McLean won an exciting winner-take-all match on Sunday against previously unbeaten Concorde Fire, who finished as the runner-up with six points.
- 4-1 Win vs. Sockers FC (6/21)
- 4-0 Win vs. Penn Fusion (6/22)
- 2-1 Win vs. Concorde Fire (6/23)
FC Virginia: Colorado Rush narrowly surpassed Birmingham United to win Group F seven points to six, while FC Virginia finished at the bottom of the group with an 0-3 record.
- 0-5 Loss vs. Colorado Rush (6/21)
- 2-3 Loss vs. FC Dallas (6/22)
- 1-2 Loss vs. Birmingham United (6/23)
Bethesda SC: Bethesda SC dropped three straight matches over the weekend and ended up fourth place in in Group E. Atlanta Fire won the group with seven points, one spot ahead of Mustang SC’s six.
- 1-2 Loss vs. Mustang SC (6/21)
- 1-2 Loss vs. Vardar (6/22)
- 0-2 Loss vs. Atlanta Fire (6/23)
Richmond Strikers: In Group H where every team won at least won match, SLSG’s two wins would be enough to capture the title. SLSG went unbeaten on the weekend and finished with seven points, while Richmond came in fourth place with three points.
- 2-1 Win vs. Gwinnett SA (6/21)
- 1-2 Loss vs. SLSG (6/22)
- 2-3 Loss vs. West Coast FC (6/23)
Richmond Strikers: After an impressive four-goal effort against Arsenal FC on Friday, the Richmond offense struggled the rest of the weekend, managing just one goal in back-to-back losses. The Strikers came in fifth at the Showcase Finals in Aurora, six points back of champion SoccerPlus Elite Conn.
- 4-2 Win vs. Arsenal FC (6/21)
- 0-2 Loss vs. FC Delco (6/22)
- 1-3 Loss vs. Utah Avalanche (6/23)
Virginia Rush: It was a middle-of-the-pack finish for Virginia Rush at the U-16 Showcase Finals, as the team was one of three squads to earn three points at the tournament. Those teams would take up the fourth through six place spots, while FC Dallas and Scorpions SC came out on top with nine points each. FC Dallas finished at the top of the table with a plus-six goal differential, besting Scorpions SC’s differential of plus-four.
- 1-3 Loss vs. FC Dallas (6/21)
- 1-5 Loss vs. SLSG-Metro (6/22)
- 2-1 Win vs. Las Vegas Premier (6/23)
Virginia Rush: Virginia Rush finished at the bottom of the U-17 Showcase table, earning two points on draws against Scorpions SC and FC Wisconsin Eclipse. Arsenal FC won the tournament with six points despite missing a game due to inclement weather.
- 0-0 Draw vs. Scorpions SC (6/21)
- 2-3 Loss vs. SLSG-Metro (6/22)
- 1-1 Draw vs. FC Wisconsin Eclipse (6/23)