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ECNL Jun 28, 2023

El Camino FC Salinas and Manhattan SC earn big wins on Day 3 of ECNL Boys Playoffs

Day three of the ECNL Boys National Playoffs saw nonstop action throughout the day from the U13-U16 teams on the fields of Bryan Park in Greensboro.

With only one group stage game left after the conclusion of the day, everyone was looking for huge wins to position themselves to be in a spot to advance out of the group stage.

U15 Champions League: El Camino FC Salinas vs Arizona Arsenal 5-4

The U15 Champions League was highlighted by a back and forth nine goal thriller between El Camino FC Salinas and Arizona Arsenal.

The goals came nearly the moment the game started with Slade Earnheart firing Arizona Arsenal in front in the second minute of the game to grab the early 1-0 lead. In the 22nd minute, El Camino answered with a goal of their own from Fernando Matias-Chavez to level things at 1-1.

The back and forth nature of the game continued throughout the first half, with Jacoby Franklin giving Arizona Arsenal the lead back in the 32nd minute, and El Camino’s Isaiah Mendoza quickly answering back off a corner to knot things up at 2-2 going into the halftime break.

The fireworks continued in the second half. This time it was El Camino’s turn to grab the edge, when Luis Macias-Martinez found himself on the end of a wonderful set piece from midfield and was able to head the ball into the back of the net to put El Camino up 3-2.

(+ECNL Boys 2023 National Playoffs: Day 1 Recap)

The answer quickly came from Arizona Arsenal. From a dangerous set piece opportunity, Evan Romero Garcia was able to get on the other end of a great cross and put the ball in the back of the net to level it up at 3-3.

Macias-Martinez stepped up again though. From a corner kick, he was able to get on the other end and put in his second goal of the day in the 76th minute to send his team in front yet again.

A few minutes later, Jorge Hernandez-Canchola stole the ball away from the Arizona Arsenal defense and tucked away a shot past the keeper to give El Camino the first two goal lead of the game.

Arizona Arsenal attempted a comeback bid, but despite finding a stoppage time goal from the penalty spot, El Camino was able to hold on for the high scoring 5-4 victory.

After the game, El Camino Head Coach Alvaro Reyes Lomeli discussed how resilient his team was, fighting back from a goal down on multiple occasions in the first half, and always finding a way to score that goal to keep them ahead throughout the second half.

“My kids are warriors and they fight until the last minute,” said Reyes Lomeli.

Even with the incredible effort and his pride in the group, Reyes Lomeli did note there were some mistakes the team needs to work on if they want to continue moving forward, but on the day he was extremely proud of the effort they showed throughout every moment of the game.

“We still have to work with them because there were mistakes,” Reyes Lomeli said. “The team was just amazing the way they played though. They go for every single minute, every single ball, and they try to do the best they can.”

U16 Champions League: Manhattan SC vs Wilmington Hammerheads 3-1

In the second day of group stage games for the U16 Champions League, Manhattan SC put themselves in the driver’s seat in their group going into the final day, as they were able to pick up their second win of the group stage with a 3-1 win over Wilmington Hammerheads.

Wilmington jumped on top to open up the game with a goal in the eighth minute from Holland Miller, but Manhattan was able to answer back before the break with one of their own from Finn Hoefer to make it 1-1.

In the second half, Manhattan SC grabbed the 2-1 edge in the 62nd minute when Ellison Polyne found himself in perfect position along the goal line to redirect a deflection into the back of the net.

With the game winding down, Hoefer made his mark again, earning a penalty for Manhattan that was put away by Jhonn Padilla Alvarez to lock up the 3-1 win for Manhattan SC.

“It was a gutty performance,” Head Coach Ray Selvadurai said. “They had to battle back. They had to really stick to our plan and they didn’t waver from it.”

(+ECNL Boys 2023 National Playoffs: Day 2 Recap)

Selvadurai said he knew they would get a huge test from Wilmington and was really proud of the effort his team showed to pick up their second win of the group stage against such a tough opponent.

“We know Wilmington is a great club. We knew we were in for a really good game and they gave us everything that we hoped for,” Selvadurai said.

With five teams here, Manhattan SC had a large amount of support at the game from a number of their players in other age groups. Selvadurai said that kind of support embodies the mentality his club has and that the players from the other teams want to be in the stands cheering the other age groups on.

“We have a club environment in New York City. We have five teams here,” Selvadurai said. “They support each other. It’s part of the culture and it’s unprompted. They just want to be here for each other. I think that’s what our club is about and I see a lot of other clubs here that are the same way.”

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