Jefferson Cup Qualifier day one play sees mix of safe bets and tight races in bid for 2015 safety
As has become the tradition, the huge Jefferson Cup each March that draws well over 500 college scouts to Richmond is followed by the smaller, yet growing “Qualifier” weekend. This year, nearly 70 girls teams are competing for a coveted “sure thing” berth into the 2015 edition of the big show. Though far from their only chance, knowing you’ll be a Jeff Cup Team for 51 weeks certainly will make any team fortunate enough to earn their spots this weekend breath a lot easier.
Following is our group-by-group round-up of Day 1 action, with a preview of many decisive contests taking place Sunday for the big prize!
In Under-12 action, five Virginia teams lined up with one team from Delaware – Central Delaware United venturing south for a chance at U13 Jefferson Cup action next spring. With both finalists set to earn that berth, day one’s round-robin action in two flights saw Chesapeake United Chargers and sister team Chesapeake Blue Angels miss out on Sunday’s semifinals, with both Vienna Pride Red and Loudoun Red topping their group going 2-0 on the day.
Sunday’s Semis – Winners both qualify for 2015 Jefferson Cup Girls Weekend
8:00 am: Loudoun 01 Red vs. FC Milan
9:30 am: Vienna Pride Red vs. Central Delaware Glory Elite
In Under-13s there are three flights of five teams each playing four games in round-robin format across the two-day event. The three group winners plus the best second place team across all three groups will each qualify for 2015 Jefferson Cup proper.
Saturday’s Orange group games were all tight affairs, with Virginia based BRYC Elite and West Chester United Predators of Pennsylvania the only two teams to go 2-0, setting up what could be the decisive match at 9:30 AM Sunday when they face each other. A win by BRYC could be spoiled only by Virginia Rush in their 2 PM match up, while a win by West Chester could all but clinch their Jeffeson Cup with their fourth game against an 0-2 Richmond Strikers team. Will Rush play spoiler and nab that next best 2nd place spot? That’s why they play the games.
The Under-13 Black group saw three draws out of their five total games on Saturday, with only out-of-state visitors Rage SC Athletica of Reading Pennsylvania and Cleveland Impact banking wins. Cleveland has the big game of the day, putting six past Chesterfield United Academy in their high noon clash, but that followed a 2-1 early morning loss to Rage, putting the Reading club on top of the group going into Sunday. But this division is any team’s to take. Is Cleveland’s 6-1 win an anomaly or harbinger of the Ohio them following in the footsteps of their club’s impressive performance last weekend in the official girls weekend?
The Under-13 White group appears to have a dominant force in Arlington Comets Red, holders of the only 2-0 day one record and scorers of 13 total goals. This impressive start featured a 4-2 win over Virginia Legacy, who themselves notched an impressive 12 tallies in two games and now sit in third spot on 11 points. Sandwiched between Legacy and Comets sit Gunston Elite on 13 points following an undefeated day, albeit with only 2 goals scored on the day. Gunston play both final games of this group at 12:30 and 3:30 pm against Arlington and Legacy respectively, so certainly hold their 2015 Jefferson Cup destiny in hand regardless of how those opponents fare in their 8 am matches. Two wins for Gunston and they’re in no matter what. But the same is clearly true for Arlington, while Legacy can also either win the group or that coveted “best 2nd” spot with two wins of their own Sunday.
The Under-14 through Under-16 flights are a bit more simple to follow, with all but one age group containing 16 teams divided into two flights of eight, each competing for two spots in the 2015 Jefferson Cup main event! The under-16 category has one group of just six teams that will play a final on Sunday morning to earn the overall under-16 finals berth and the 2015 Jefferson Cup bid that comes with it. The rest of the groups are split into two groups of four, playing round-robin on Saturday and Sunday morning, with the best overall records advancing go the cross-flight final. Both finalists book their ticket to 2015 Main Event no matter the result.
Here’s a run-down of day 1 results in each age group, and which teams are still in the hunt!
Group A: PWSI Courage Red topped the group with two wins to take top position going into Sunday’s 9:40 am match up with the 0-2 Nirvana FC Dream of New York, where a win assures the Northern Virginia side a spot back in Richmond next March. Slip up and draw or lose that match and the winner of the 9:40 am game between Rage SC Athletica and Virginia Legacy could see them steal the spotlight.
Group B: Arsenal FC Gold Fire control their own destiny for sure, and seemingly have an easy path to March 2015 after going 2-0 Saturday and set to face winless-and scoreless CRUSA FC Bucks Force on Sunday. However, if FC Bucks pull of a shocker, the winner of McLean Real Green and New England Rush would take the prize in all but the rarest of scenarios that saw minimum points awarded for their win and a likewise draw or narrow win by Arsenal.
Group A: Cardinals and FASA Elite both went 2-0 on Saturday, with SYA facing the 0-2 Outer Banks Storm seemingly on the easier path to Richmond in 2015 following the North Carolina team’s two losses on Saturday for a combined 15 goals allowed and none scored. A shocker by the banks girls could see BRYC go through should they beat the 1-1 Hampton Roads Strikers.
Group B: FASA’s position certainly keep them in the driver’s seat, but likely leaves them wanting some protection like an airbag and extra belts as they must face runners up Annandale X-Treme. On paper, FASA are still favorites after scoring seven and allowing just one against the same two opponents that Annandale could only manage four goals for and three conceded. But certainly FASA will not take their task lightly knowing the quality produced year after year out of Braddock Road.
Group A: Three out of four spots here are still up for grabs with Annandale Unite FC and Lake Grove-Newfield Tsunami both balancing at the top with 1-0-1- records, while Morris United STA are still in it with a 1-1 Saturday performance. Only Pennsylvania Rush are out of contention for Richmond 2015, but they could still play the spoiler role against Lake Grove Sunday following two narrow Saturday losses. Morris United and ABGC face off in the other 9:40 am Sunday morning affair, where even a win might not seem them home free should Lake Grove win big over PA Rush
Group B: As much as Group A seems up for grabs, this group boils down to a “win and you’re in” clash Sunday between fellow 2-0 group leaders North United Black Thunder of Pennsylvania and Alleycats Redcats down south from New York. Both were narrow winners against like opponents on Saturday however, so something feels like one could be as close as they come with a real Cup Final atmosphere!
Just like Orange Group A, this entire division boils down to third matches Sunday morning between two sets of 2-0 leaders in both Group A and B.
Group A sees the absolutely identical record FC York Elite and Rockville Center Express face off after both winning by 5-0 and 2-0 score lines Saturday against the same opponents. It just doesn’t get any more even that that, and this one is clearly the biggest coin-flip of the weekend. Things are so even in fact, that a draw could make things messy, either going into PKs or a literal coin flip, with either case potentially moving tournament organizers to award both teams the honor of making it to the show next March?
Meanwhile, Group B is almost just as close with both Old Dominion Xplosion Premier and Reston United recording 4-0 wins over Club Ohio FC Green, while Reston’s 6-0 win over FC Milan sees them to 20 points in the standings to ODSC’s 19 following their 7-2 win over the same Milan side. The single point difference makes a draw on Sunday morning all Reston needs to win the 2015 entrance medal, but like their counter parts in Group A, this one is still anyone’s game!
With two groups of three competing in round-robin for a spot in Sunday morning’s semifinal, ABGC FCV United West went 2-0 against West Chester United Predator and Parsippany Cheetahs to take the #1 seed in Group A as the favorites against second place Group B finishers Davidsonville Warriors out of Maryland. Rage SC Athletica had a tougher time coming out on top of their group, going 1-0-1, and edging out Davidsonville for the top seed only by way of booking a shutout over Nirvana Legacy where the Warriors managed just a 4-1 win. The Rage now face fellow Pennsylvania side West Chester United Predators, who went 1-1 in Group B.
Group A: McLean Extreme Green can make travel plans to Richmond for a week earlier next year with a win Sunday morning against EPIC Storm, currently tied for 2nd place in Group A with Cleveland FC. But as difficult as beating the group leaders in McLean may seem to EPIC, if they pull it off, the only West Virginia team in the tournament this year could be celebrating that coveted U17 showcase appearance in 2015 with Cleveland matched up against a 4th place Burke Fire and Ice team that held leaders McLean to a scoreless draw on Saturday, and only lost by a single goal to EPIC 2-1. Burke can even win the group with a big win and a narrow McLean loss, making this the tightest group of the bunch and a must watch!
Group B: Group leader Real Shore Rampage’s path back to Richmond for the real deal in 2015 is more simple than their Group A counter-parts as they face off against Old Dominion Revolution, the only other team in the group with a win. ODFC could still take the group with a win of their own, but a anything less leaves Rampage safe and sound knowing neither LMVSC Patriots Red or Bridgewater of New Jersey can do about it no matter their final result Sunday morning.