Maryland and Virginia teams at ECNL Playoffs and Finals in Seattle
The Elite Clubs National League Under-14 and Under-18 National Finals, as well as the Under-15 through Under-17 Playoffs are taking place in Seattle, Washington this week, with a least one team from all but one Potomac region clubs represented.
Teams from Bethesda and McLean are competing in the Under-14 and Under-18 Finals, while Bethesda, FC Virginia, Maryland United, McLean, and Richmond Strikers are all represented in the three 64-team pools hoping to find a spot for the ECNL National Finals to be held in Richmond next month.
The under-14 and under-18 competitions will end in Seattle for all teams, with national champions being crowned and their ECNL season ending.
For the under-15 through under-17 age groups, 64 teams from each age group earned their way into either the Champions League or the North American Cup for post-season competition.
The Champions League is made up of the top 24 teams that automatically qualify based solely on conference games. To get up to 32, the league then looked at the next best 14 conference-only records, and then added in non-conference games to come up with a ranking of all 14 teams based on total points per game for all ECNL games. From there the top eight (8) joined the 24 into eight groups of four teams each just like the World Cup. They’ll compete within the group, with only the winners of each earning a trip to Richmond in July for a shot at the ECNL National Championship.
The North America Cup field of 32 teams per age group was selected by taking the next best overall points per game records for all ECNL games – conference and non-conference. Those teams too are each divided into eight groups of four teams each, with the winners booking passage to Richmond to compete for the National Cup Final.
Here’s a round up of all the Potomac regional ECNL club results so far:
Under-14 National Finals
Bethesda SC was the only area ECNL club with a team that qualified in the top 12 nationally for the Finals in Seattle. While an incredible achievement to reach that level, unfortunately they went 0-3.
Tues: Lost 1-3 to PDA
Wed: Lost 0-1 to Santa Rosa United
Thur: Lost 1-2 to Charlotte Soccer Academy
Under-18 National Finals
McLean was the only area ECNL club with a team to qualify as one of the 12 competing for the national finals, where they finished second in their group winning two and losing once. With only the top teams in each of four round-robin groups advancing, the Northern Virginia outfit just missed out on the top spot as PDA went 3-0.
Tues: Won 3-2 over D’Feeters SC
Wed: Lost 2-6 to PDA
Thur: Won 3-0 over So Cal Blues SC
Under-15 Champions League Playoffs
Bethesda SC was one of two clubs to finish in the top 32 this season but is facing a tough road in Seattle so far dropping their first two games 0-4 against DeAnza Force and 3-5 to Colorado Storm. They face Connecticut FC, who are also winless.
FC Virginia was one of two clubs to finish in the top 24 nationally and earn a spot in the Champions League finals. They won their first game on Thursday 2-1 over FC Stars of Mass and play Sockers FC on Friday, followed by So Cal Blues on Sunday.
McLean, Richmond, and VA Rush did not qualify for either Champions League or National Cup this year.
Under-16 Champions League Playoffs
Maryland United FC drew their opening group match 1-1 against Mustang SC, and face Atlanta Fire Friday, 3-0 losers Thursday to United’s Sunday opponent in PDA. If they can beat Atlanta they can advance to Richmond with a win over PDA – or a draw if they can beat Atlanta by enough goals.
Under-16 North America Cup Playoffs
Bethesda SC dropped their opening group game 1-2 on Thursday, falling to Colorado Rush. They take on Mason Dixon Line rivals Continental FC Delco Friday, who also lost their opening match. A win Friday gets BSC back in the hunt, where they could be facing Charlotte Academy on Sunday for a place in Richmond.
McLean YS got off to a strong start and impressive goal differential downing Albertson Fury 4-0, and face Albion Hurricanes on Friday, who were 2-0 losers to Sereno SC Thursday. A draw or win over AHFC Friday will put McLean in the drivers seat to Richmond, possibly only needing a draw against Sereno Sunday, depending on goal difference.
Richmond Strikers dropped their opening game to West Coast FC 0-2, so will have an uphill battle to play for the Cup in their own back yard. They take on Minnesota Thunder Academy Friday, who were 3-0 winners over Sunday’s opponent and top group seed Lonestar SC. A win both days will see them earn that home team advantage next month.
Virginia Rush did not qualify for either the Champions League or the National Cup this year.
Under-17 Champions League Playoffs
Bethesda narrowly lost 2-1 to top group seed PDA on Thursday and play Arizona’s Sereno SC on Friday. Sereno also lost Thursday, a 3-1 result against group leading Vardar. If PDA lose to Vardar Friday, two more wins can put Bethesda through, assuming they make up any goal difference on Vardar. But a PDA sweep of the group would spell the end.
McLean proved why they earned top seed in their group in Seattle, rolling over Lonestar SC 6-0 in both teams’ opening game Thursday morning, but then only drew 2-2 with Mountain View Friday morning. Fortunately, MVLA drew their opening match by an identical score against So Cal Blues on Thursday, so McLean is still in first place, only needing a draw against the Blues to keep their season alive.
Under-17 North America Cup Playoffs
FC Virginia took a heavy defeat in their opening game Thursday, losing 0-4 to FC Bucks, the group’s top seed. They take on FC Dallas Friday afternoon, followed by Pleasanton Rage on Sunday. If either of those two teams can knock off FC Bucks, and FCV can win out by multiple goals, they have a shot at Richmond.
Maryland United FC did well to qualify for Seattle, but have struggled on the Emerald City fields, losing 0-2 to St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro on Thursday and 0-3 to Georgia’s Concorde Fire on Friday morning. With zero points and fellow winless SC Del Sol to play Sunday, pride will be all that’s on the line in a bi-coastal battle.
Neither the Richmond Strikers, nor Virginia Rush did not qualify for either the Champions League or the National Cup this year.