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NCAA Mar 10, 2015

US Youth Soccer National League Las Vegas Preview: U-18 Boys

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+Read: National League Las Vegas Preview
Age Group Previews, Games to Watch and Player Notes: U-14U-15 | U-16 | U-17

+Read: National League Boys standings take shape at Disney Showcase

+Read: Boys wrap up first leg of US Youth Soccer National League alongside CASL Showcase

(Via US Youth Soccer) – The 2014-15 US Youth Soccer National League Boys season will wrap up play March 13-15 at Heritage Park in Henderson, Nev., as 48 teams — representing 19 states and 40 clubs — play their final three games and solidify the division standings. In the Under-15 through Under-18 age groups, each division will be represented by four of the eight teams, while the Under-14 divisions will each feature all eight sides.

U18B Standings

Blue Division

Each Under-18 Blue Division team playing in Las Vegas has some work to do, as they sit in fourth through seventh place in the current standings. The division leader, CUP Gold 96/97 (OH-S), is guaranteed at least a top-two finish, but the remaining four teams are all still alive to grab the group’s second ticket to the National Championships. With just four points separating the teams playing in Las Vegas, each result will impact who earns a trip to Tulsa.

Notable teams

LVSA 97 Red (NV) and FC Golden State White (CA-S) — LVSA is in the better position, but both teams enter the weekend with similar advantages. Each side has the benefit of a win over second-place Century V (PA-W), as well as positive goal differentials, which could become a factor in a tiebreaker scenario.

Eastside FC 96 Red (WA) and Michigan Jaguars FC 97 (MI) — Those pros for LVSA and Golden State turn into cons for these two teams. Both Eastside and Michigan lost to Century V and each team enters play in Las Vegas with a negative goal differential. However, if either side is able to string together some wins during the final weekend, it could make things interesting.

*CUP Gold 96/97 (OH-S) — The Ohio side has wrapped up its season with 15 points, and is safely in the top two. CUP could end up with the division title depending on results in Las Vegas.

*Century V (PA-W)— Currently in second place, Century V has a five-point advantage on LVSA — the closest team with games remaining. Each team playing in Vegas is within striking distance, so Century V will need some results to go its way in order to finish second when the standings are finalized.

*Team has completed all seven games and will not be playing in Las Vegas.

Game to watch

March 14, LVSA 97 Red (NV) vs. FC Golden State White (CA-S)
If LVSA is able to come away with a win on Friday, this game would give it a chance to jump into second place before its season finale. The Las Vegas side will have the advantage of playing close to home, but FC Golden State is experienced after winning its National League division a year ago. No matter the scenario surrounding this matchup, it should be an exciting game.

Red Division

In the Under-18 Red Division, FC Dallas 97 Premier (TX-N) has already secured the title and some history after it finished a rare 7-0-0 season in Orlando. However, there is plenty some excitement heading into the final weekend, as teams battle to secure the division’s second berth to Nationals. Three teams — including a pair of former National Champions — are still alive to finish the season in second place and it might not be decided until the final day of play.

Notable teams

Fullerton Rangers 96 White (CA-S) — The two-time National Champions needed a late surge in Las Vegas a year ago to clinch a spot at Nationals. It could be more of the same this year, and Fullerton has the advantage of a head-to-head win over second-place Smithtown Kickers SC Arsenal (NY-E).

Classics Eagles 96/97 Red (OH-S) — The Ohio side got off to a quick start in North Carolina and is tied for third place with Fullerton in the standings.

*FC Dallas 97 Premier (TX-N) — FC Dallas is the lone boys team to have a division championship clinched prior to the start of play in Las Vegas.

*Smithtown Kickers SC Arsenal (NY-E) — The 2013 National Champions are currently in second place but just six points ahead of both Fullerton and Classics Eagles.

*Team has completed all seven games and will not be playing in Las Vegas.

Game to watch

March 14, Fullerton Rangers 96 White (CA-S) vs. Classics Eagles 96/97 Red (OH-S)          
A lot can happen in these teams’ other matchups, but there’s a good chance this result will decide which, if either, of these sides finish in the top two. Fullerton has been comfortable playing here in the past, but Classics showed the ability to find the back of the net during its first four games in North Carolina.

Other Notes

Jerry Fitschen of Fullerton Rangers 96 White (CA-S) was on the winning Cal South 1998 team at the 2015 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships.

Amirgy Pineda of Fullerton Rangers 96 White (CA-S) was on the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team that competed in the 2015 Copa Chivas Tournament in February.

Sam Jester of KSC Academy 96/97 (DE) was named the 2014-15 Gatorade High School Player of the Year for the state of Delaware.

Jackson Dietrich of LVSA 97 Red (NV) was named the 2014-15 Gatorade High School Player of the Year for the state of Nevada.

T.J. Butzke of Smithtown Kickers SC Arsenal (NY-E) was named the 2014-15 Gatorade High School Player of the Year for the state of New York.

Robbie Mertz of Century V (PA-W) was named the 2014-15 Gatorade High School Player of the Year for the state of Pennsylvania.

The following players were named to the 2014 NSCAA Boys’ Fall High School All-American Team: T.J. Butzke, Kaan Ilgin (Smithtown Kickers SC Arsenal); Sam Jester (KSC Academy 96/97); Robbie Mertz, Ibrahima Kouyate (Century V); Max Pochobradsky (CUP Gold 96/97)

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