US Youth Soccer National League resumes alongside Disney Showcase
ORLANDO, Fla. (Via US Youth Soccer) — The 2015-16 US Youth Soccer National League Boys resumed league play Sunday, as 32 of the 80 teams competed at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla., alongside the Disney Soccer Showcase.
In addition to recruiting opportunities, the top two finishers from each division will earn a ticket to the 2016 US Youth Soccer National Championships, making each match valuable to the teams’ fate as it could make or break their chance at competing for the National Championship.
The battle for positioning in the standings remains close, and there is still very little clarity at the top of most of the divisions. Not only did Saturday see no division titles clinched, but only one boys team – Under-18 Lehigh Valley United 97 (PA-E) – has secured a top-two finish through the first day of play in Florida.
The depth of the National League field continues to shine through, as just one team competing in Orlando — Under-18 Lehigh Valley United 97 (PA-E) — has yet to lose or tie. Meanwhile, Saturday saw most teams fighting to stay ahead of the pack or get back into the hunt for division titles and top-two finishes.
An array of the top National League talent is here in front of hundreds of college coaches. Out of the eight divisions competing in Orlando, six of them have at least two of the teams sitting in the top four in their division with one of the divisions – Under-17 Red – containing all four teams sitting in the top four positions.
The National League teams that do not compete in Orlando, including all Under-14 squads, will complete their season at the Players College Showcase in Las Vegas — with boys games held March 11-13 and girls games played March 18-20.
The National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (US Youth Soccer Region I Champions League, Midwest Regional League, Region III Premier League and Far West Regional League). The National League provides an avenue for teams to play in meaningful matches against top competition from across the country for continued development and opportunities for exposure at the national team, collegiate and professional levels.
Some highlights from Saturday’s matches…
In the Under-15 Blue Division, Tennessee SC 19 (TN) defeated United FA 01 Premier (GA) 1-0. The win broke the four team tie at the top of the division and leaves Tennessee in second behind McLean 00 Green (VA), who defeated LFSC Geerling (MO) 3-1, each with 10 points. Tennessee held off an United FA barrage early to keep the score at 0-0 heading into the half. The Tennessee side came out and scored early in the second half when Nemo Lazo found the back of the net in just the 47th minute. United FA could not find an answer and the game finished 1-0.
In the Under-15 Red Division, GSA moved into second place with a 2-0 win over FPYC Fury (VA) and Houstonians 2001 (TX-S) picked up its first win of National League play with a 1-0 win over Baltimore Celtic Dynasty 00/01 (MD)
Dix Hills Hurricanes (NY-E) defeated United FA Premier (NY-E) 1-0 to grab the top spot in the Under-16 Blue Division. Dix Hills jumped out to an early lead on a goal in the 3rd minute by Nicholas Acquafredda. Acquafredda’s goal was all Dix Hills needed as its defense held off United FA as it pushed for a late equalizer.
In the other Blue Division matchup, South Carolina United FC 99 Elite (SC) kept itself in the hunt for a top two finish with a 1-0 victory over Chicago Fire Academy (IL).
In the Under-16 Red Division, Concorde Fire 99/00 (GA) moved closer to the top two with a 1-0 win over Arlington Eagles Red (VA). In the other game, FC Dallas 2000 Premier (TX-N) picked up its first win of National League play, defeating Sporting KC Academy (KS) 3-2.
Baltimore Celtic 98/99 (MD) grabbed first place in the Blue Division with a tough 3-2 Victory over SDFC Rangers (NJ). SDFC struck first with a Matthew Howlett goal in the 32nd minute but Celtic’s Dominic Duncan equalized justtwo minutes later. Duncan gave his side the lead in the second half when he got on the end of a Michael Osei-Wusu cross and headed it passed the keeper. Celtic’s George Nichols scored what would be the game winner just two minutes later when a long diagonal ball from Duncan found Nichols streaking to goal. Nichols made no mistake slotting his shot passed the keeper to give Celtic a 3-1 advantage. SDFC brought it within one when it was awarded a penalty kick in the 60th for a hand ball in the box. Mason Toye stepped up for SDFC and buried his shot to the bottom right. SDFC had a chance to level the game late, but a shot from Toye was saved off the line by Celtic’s Nikolas Steiner.
In the other Blue Division game, Arlington Attack Red (VA) moved into third in the division with its 1-0 victory over Houston Express (TX-S). Arlington now sits just one point behind second place Sporting St. Croix (MN).
The Under-17 Red Division has all top four teams playing for a top two finish here in Orlando. Solar Chelsea Red 99 (99) now retains sole possession of first place with a 2-0 victory over Penn Fusion 98 (PA-E). In the other game, CESA 98 Premier (SC) tied Loudoun 98 Red (VA) 0-0 and the South Carolina side keeps its second place spot just two points behind Solar. Solar now looks to clinch first place if they can win on day two or get some help with a tie or loss from CESA.
In the Under-18 Blue Division, Lehigh Valley United 97 (PA-E) remain perfect in National League play with five wins after defeating Tennessee SC 16 (TN) 6-1 and sit alone with 15 points at the top of the division.
Elsewhere in the Blue Division, second place Arlington Impact Red (VA) and third place FC Dallas Premier (TX-N) played to a 1-1 draw. FC Dallas scored the first goal of the match in the second half as Gerber Chavez received a long ball and beat the Arlington keeper. Arlington equalized after being awarded a penalty kick in the 68th minute when Joseph Faddoul was taken down in the box. Charles Taylor stepped up, and made no mistake slotting his shot passed the keeper, and brought the teams level at 1-1. Both teams pushed for a winning goal but the game finished 1-1.
In the Red Division, FC Alliance 98 Black (TN) defeated SAC Premier Blue (MD) 3-2 in a game filled with second half goals. In the other Red Division game, South Huntington Lightning (NY-E) defeated Alliance Academy 98 Black (MI) 1-0 and earned its first victory of National League play.
National League action continues Sunday, Dec. 28, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports with games at 8:30 a.m.,10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.