US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships – Day 3 Recap
BATON ROUGE, La. — Sunday brought an end to exciting preliminary games at the 2019 US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships at the Burbank Soccer Park in Baton Rouge, La., and Cajun Industrial Soccer Complex in Gonzales, La. The chase for the Regional and National Championship continues for the 108 teams who have qualified to move on from their preliminary groups.
The 13U Boys and all of the 14U-16U teams will play their quarterfinal matches tomorrow, June 24, while the remaining teams will finish their quarterfinal games Tuesday, June 25.
For some teams the quarterfinals has been the norm through their teams tenure, but for Covington YSA Tigers 02/03 (LA), the quarterfinals has been elusive in its trips to Southern Regionals.
“This team has had four straight opportunities to be able to represent the State of Louisiana in the Southern Regionals and in three of the last four yeas we’ve been in a position to advance but have failed to do so on account of goal differential,” said Convington head coach Stephen Aertker. “It feels terrific to finally break through with a win and to advance to the knock-out phase.”
The road is never over even when you reach milestones and Aertker knows that in a region with such great competition, there is more work to be done.
“We’re the little engine that could and feel like we punch above our weight class in a region that boast some of the best teams and clubs in the entire country,” continued Aertker. “After falling just short last year on goal differential, we swore we never wanted to have that feeling again or leave fate in someone else’s hands. We’ve worked hard, trained hard and came out with a quality effort today to advance to the quarterfinals. Hopefully we’re not done yet.”
Regional winners of the 13U through 19U age groups earn a berth to the 2019 US Youth Soccer National Championships, which will be held July 22-28 at the Toyota Soccer Center in Overland Park, Kan.
The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the 13U through 19U Boys and Girls age groups, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the 14U through 19U Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of 104 teams.
Notes from a few games on the final day of group play…
Lonestar Red (TX-S) and OEFC 06 (OK) came into the final day with their fates in their own hands, as a win would send either team through to the quarterfinals. Lonestar stepped up to the challenge and earned a, 3-0, victory to clinch the second spot in the group and the chance to continue playing for a Southern Regional Championships title. Lonestar set the bar with a goal by Madison Spitzer in the 22nd minute of play and then Spitzer added her second of the game in the 37th minute to give Lonestar some breathing room moving forward into the second half. Sarah Millsadded a late insurance goal in the 70th minute as Lonestar earned the 3-0 win and a spot in the quarterfinals.
Tied at three points apiece coming into the final game, Weston FC Black (FL) and Chattanooga FC 05 Premier I (TN), both knew what they had to do in order to secure a spot in the semifinals. Weston needed a tie while Chattanooga need go get all three points to advance through to the quarterfinals. Weston put the pressure on the Tennessee side midway through the first half as Rafael Matamoros put his team up, 1-0, in the 20th minute. Felipe Echeverria scored a goal to give Weston some breathing room in the 61st minute – his third of the event. Weston’s defense held off and the Florida side advances to the quarterfinals as Group B runners-up.
Lonestar (TX-S) knew it needed at least a draw to claim a spot in the semifinal but suffered a, 3-0, defeat in its game against Group D winners GA Rush 2004 (GA). Rush jumped all over Lonestar early and could have taken a bigger lead into halftime had it not been for some close misses. Jordynn Dudley notched two goals in the first half, one of which she neatly dribbled around the keeper for a tap-in. Rush’s Lauren McCloskey added an insurance goal in the 71st minute to seal the deal. Lonestar still had a chance to go through on goal differential, but BUSA 04 (AL) earned a huge win in its final group play game to get the goal differential needed to go through.
In a high paced, back and forth game, Furia Rojinegra (TX-S) defeated Tennessee United Soccer Club (TN), 2-1. Furia started the scoring in the early stages of the first half as Leo Pinedo met an out-swinging corner kick and guided his shot into the back of the net. United didn’t stay behind for long as a misread corner kick by the keeper allowed the ball to bounce in the box and then be headed home by Laurenth Mejia-Alvarez. Tennessee almost took the lead, but the blast from Carter Isenbergrocketed off the cross bar. Furia took the lead in the second half after drawing a penalty kick. Fernando Elizondo stepped up and finished the chance to make it 2-1. Tennessee was not done fighting, knowing it needed a win to advance. United almost got its breakthrough late as it got up the right flank, but a great shot was met by an equally good save by Axel Alonso. With the win, Furia advances to the quarterfinals as the Group C runners-up.
Covington YSA Tigers 02/03 (LA) has come so close to advancing beyond group stage and this year it finally sealed its spot in the quarterfinals after a, 5-0, victory over Oklahoma Energy Football Club 02 (OK). Knowing that an Energy win would send it through instead of the Louisiana side, Covington came out firing as they grabbed an early lead when Maddie Sides found the back of the net. Covington kept pressing and almost made it 2-0 off a corner, but a great header was cleared off the line by a watchful OK Energy defender. Covington kept pressing after the half and took a 3-0 lead off a brace from Brooke Cultura before Jae’Lasha Julien hit a beautiful curler to make it 4-0. Cultura finished her hat trick just before the final whistle to finish the scoring as the Lousiana side advances to its first quarterfinals.
Side note: After being tied on all tie breakers in Group C, Cajun SC Rage Academy (LA) move on to the quarterfinals after outlasting Rise SC 02 Elite 1 (TX-S) in kicks from the mark to decide the Group C runner-up.
Rise SC 01 Elite I (TX-S) controlled its own destiny heading into its final group play match against Lobos Rush 01 Premier (TN). The two teams battled back and forth to a scoreless first half with neither side wanting to make a costly error. Lobos found the back of the net first in the second half to take a 1-0 advantage. Nicolas DiMauro brought down a bouncing ball, opened up and hit a shot into the back post to give Tennessee the lead. Rise leveled late as Daniel Sotillo was rounding the keeper and got tripped up for a penalty kick. Ryan Doughty stepped up and buried the chance to give Rise life again. Knowing they had to win, Rise started launching balls up field and into the box but couldn’t find the necessary finish to level the score. With the result, Lobos advances to quarterfinals as Group C runners-up.
In a rematch of the 2018 18U Girls Southern Regional Championship final, Sunrise Sting 2000 (FL) defeated Mandeville SC Lakers Elite 00/01 (LA), 2-0, to ensure it had a spot in the quarterfinals. Mandeville had the best chance to open the scoring but an opportunity from close range was pulled wide. Sunrise took the 1-0 lead in the first half as a ball into the box found Anne Diaz-Silveira who made no mistakes with her finish to make it 1-0. Mandeville kept pressing and almost equalized as Sydney Vincensslipped a ball under the keeper but a sliding Sunrise defender saved it off the line. The back and forth action continued as Sunrise came back down the field and, after a bad clearance by the Mandeville keeper, had an open chip chance from deep but the attempt sailed just wide. In the second half, Sunrise pulled away as Diaz-Silveira added her second of the game early and then Cydni Turner added a goal to make it 3-0. Despite the loss, Mandeville will move into the quarterfinals as it finishes second in Group B.
Daily reports and complete results from the US Youth Soccer Southern Regional Championships are available on championships.