USL Academy Cup Day 3 Recap: Finals matchups decided in Tampa
With only one day of group stage play left, teams from all over the country left everything on the field at the third day of the USL Academy Cup.
The first spot in a championship match came down to goal difference in the U15 Boys Elite division. Real Colorado and Indy Eleven both won their matches 4-1 after starting the day level on points. It was a hat trick from Indy Eleven’s Kadiri Bello that ensured their place in the match for silverware tomorrow. Real Colorado will play against Louisville City FC, who have also put together a solid weekend, despite being held scoreless today.
In the U19 Boys Elite division, it was also Indy Eleven cruising to the final match with a perfect record, the only one in the division as Greyson Elmquist fired home a sweet volley in the 37th minute against Phoenix Rising to send them to the championship match. They’ll meet Tampa Bay United, a side that lost to Park City Red Wolves after trailing by as much as three goals to none. The match opened the door for Cleveland Force to attempt to swipe the top spot, but they fell to Hartford Athletic 3-1.
Nona FC was the perfect side in the U13 Boys Division, as the Florida-based side won their third match in a row, thanks to Erick Feliciano’s 38th-minute goal to sneak past Indy Eleven. They’ll move on to face Phoenix Rising, after Tampa Bay United’s bid for the top spot was spoiled by Cleveland Force SC’s Nathan Miller in the 29th minute. Unable to recover despite dominant performances during the first two days, it was Phoenix’s 2-0 win over Park City Red Wolves that carried them ahead on the table.
With a spot in the U19 Girls Elite final up for grabs, the stakes couldn’t have been higher for Greenville Liberty SC and NC Courage in their last group stage match. Both teams came to play with high intensity, but it was Greenville who scored first, off a stellar goal from Autumn Cayelli assisted by Valerie Hernandez in the 39th minute. Courage clawed their way back to tie it up in the 66th minute thanks to solo heroics by Kiera Clemens. After splitting the points with Greenville, NC Courage rounded out group play with 7 points and advance to the championship match tomorrow.
Another match with championship implications, NC Fusion topped LA Parish AC 3-0. Sophie Wyshner scored a brace for Fusion, with the first goal being a cheeky backheel flick into the open net in the 16th minute. Wyshner’s second goal came in the 35th minute from a rebound attempt and Katherine Walker added the final goal in the 45th minute. All three goals were assisted by Aislynn Maguire. NC Fusion concluded group play with a total of 9 points and will face NC Courage in tomorrow’s championship match.
Cleveland Force SC defeated AC Connecticut 5-0 off a hat trick from Hannah Pachan, a player to watch coming into the weekend. Lauryn Contini and Brooke Allen each tallied the other two goals for Cleveland. The young Cleveland side finished the group stage with 4 points.
Indy Eleven wrapped up their third match of the tournament with a bang, dominating FC Miami City 6-1. Indy’s Emma Johnson tallied a brace, while teammates Aleyna Quinn, Elise May, Abby Foulk, and Josie Studley each registered a goal as well. Meilani Murillo scored the lone goal for the FC Miami City side in the 17th minute. Indy Eleven earned 6 points during group play.
Sunday promises to be another day of stellar performances and intense matchups as all these teams suit up to go one more time. See the final group standings here.