Tulsa, OK. – It was semifinals day today in Tulsa and youth soccer fans were treated to everything from overtime to blowouts in age groups U14 to U18. The U13 and U18 finals take place this evening and tonight.
The was little separating the sides in either of the U14 Boys semifinals. GSA (GA) sent the San Jose Earthquakes (Ca-N) out of the competition by the slimmest of margins, beating the Californians 1-0.
Houstonians (TX-S) coach Noe Bastidas was concerned about keeping his boys focused coming off of of Friday’s emotional penalty kick victory. Whatever he and his assistants came up with worked out just fine, with Houstonians beating San Diego SC Academy (CA-S) 2-1 to set up a Sunday showdown with GSA.
Identical scorelines prevailed in the Girls U14 group with Dallas Kicks (TX-N) ousting FC Pride Elite (IN) 1-0 while Legends FC (CA-S) toppled TopHat Gold (GA) 2-1.
The match featured two very talented teams with contrasting philosophies and was fascinating as a result. The Texans employed a more direct style than their opponents, who preferred to take a more patient approach.
The match was physical at times and Sporting went a man down when an overenthusiastic tackle drew the referee’s attention not long into the second half.
But with Colin Innes pulling the strings SKC never panicked and Dallas was unable to take advantage of the extra man. Both teams had chances to salt this one away, but overtime was beginning to look like a certainty when Rugova poked home the winner.
Sporting will face Fewster FC (MD) in the final on Sunday after the Maryland boys eliminated United FA Premier (GA) on a Devin McCarthy goal in 75th minute.
In an all Southern California battle Legends broke Albion SC hearts with a goal from Denae Antoine in the second half of overtime to win by a 1-0 score.
Waiting for Legends in Sunday’s Girls U15 Championship match will be La Roca Premier. La Roca (UT) just slipped by Penn Strikers (PA) in an keenly contested affair that turned on a fortunate bounce of the ball for the Penn goalkeeper Kamryn Stablein.
Stablein was fooled by a high bouncing ball that La Roca’s Macy Martinez finished into an empty Penn net, a cruel twist of fate for the young keeper who was outstanding for the Strikers both before and after that one incident.
A Battle Royale looms in the Boys U16 Final after today’s results set up a rematch between Seattle United (WA) and Baltimore Celtic (MD). Seattle continued its dominance of the U16 age group with today’s 3-0 shutout win over Penn Fusion (PA), while Baltimore doubled up on Loudoun 98 Red (VA) by a 4-2 tally.
Making this final all the more intriguing is that Celtic are the one team that gave United a game, falling 1-0 to their Cascadian foes in a group stage encounter.
It was a different story in the girl’s half of the 16 draw with both semifinals finishing 2-1. 2014 U15 Champions JC Storm (FL) moved on up an age group and after today’s 2-1 win over Futura Academy Forte Elite (MO) the Jacksonville team will be looking to add more honors.
The other semifinal in this group went to overtime where Caroline Foley played the heroine as YMS Premier Xplosion (PA) knocked off La Roca (UT), who also lost in the 18 year old girls division today, on day of mixed emotions for the Utah club.
Group B proved dominant in the Boys U17 division as second place Arlington Impact (VA) chopped down Group A table toppers Santa Barbara (CA-S) 2-1, although form form held with the Chicago Magic defeating Baltimore Celtic 2-0.
In the girls half we get the rematch of the 2014 U16 Championship match between Beach FC Academy (CA-S) and Tampa Bay United Premier (FL) that many were expecting to see.
Naturally today’s opposition did all they could to prevent that rematch, but goals from Brianne Folds and Samantha Betters in the 75th and 78th minutes were too much for Carlsbad Elite (CA-S) to overcome as Tampa triumphed 2-0 over Carlsbad Elite by a 2-0 margin.
The defending champions were pushed to overtime by a game KHA Red (Oh-S) club that fought back from 2-0 to take a 3-2 lead over Beach FC.
But an 80th minute strike from Taylor Bistline forced overtime where it was all Beach. Rocio Rodriguez scored early in the overtime period, her second goal of the game, and Tavia Leachman closed it out with a 103rd minute backbreaker.
Now it’s on to the rematch where Beach FC look to continue its dominance over Tampa Bay, who will have revenge on their minds.
It was nail biting time on the boys side of the U18 draw while a pair of California teams cruised to the finals in the girls competition.
FC Golden State (CA-S) edged CUP Gold (OH-S) 1-0, setting up a championship showdown with LVSA 97 Red (NV) who outlasted Fullerton Rangers (CA-S).
If it was all tension for the boys, while early goals took the drama out of the equation in both girls games. Carlsbad Elite (CA-S) were leading 2-0 by the 10th minute and with Bridget Daley and Sydney Yates each chipping in with a brace, the result was never in doubt as Carlsbad ran out 6-0 winners against La Roca (UT).
DMCV Sharks Elite won this title at the U17 level and now a year later they have their eyes fixed on this prize. To get to tomorrow’s final the Sharks followed the same script as Carlsbad, scoring early and often to leave KC Metro Dynamos (KS) with no hope.
The Kansas girls did manage an 80th minute goal to avoid the shutout, but there was no stopping the Sharks or Carlsbad today in Tulsa.
Next up from Tulsa are tonight’s U13 and U18 Championship games (Boys and Girls) and then it is on to Sunday as the US Youth National Championships conclude with a flurry of championship contests.