Only one team — La Roca-FD 02 (UT) — enters Las Vegas with a chance to catch North United Rush (PA-W) for the Black Division title. After all its games, North United ended with 16 points – currently six higher than La Roca (12). The Utah side holds the important tiebreaker, as it handed North United it’s only blemish on its record. La Roca will need to earn at least two wins in order to clinch the title.
There is still plenty to play for, as all the other teams will be fighting for points in order to make a convincing performance to return to the league next season. While a longshot, both Pipeline Pre-Academy (MD) and Beach FC 02 (CA-S) could make a play for second place in the group with some positive results and some help from other teams in the division. A second place finish would guarantee either team a spot in the league next season. The bubble teams will be looking for La Roca to drop points and will most likely have to win out to get second.
Game to Watch
March 16, Pipeline Pre-Academy (MD) vs. La Roca-FD 02 (UT)
La Roca needs two wins to claim the title and a win on opening day would set the team off on the right foot. La Roca will be battling against a Pipeline team that cannot afford to drop points if it wants to finish in the top half of the Black Division. Expect this match to be high intensity, as both teams need a positive result in order to be one step closer to their respective goals.
Through two weekends of play, the 16U Blue Division still has no clear favorite to finish on top. All four teams competing in Las Vegas have a legitimate chance to secure the group’s one ticket to the US Youth Soccer National Championships.
Nationals Union 02 Black (MI) currently sits on top of the group with 12 points but will most likely be at home watching their lead fade as the teams compete in Vegas. Fullerton Rangers 02 White (CA-S) sits in second with 10 points and will just need one win to leap in front of the Michigan side. Right behind Fullerton sit New Jersey Rush 02 Grey (NJ), USA 02 Premier (UT) and Century United 20002 Gold (PA-W) — all within striking distance of the top.
The Blue Division will be one to keep eyes on, as every game will be meaningful and will help decide who moves on to Frisco this summer.
Game to Watch
March 16, New Jersey Rush 02 Grey (NJ) vs. Fullerton Rangers 02 White (CA-S)
If Fullerton can win this opening match, it will keep the Cal South team at least three points ahead of both USA and Century V heading into the final two games. New Jersey Rush cannot afford to lose momentum with two teams nipping at its heels and any dropped points could ruin its chance of advancing to Nationals. Only three goals have been allowed between the two teams so far in National League play, so those watching can expect this to be a hard fought defensive battle.
The Red Division is a three-horse race heading into the final weekend of play in Las Vegas. CDA Premier 02 (KY) is sitting at home hoping that its 18 points and 6-1-0 record will be enough as the teams in Vegas are gunning for the top spot.
SJEB Rush 02 Academy Blue (NJ) is the forerunner to make the move to the top as it earned a perfect 4-0-0 record in North Carolina. Holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over CDA, Rush will need to earn two wins in its three games to clinch the Red Division title. Rush will be tough to beat as it boasts an average of four goals per game and has allowed just one against so far in National League play.
PacNW 02 Maroon (WA) is a longshot and will need to win all three games in order to have a chance at a three-way tiebreaker scenario with CDA and Rush. With CDA holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over PacNW, the Washington side will need to win out and have Rush win its other two games in order to have a chance at the division title.
Game to Watch
March 16, SJEB Rush 02 Academy Blue (NJ) vs. PacNW 02 Maroon (WA)
This game is the all-important game of the weekend for both of these teams. With a win, SJEB dodges any chances of tiebreaker drama while putting it one win closer to earning the division title. On the other side, it is win or go home for PacNW. If the Washington side cannot pull off a win in game one, its chances of heading to Frisco via the National League are dashed.
Each team heading to Las Vegas in the 16U White Division has a mathematical shot of winning the Division title. Cleveland FC 02 Royal (OH-N) holds the advantage after going 4-0-0 in North Carolina. The 2017 National semifinalists, Legends FC 02 Academy (CA-S), is nipping at Cleveland’s heels, just two points back.
PDA Shore Wave (NJ) and Albion SC 02 Academy (SC) have seven and six points, respectively. While not out of the race, it will most likely take one of these teams winning all three of its games in order to make a run for the division title.
Game to Watch
March 17, Legends FC 02 Academy (CA-S) vs. Cleveland FC 02 Royal (OH-N)
This game will most likely be the one that decides the White Division title. With both teams being so close in points, neither team can afford to drop any points with a loss or tie. Legends is playing from behind, and depending on results from day one, will almost certainly need a win against Cleveland in order to leapfrog them heading into day three. Legends will lean on its experience from last year’s Nationals in attempts to return for a second straight trip.