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Two familiar faces have wrapped up return trips to the National Championships as 2012 finalist Sunrise Elite (FL) became just the fourth boys team to complete a perfect 7-0-0 season to clinch the Blue Division title in Orlando, and defending Region I Champion Bethesda Lions (MD) clinched at least a top-two finish in the Red Division with an undefeated 4-0-3 record. Both teams surrendered just three goals, putting them in a tie for third best goals against record in league history.
Sunrise have made a point to show their desire to return the National Championships, where after sweeping group play, they fell in a shootout of the championship match last summer. Donald Emerson leads the group with six goals scored, and Frederick Gil added four of his own on the season.
Bethesda had their work cut out for them in Orlando, as a stoppage time winner versus Pinecrest Premier (FL) and two draws against GSA Phoenix (GA) and Penn Fusion (E-PA) were enough to lock up at least a second place finish. Francisco Contreras led the team with four goals on the season.
Three of the four teams competing in Vegas can unseat Concorde Fire Elite (GA) for second place in the Blue Division. Dix Hills Elite (E-NY) and Alliance (TN) sit in the best position to surpass Concorde. Dix Hills will need at least two wins and goal differential to move into second, while Alliance needs two wins and a draw. Empire Revolution Buffalo (NY-W) will have to take all three games in Las Vegas to claim the spot, and Sereno (AZ) are hoping to get on track and play the role of spoiler.
In the Red Division, just one team can move into the top-two, as CESA Premier (SC) need two wins to move past GSA and all three to take the division title.
- Youth U.S. National Team Call-ups:
Juan Ramirez – Bethesda Lions
Mia Gyau – Bethesda Lions
- 2012 US Youth Soccer ODP Thanksgiving Interregional All-Stars:
Gary Zhao – CUP Crew Juniors
Jack Skahan – Sunrise Elite
- Mitchell Herried of Alliance FC claimed a bronze medal with Michigan ODP at the 2013 US Youth Soccer ODP National Championships this month.