SCORES & STANDINGS | BLUE | RED
All four 15U Boys Blue Division teams playing in Las Vegas still have a chance to finish in the top two of the group and earn a place in the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships. Entering the games in March, each of the sides is chasing group leader Penn Fusion Elite (PA-E), which has 13 points in the standings. That is six more points than Solar Chelsea Red 02 Stricker (TX-N) — the closest team with games still to play. Idle Besthesda SC South 02 (VA) is currently in second place, but it will need some games to go its way in Vegas in order to stay in that position.
While Solar can avoid a slip-up in Vegas, the other three sides — Boca Juniors OC 02 White (CA-S), Michigan Wolves 02 (MI) and Michigan Jaguars 02 Green (MI) — need to win all three games in order to have a shot at finishing in the top two. Should one of those teams run the table and Solar come away with two wins, it may come down to tiebreakers to determine if Penn Fusion is able to hold on for a top-two finish.
Game to Watch
March 12, Boca Juniors OC 02 White (CA-S) vs. Solar Chelsea Red 02 Stricker (TX-N)
Each matchup during the first two days of play will influence how much impact this contest may have on top of the standings. If each side comes away with wins on Friday and Saturday, this game would determine the National Championship fate of both teams, as well as Penn Fusion. In that scenario, a Boca win in the March 12 matchup would secure it the division title while keeping Solar and Penn Fusion tied at 13 points — meaning goal differential would determine which of those sides take second. However, a Solar win would give it the title and leave Boca in third place. Those possibilities could be exciting, but the teams must first get by the two Michigan sides.
The race for the 15U Red Division berths to Nationals should be one of the most interesting of the week. The top four teams in the group are all playing in Las Vegas, and all are very much in contention to finish in the top two and compete for the division title.
Midwest United FC 02 Royal (MI) won all four of its games in North Carolina to make itself the clear favorite entering play in Las Vegas, but it has little breathing room. Both St. Louis Scott Gallagher SC Elite (MO) and USA MP O2 Premier (SC) are undefeated, with three wins and a tie apiece, and sit just two points behind Midwest entering the final weekend. Meanwhile, SC Waukesha 02 Blue (WI) has nine points and is also in the thick of the race.
Should the division race come down to tiebreakers, Midwest enters with an advantage in goal differential and goals scored, which could end up playing a factor. With so much left to play for, each and every goal will play a huge role in deciding which two sides advance to Frisco, Texas, to compete for the National Championship.
Game to Watch
March 10, USA MP O2 Premier (SC) vs. Midwest United FC 02 Royal (MI)
It’s hard to pick one game in this division that stands out above the rest, but this matchup should set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Should Midwest be able to come away with a win, it will be in very good position to secure one of the two National Championship berths — leaving the other three sides essentially fighting for one spot. However, a USA MP victory would pull the division even closer and keep each of the four teams in the hunt for the division title. Nothing can be clinched in this game, but its outcome will give each team an idea of what results are needed over the final two days of play.