SCORES & STANDINGS | BLACK | BLUE | RED | WHITE | PLAYER NOTES
Entering the final weekend of play, there are two teams who are primary contenders for the 16U Black Division title. EC Real Salinas Galaxy 01 (CA-N) is in the driver’s seat after earning four wins in North Carolina. The Cal North side allowed just three goals in those contests to put itself in a very favorable position entering play in Las Vegas.
Just three points back of EC Real is Raiders FC (IL). After being held to one goal in its season opener, Raiders FC scored 13 times in its final three matches in North Carolina to reel off three straight victories. The Illinois side will aim to keep that momentum going as it enters the final weekend.
The Raiders’ lone loss came to current group leader 01 CASL Red North (NC), which gives the North Carolina side an advantage should it finish even with the Raiders in the standings. However, CASL will need to hope EC Real fails to pick up three points over the course of the weekend in order for it to hold on to its narrow lead at the top of the group.
Game to Watch
March 11, EC Real Salinas Galaxy 01 (CA-N) vs. Raiders FC (IL)
With each side still in contention for the division title, this game could potentially determine who earns the berth to the 2017 US Youth Soccer National Championships. An EC Real victory would guarantee the Cal North side the division crown, but a Raiders FC win could keep things interesting heading into the final day. A key to watch for in this one should be if Raiders FC can continue its scoring form against a stout EC Real defense.
Several teams are still alive in the 16U Blue Division title race entering the final weekend of play. GSA 01 Premier (GA) has played all seven of its games and currently sits atop the standings, but it will need some results to go its way in Las Vegas to finish in that spot.
Seattle United 01 Copa (WA) and CUP Gold 01 (OH-S) each have nine points — just four behind GSA. Seattle used a combination of high-scoring offense and timely defense to come away with three wins in North Carolina, while CUP showcased an ability to win tight, low-scoring matches. Both Seattle and CUP are in prime position to make a move for first place, but they’ll need to take care of business in Las Vegas to do so.
Sporting J. B. Marine (MO) and KSA 01 Pro-Profile (GA) are mathematically alive in the pursuit of the division title, but each side will need to win all three of its games in Las Vegas in order to have a shot at finishing in first.
Game to Watch
March 11, Seattle United 01 Copa (WA) vs. CUP Gold 01 (OH-S)
The two sides enter the weekend tied in the standings and firmly in the hunt for the division title. CUP has had success coming out on top in low-scoring games, while Seattle has shown the ability to have streaky scoring and outscore opponents. This matchup could come down to which side is able to dictate the pace of the game. Seattle has a slight advantage in goal differential, so it would benefit most from a draw. However, don’t expect either team to settle for anything less than a win.
The 16U Red Division title and berth to Nationals has been secured, as Lobos Rush 01 Premier (TN) finished off a 6-1-0 season in Orlando to secure a first-place finish. However, the remaining teams still have a chance to earn their way back into the National League with top-three finishes in the group.
Defending National Champion Valparaiso United FC 01 JG (AZ) and Galaxy Soccer Club (IL) are both 3-1-0, with each team’s lone loss coming at the hands of Lobos Rush. Both of those sides are in good position to hold on to a top-three finish, but they’ll need to fend off FC Golden State 01 (CA-S), which enters the weekend just two points back of Valpo and Galaxy.
Game to Watch
March 12, FC Golden State 01 (CA-S) vs. Valparaiso United FC 01 JG (AZ)
If FC Golden State is going to make a move into the top three, it will likely need to beat either Valpo or Galaxy. A win by either side in this matchup would not only impact the victor’s finish in the National League, but it could also give that team an edge should the sides meet this year at the US Youth Soccer Region IV Championships. While the Red Division title may be out of reach, it’s always an exciting matchup when regional foes meet on the final day of league play.
The 16U White Division should come down to how well LVSA 01 Red (NV) fares in Las Vegas. The local side currently has four idle teams ahead of it in the standings, with USA/MP 01 Premier (SC) on top at the moment thanks to a tiebreaker over Sporting Omaha FC 01 Elite (NE). Despite that fact, Sporting Omaha still has a shot at the title, should it come down to a three-way tiebreaker at the top of the standings.
LVSA finds itself five points behind USA/MP and Sporting, so two wins over the course of the weekend in Las Vegas would give the Nevada side the division title. If LVSA’s first four games of the season are any indication, each of its matchups in March could be tight contests. Should LVSA finish even at 12 points with both USA/MP and Sporting Omaha, the Nebraska side would take the division title based on having a win and a tie in games amongst the three teams.
Game to Watch
March 11, LVSA 01 Red (NV) vs. Bethesda SC Blue 01 (MD)
No matter what happens on the first day of play, LVSA’s result in this game will determine what — if anything — is at stake heading into the final day of the season. A win over Bethesda in this matchup, coupled with an LVSA win to open the weekend, would give the Nevada side the White Division crown. Should LVSA drop points against Bethesda or in its first game, it could still have work to do on Sunday and keep the door open for either USA/MP or Sporting Omaha to finish in first.
Alexander Robles, Jacob Warner and Jeffrey Gates (Loudoun Red) were on the Virginia 2001 roster for the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships.
Eduardo Castillo-Bonilla and Ryan McKenna (BRYC 01 Elite) were on the Virginia 2001 roster for the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships.