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2016-17 National League Las Vegas Preview: 17U Boys

17U Boys


Black Division

B17 Black

Defending National Champion McLean 00 Green (VA) narrowly held off Nationals Union 00 Black (MI) in Orlando to clinch the 17U Black Division title. By doing so, the Virginia side has earned its way back to the US Youth Soccer National Championships for a chance to defend its title.

The strong play by each side in Orlando also led to two of the teams — Nationals Union and Davie United Sharks Blue (FL) — wrapping up second and third, respectively, to earn their way back into the National League for the 2017-18 season.

Game to Watch

March 10, SLSG 2000 Elite (MO) vs. Scottsdale Blackhawks 00 Boys Burke (AZ)
After dropping a decision to McLean in its first game, SLSG played three very tight matches to wrap up its week in North Carolina — picking up ties in two of the contests. The Missouri side has a chance to build on that momentum and pick up some points in its first match in Vegas against Scottsdale. Meanwhile, the Arizona side will also look to finish its season strong while playing in its neighboring state.

Blue Division

B17 Blue

After securing seven points in Orlando, Baltimore Celtic SC 2000 (MD) has opened up a significant lead over West Coast FC Armour 2000 (CA-S) — the lone team with games remaining that can catch the Maryland side. Celtic will have to keep an eye on the final weekend of games to see if it clinches the 17U Blue Division title and a berth to the National Championships.

If West Coast is going to make a run for first place, it can’t afford any slip-ups in Las Vegas, as it must win all three games to overtake Celtic. That’s certainly in the realm of possibilities after West Coast conceded just two goals during its four games in North Carolina. If the Cal South side can replicate that defensive effort in Las Vegas, it will have a shot to come away with victories in each of its matches.

Game to Watch

March 10, LVU 2000 Black (PA-E) vs. West Coast FC Armour 2000 (CA-S)
Each of West Coast’s games are important and must-wins if it hopes to take over first place. The first game of the weekend will set the tone and determine if the Cal South side can pick up a win and build some momentum. LVU will be a tough opening opponent for West Coast, as the Eastern Pennsylvania side is accustomed to close matches after three of its four North Carolina games were decided by 1-0 score lines. If that continues, this one could come down to the wire.

Red Division

B17 Red

It’s a two-team race for the 17U Red Division crown, as Raiders FC (IL) and Delaware Rush 00 (DE) each enter the final weekend of play with 4-0-0 records. The other two sides competing in Las Vegas, LMSC Sabertooth Rats (PA-E) and Fullerton Rangers 00 White (CA-S), are both mathematically in the hunt but need a perfect string of results to finish in first.

After completing a perfect 7-0-0 season a year ago, Raiders FC has put itself in position to accomplish that feat for an unprecedented second straight time. Should the Illinois side manage to finish on top of the division, it will have a chance to return to Nationals and avenge its shootout loss in last year’s championship final.

Meanwhile, Delaware Rush is trying to become the state’s first National League division winner. Strong defensive efforts keyed its four victories in North Carolina, as the Rush allowed just two goals over the course of those games. If Delaware can carry over that stingy defense to Las Vegas, it will have a good shot at taking the title.

Game to Watch

March 11, Raiders FC (IL) vs. Delaware Rush 00 (DE)
The winner of this game will control its own destiny in the pursuit of the division title entering the final day of play. Raiders FC has the experience of concluding a National League campaign with a strong effort in Vegas after doing so a year ago. However, Delaware will be motivated to make some history for its state, and a win in this matchup would be a big step toward that goal. Holding the head-to-head victory could turn out to be crucial in the final standings, so expect each team to play for the win in this one.

 White Division 

B17 White

FC Dallas 00 Che (TX-N) opened up a sizeable lead in the 17U White Division standings, but it will need to see how things shake out in Las Vegas to find out if it will remain on top of the group. Sparta 00 JK (UT) is within striking distance of FC Dallas, while Seattle United Copa (WA) could make a move to the top of the standings with a strong final weekend of play.

Sparta sits at nine points in the standings, which is just four behind idle FC Dallas entering play in Vegas. Sparta fell by a goal to FC Dallas in North Carolina, so the Utah side will be looking to gather at least five points in the final weekend. Sparta may need more than that if Seattle United can string together three wins. Having also lost to FC Dallas earlier in the season, Seattle will need to win each of its games in Vegas to take the division title.

Game to Watch

March 12, Sparta 00 JK (UT) vs. Seattle United Copa (WA)
The impact this game holds on the top of the standings will depend on the results during the first two days of play. While there is a chance the division title may already be decided entering Sunday, there is also the possibility that both Sparta and Seattle could have an opportunity to win the division with a victory in this matchup. Each team has been part of several tight, low-scoring games this season, so this one should be close throughout the 90 minutes.

Player Notes

Wes Montenegro (Davie United Sharks) was on the Florida 2001 roster for the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships.

Patrick Adams, Bryce Evans and Darryl Longdon (LVU 2000 Black) were on the Eastern Pennsylvania 2000 roster for the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships.

Cameron Hasting, Nicholas O’Donnell and Craig Potts (HMMS Eagle FC) were on the Eastern Pennsylvania 2000 roster or the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships.

Harrison Malone (LMSC Sabertooth Rats) was on the Eastern Pennsylvania 2000 roster for the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships.

Cooper Bowen, Jesus Chairez Chavez, Kyle Garnett, Alexander Leake, Jonathan Martinez, Ethan Rose, Menkaseh Tokpa, Max Wilkins and Even Windham (GSA 00 Premier) were on the Georgia 2000 roster for the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships.

Nick Richardson (Baltimore Celtic) was named to the 2016 NSCAA High School Boys All-America Team.