Heading into the Las Vegas weekend, the 16U Girls Black Division is the only division in the age group whose champion is undecided. The current leader in the group is Beadling 2004 Showcase (PA-W), which completed its season in Lakewood Ranch with a total of 13 points. The PA West side won all of its games in Florida, which contributed to an overall four-game win streak to complete its season. Beadling will now wait to see if that point total is enough to hold on to first place.
Utah Celtic FC (UT) leads a trio of contenders for the division title that each have work to do to catch Beadling. Celtic is six points back of Beadling with three games left to play. The Utah side beat Beadling earlier in the season, so it can overtake it for first place with two wins in Las Vegas. Celtic earned points from several tight games to begin its season, and it may need to do the same in March.
TN United Red (TN) also came out on top when it met Beadling during the first event of the season. However, TN United is eight points back of the group leader, so its only path to the top is to win all three of its remaining matches. Legends 04 (CA-S) still has an outside chance to win the division. It enters the final weekend needing wins in all three of its remaining games, and it will need to hope for a three-way tiebreaker to have a shot at the title.
Game to Watch
March 21, Utah Celtic FC (UT) vs. TN United Red (TN)
Both Utah Celtic and TN United have an opportunity to finish the weekend with the Black Division title, and this match will be a key factor in that pursuit for both sides. If TN United manages to win its first match, another victory in this game against Utah on Saturday will give it an opportunity to head to the last day of the season with a shot at winning the division. On the other hand, should Celtic move to 10 points in the standings ahead of this contest, a win against TN United could potentially allow Utah to clinch the division title.
CFC Redstar (GA) held off Sporting St. Louis Red Devils 2004 (MO) during the action in Lakewood Ranch to win the 16U Girls Blue Division. The two sides met on the last day of the Florida event and played to a 2-2 draw, which allowed CFC to maintain its spot at the top of the standings and earn enough points to secure the title. In all, the Georgia side compiled 17 points during an unbeaten season — winning five games and tying two.
While first place may be just out of reach, Legends FC - Riverside (CA-S) has an opportunity to walk away from its games in Las Vegas as the division’s runner-up. The Cal South side is currently seven points behind Sporting STL, and Legends won the matchup between the two sides earlier in the season. If Legends can pick up at least seven points in Las Vegas, it will lock up a second-place finish and secure a spot in the National League for next season.
Picking up results in Las Vegas won’t be easy, as each of the other competing teams — CUP 04 Gold (OH-S), Tennessee SC Showcase (TN) and LVSA 04 National League (NV) — combined to have nine of 12 games in North Carolina that were decided by one goal or less. If that continues, there will be plenty of close contests in Las Vegas.
Game to Watch
March 22, Legends FC - Riverside (CA-S) vs. LVSA 04 NL (NV)
Both of these teams will be looking to pick up some momentum as they head into their late spring and summer events. This isn’t the first time Legends and LVSA have met on the field, as they played each other in the group stage of the 2019 Far West Regional Championships. That match ended in a 1-1 draw, and both teams advanced to the knockout rounds. In this matchup, Legends will be eying at least a tie as it tries to climb the standings and secure a second-place finish in the Blue Division.
Libertyville FC 1974 Elite (IL) finished its season with five wins and two draws to clinch the 16U Girls Red Division title. The Illinois side began its campaign in North Carolina with two dominant shutout victories. It then saw things tighten up, as its next five matches featured two draws and three victories by one goal. Those performances in close matches allowed Libertyville FC to pick up enough points to distance itself from the pack and clinch first place.
The Illinois side isn’t the only team that finished its season unbeaten, as GA Rush 2004 (GA) wrapped up its campaign with three wins and four draws — giving it 13 points. That showing allowed GA Rush to leave Lakewood Ranch in second place, and it will now have to keep an eye on the results in Las Vegas to see if it ends up in that position when all games are complete.
Solar 04 Rundell (TX-N) has three games left to play in Las Vegas and is six points behind GA Rush. The North Texas side will need at least seven points to move into second place. Meanwhile, Beach FC 04 (CA-S) and MN Eclipse 04 Girls (MN) are each capable of making a move up the standings and into the second slot. In order to do so, both sides will need to win all three remaining games. If any one of the teams playing in Las Vegas manage to climb into second place, that side will secure a spot in the National League for next season.
Game to Watch
March 22, Solar 04 Rundell (TX-N) vs. MN Eclipse 04 Girls (MN)
Solar and MN Eclipse have similar resumes to date, including identical goal spreads of seven goals scored and seven conceded. They each also came as close as any team to handing division winner Libertyville FC its only loss of the season. Solar played to a 1-1 draw against Libertyville, while MN Eclipse held a late lead before allowing two goals in the final 10 minutes in a 3-2 loss. Each team has shown the ability to compete with the best in the division, and it’s possible they’ll each be in contention for second place when they face off on the final day of the season.
A perfect 7-0-0 record allowed SC Wave 04 Girls Blue Juniors (WI) to clinch the top spot in the 16U Girls White Division during play in Lakewood Ranch. The Wisconsin side showcased complete team efforts in each contest, as it averaged more than three goals scored per game and did not concede more than once in any match. In all, SC Wave outscored its opponents 25 to 5 over the course of the season.
While the top spot in the division is locked up, second place — and its accompanying spot in the next National League season — is still up for grabs. KHA Red 04 (KY) is in the best position to finish as the runner-up after picking up nine points from its first four matches. KHA’s lone blemish came in a 2-1 loss to SC Wave, as the Kentucky side came within a couple minutes of earning a draw in that match. KHA is currently just one point back of second place, so it will take over that spot with a single win or draw in Las Vegas.
Each of the other teams with games remaining have the ability to finish in second place, as well. San Diego Strikers G04 Premier (CA-S) and SDA Utica Blasters (NY-E) each have four points in the standings, while FC Dallas Blue (TX-N) has three points. They’ll each need to catch or surpass current second-place side Match Fit 2004 USYS (NJ), while also overtaking KHA, to have a shot at finishing as the division runner-up.
Game to Watch
March 20, KHA Red 04 (KY) vs. San Diego Strikers G04 Premier (CA-S)
San Diego gets the first shot at trying to earn a win against KHA, as the teams playing in Las Vegas need to catch the Kentucky side to have a shot at second place. The Cal South side is the lone West Region team in the division and could take advantage of being relatively local on the first day of play in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, KHA will look to continue its good run of form from earlier in the season and take its first step toward cementing a second-place finish.