ORLANDO, Fla. (March 20, 2021) — Group standings are taking shape at National League Orlando, and several teams competing in the US Youth Soccer National League Playoffs are one step closer to securing a berth to the 2021 USYS National Championships.
National League Orlando games are taking place at the ChampionsGate Sports Complex in ChampionsGate, Fla., and all teams will wrap up their weekend of action when they play their final matches on Sunday.
The Playoffs taking place at National League Orlando feature girls teams in the 14U and 16U-19U age groups, as well as boys teams in the 14U-18U age groups. Playoff teams that finish in first place (or second place in the 14U age group) following the three-game group-play event will advance to the 2021 National Championships.
Saturday’s game saw two teams — 14U Girls Wasatch SC 07G ZB (UT) and 15U Boys La Roca S A Bravo (UT) — secure first-place finishes and punch their tickets to the National Championships. Meanwhile, several other key games resulted in teams moving to the verge of securing their berth to play for a National title this summer.
In the 15U Boys age group, SC Wave 06 (WI) secured a 3-1 win against FC Dallas Youth 06B Central Red (TX-N) in a matchup of teams that entered the day with three points. SC Wave coach Ian Bennett complimented the FC Dallas youth system and said that playing against a quality side like that is another example of the “fierce” competition teams get when playing in the National League.
“The National League brings it. It’s crazy,” Bennett said. “They’re not pros, but when they come in and see all the stages and the flags and the great production, they feel like pros for a little bit. The quality and the level of play is so good, so they’ve got to pay attention to detail. I love it. They’ve got to bring it.”
Bennett said Saturday’s result will go a long way in determining the winner of their group and the accompanying berth to the National Championships that comes with it. No matter what the near future holds for the SC Wave players, their coach said this environment is helping to set them up for the next stages in their soccer careers.
“You’re trying to get them to the next step, and that’s what it’s all about. Hopefully, there’s some scouts looking. And it’s a big opportunity,” Bennett said. “That’s the biggest thing about National League — it is the opportunity. ‘Where can we go next? Where can these kids develop? Where are they going to go?’ I think that is huge for their exposure in the game.”
A look back at Saturday’s action in the National League Playoffs…
With its second straight win to start its weekend in Orlando, Wasatch SC 07G ZB (UT) secured the Group A title and punched its ticket to the National Championships. The second berth to Nationals from Group A will be decided when TFA G07 Elite (OH-S) and 07 Lady Lobos Rush Premier (TN) — who each have three points — meet on Sunday.
Three teams are still in contention for the top two spots in Group B after two days of play. Nationals Union 07 Girls Black (MI) and Albion SC GA 07 (CA-S) are each undefeated with four points after playing to a 1-1 draw on Saturday. Wake FC 07 Blue GA (NC) is just one point behind and will need a win on Sunday to jump into the top two.
Legends Temecula Valley FC G05 (CA-S) picked up its second one-goal win in as many games to move to the top of Group C. However, Louisiana Fire Jrs. 05 Red (LA) is just two points back of the Cal South side, and the group title will be decided when the two teams face off on Sunday.
After both Group D games ended in 2-2 draws on Friday, some clarity emerged with Saturday’s results. TFA G05 Elite (OH-S) and Rio Rapids 05G (NM) both came away with clean sheet victories to move to the top of the standings. The Ohio South side netted five goals in its victory, to give it a goal differential advantage heading into the final day of play.
In Group C, Utah Celtic FC 04 (UT) netted a later game-winner to secure a 1-0 victory over MI Legends 2004 Girls Black (MI) in a matchup of Day 1 winners. That win gave Celtic a three-point lead in the standings, but it needs a result on Sunday to guarantee a first-place finish.
Sparta FC 04G (TX-N) has yet to concede a goal in Group D action, as it has taken hold of first place with two straight shutouts. Team Boca-SABR 2004 White (FL) will need to break through the Sparta defense on Sunday to earn a win and overtake the North Texas side for the top spot in the group.
Legends FC G03 Premier (CA-S) and Cleveland FC 03 Royal (OH-N) played to a scoreless draw on Saturday to remain tied in points at the top of Group C. Meanwhile, MIFC 2003 (FL) secured a 3-1 win on Saturday and is just one point behind the co-leaders.
Impact MN (UT) and SC Wave Juniors 03 Junior Girls (WI) played to a 1-1 draw on Saturday, which gave each side four points in the Group D standings. Impact has a goal differential advantage, so SC Wave will need to make that up on Sunday in order to secure a first-place finish.
USA Premier 02 PR (UT) and 02/03 Lady Lobos Rush Premier (TN) each have six points in Group C after the Tennessee side secured a 3-0 win on Saturday. The two teams will meet on Sunday in a winner-take-all matchup that will send the winner to Nationals. USA has the benefit of an advantage in goal differential should a tie come into play.
In Group D, Team Boca-SABR 2002 Girls White (FL) remains on top of the standings with six points and can clinch first place with a result against Covington FC Tammany Tigers 02 (LA) on Sunday.
La Roca-J Milla (UT) equalized on late penalty kick to earn a 2-2 draw against 07 Wake FC Blue (NC) and stay on top of the Group A standings. A 1-1 draw in the other game means that all four teams are still alive for the group’s two berths to Nationals heading into Sunday’s matches.
In Group B, Weston FC 2007 Elite (FL) picked up a big 1-0 win against Day 1 winner United PDX 2007 Boys Premier Black (OR) to move to the top of the standings. However, no team has secured a top-two finish, as Sunday’s matches will decide the Group B winner and the two berths to the National Championships.
In Group A, SC Wave (WI) pulled away late in a back-and-forth game to secure a 3-1 win over FC Dallas Youth 06B Central Red (TX-N). The win allowed the Wisconsin side to move into first place in the group, but it will need a result on Sunday to guarantee it finishes in that spot.
La Roca S A Bravo (UT) used a second-half penalty kick to defeat Michigan Jaguars 2006 Green (MI), 1-0, on Saturday. The victory allowed the Utah side to clinch first place in the group and book its ticket to the National Championships.
Pennine Utd B05 White (OH-N) has stood out on both ends of the field through two days, as it has yet to concede a goal while scoring seven. The Ohio North side’s 5-0 win on Saturday has it at the top of Group A, but it will need to hold off TUSC 05 Boys Red (TN) in the final game to hold on to first place.
A draw on Saturday helped DKSC 05 CARRILLO (TX-N) maintain its spot on top of Group D. However, USA Premier 05B SA (UT) and ECU 05 B Maroon (IN) are just one point back in standings.
Midwest United FC 04 Academy (MI) is the lone team in Group A to have two wins through two days of play. Its 3-1 win on Saturday helped it maintain first place in the group, but Sparta 04 JK (UT) is just two points back after showing plenty of attacking prowess in its Saturday victory. Those two sides meet on Sunday to decide the group winner.
A win on Friday for LVSA '03 Boys Silver (NV) stands as the only victory in Group B through two days of play. The Nevada side tied SLSG 2003 Elite (MO), 2-2, on Saturday to remain two points ahead of SLG and 03 RSL Boys Haouala (AZ) entering the final day of play.
The National League operates its primary league play across 13 Conferences that operate at a multi-state tier and provide high-level competition at a targeted local level, as well as a pathway for advancement into the regional and national stages of the USYS National Championship Series. The National League Showcase Series and National League Playoffs represent the national tier of the National League, providing a platform for teams to compete in unique matches against uncommon opponents.
For more information on the National League and each of its competitions, including the National League Playoffs, click here.