CARSON, California - The U16 Derby County Wolves turned what was supposed to be a three-day pool play round into a two-day coronation.
So much for the intrigue of a third day. By beating Chicago Magic AS Monaco 1-0 on Monday, the Wolves clinched a spot in the championship of the Development Academy National Finals with a game to spare.
Derby County Wolves (white) are into the finals, who will follow them?
Two days earlier Derby County defeated FC Dallas, and now stake claim to Group One having knocked off the two teams in the group who could tie them with two wins.
“It’s really exciting,” said Nathan Hicklin, who scored the game-winning goal in the 65th minute. “I’ve never personally been this far, never won a regional championship. Knowing we’re already in the final is a good feeling.”
Hicklin’s elation was a far cry from the uneasy feeling his team felt in the 64 minutes prior to his goal. Put simply, Chicago Magic took it to the Wolves with superior passing and more decisive activity.
Magic players like Tyler Engel and David Caban took space liberally and created some exciting possessions. Midway through the first half, Aaron Horton sent a perfect cross in the box to Oliver Mayer, who missed on a great look at a goal. It would prove to be one of the Magic’s best opportunities.
For much of the first half, Derby County appeared somewhat indecisive on how to attack, leading to some ill-advised passes as they tried to bite off more than they could chew.
But everything changed in the blink of an eye when Hicklin slipped behind the defense and into the box, taking a chip from Jacob Bushue and beating exposed goalkeeper Jovani Castanon.
The Magic vehemently contested that Hicklin was offsides on the play, and it truly was a close call, albeit a moot one.
“I tried to keep my composure, took a touch and put it far post,” Hicklin explained. “You get kind of frustrated running around and not making much happen for the match but you have to take advantage when you can.”
The Wolves’ bend-but-don’t-break defense kept them in the contest long enough to take advantage, while players like forward Reed Losee probed when he could keeping the Magic concerned enough not to launch a full-on attack.
“Chicago was a difficult matchup, and we didn’t expect any less from them,” said Wolves coach Lars Richters. “I wish our performance could’ve been better, particularly in the first half. In the second half we were able to hold things together just enough to put away our one chance. The fact that this is crunch time, it makes it special to come away with the results when the stakes are so high.”
U16 Derby County Wolves Lineup
Starters: Adam Grinwis, Stefan Grigorakis, Nicholas Prys, Sean Cunningham, Eric Weberman, TJ VanSlooten, Nathan Hicklin, Dzenan Catic, Kyle Rutzr, Jordan Tyler, Reed Losee.
Subs: Sean Magee, Joshua Barens.
U16 Chicago Magic AS Monaco Lineup
Starters: Jovani Castanon, David Caban, Billy McGuinness, Mitch Albrecht, Cody Wilkins, Tyler Engel, David Abidor, Jacob Bushue, Oliver Mayer, Arturo Garza, Aaron Horton.
Subs: Scott Lakin, Gabriel Virdaru, Noel Alvarez, Marc Gidden.CAL ODYSSEY 1, PDA 0
Cal Odyssey took sole control of Group Two with a gutsy victory in an evening match that concluded the day’s play.
Villyan Biijev scored the game-winner in the 29th minute, receiving a pass from Chris Newmark for the finish. That however, was hardly the end of the match’s action.
Both goalkeepers, Matt Dishno (Cal Odyssey) and Jake Wagmeister (PDA), who has put together a couple of solid efforts for the week, delivered key saves to keep their teams alive.
PDA had good-looking goal attempts by Nathan Bruccoleri and Brandon Allen, on a free kick, but came up short in the game that grew physical toward the end.
Cal Odyssey can clinch the group with a win Wednesday against Washington Premier FC.
U16 Cal Odyssey Lineup
Starters: Matt Dishno, Trevor Spurgeon, Christopher Young, Isaiah Trejo, Kyle Cadigan, Jon Paul Medina, Nathan Smith, Villyan Bijev, Chris Newmark, Gregory Antognoli, Jose Segura.
Subs: Jesus Garcia, Joshua Alvarez.
U16 PDA Lineup
Starters: Jake Wagmeister, Matthew Wiltse, Matthias Sheeleigh, Joseph Mineo, Will Joels, Tommy Uttaro, Johan Hernandez, Scott Thomsen, Nathan Bruccoleri, Robert Barrera, Brandon Allen.
Subs: Kyle Roach, Kyle Feather, Daniel James Metzger, Shaquille Hamilton, Randy Falk.
A Greensboro (right) player controls the ball.WASHINGTON PREMIER FC 2, GREENSBORO YOUTH SOCCER 1
Jamael Cox had a chance or two at a goal during Saturday’s 1-0 loss to PDA that I’m sure he would’ve liked to have back. On Monday, Cox took them back.
Two of them.
Cox scored two goals just three minutes apart during an explosive opening to the half and the team from Washington State picked up its first win of the week.
Eduardo Alvarez gave Greensboro a quick 1-0 lead about 10 minutes in. The score was set up by Alhaji Kanneh, who laid off a pass from the top of the box.
Both teams played a man down to finish the match with Washington holding on to get its first points while Greensboro is still in search.
U16 Washington Premier FC Lineup
Starters: Eric Owen, Chase Hanson Kenneth Phillips, Jeremy Wentzel, Evan Robicheau, Troy Peterson, Sean Okoli, Pablo De la Cruz, Jamael Cox, Darwin Jones, Andrew Weisshar.
Subs: Brandon Brockway, Christopher Chu, Max Thomas, Jacob Bechtel.
U16 Greeensboro Youth Soccer Lineup
Starters: Ryan Hanson, Jonas Nader, Jonathon Campbell, Thomas Allen, Austin Dunker, Jordan Lessard, Hans Lohmeyer, Eduardo Alvarez, Mathew Mills, Alhaji Kanneh, Mamadee Nyepon.
Subs: Hassan Kouyateh, Patrick Parker.
FC DALLAS 3, NEW YORK RED BULLS 0
Funny how soccer works.
Despite losing 3-1 to the Derby County Wolves on Saturday, FC Dallas felt that could have, and maybe should have come away with points considering how well they played and how much they dictated the game.
Things were reversed Monday, where FC Dallas saw the New York Red Bulls keep possessions but FC Dallas turned into the opportunists.
Just a hunch, but it’s safe to say all things considered they prefer Monday’s plot line.
“We basically just finished our chances and capitalized this time,” said leading scorer Ruben Luna who capped the scoring with an effortless goal in the 42nd minute. “In the first game we weren’t as strong as we should’ve been. We tried to keep our heads normal and play like it was just another game.”
Bryan Leyva scored twice against the shell shocked Red Bulls, who were unable to turn their ball movement into real scoring chances.
With Derby County having clinched, FC Dallas is playing for second now. And New York, playing for pride.
U16 FC Dallas Lineup
Starters: Nelson Morales, Alex Frankenfel, Daniel Premenko, Jacob Gerondale, Moises Hernandez, Jonathan Top, Christopher Figueroa, Victor Ulloa, Daniel Garcia, Bryan Leyva, Ruben Luna.
Subs: Rigel Mathis, Marco Carrizales
, Eddie Vega, Darin Kruzich.
U16 New York Red Bulls Lineup
Starters: Travis Ives, Christopher Garcia, Brandon Adler, Brian Gallego, Paul Ehrenworth, Kemal Can Gurel, David Najem, Victor Manosalvas, Oscar Gonzalez, Jonathan Gonzalez, Christian Battistesa.
Subs: Clifford Lyle, Michael Innocenzi, Keith Francisco.