One weekend before scores of ECNL teams descend on San Antonio, Texas for the first National Showcase of 2012, this weekend’s action is limited primarily to a small handful of teams.
As clubs across the ECNL cope with the varying depends of their respective schedule, Bethesda SC U16 is trying to pick up a second straight win over FC Virginia in less than a month and continue climbing up the Midatlantic Conference standings.
“It’ll be interesting how FC [Virginia] approach the game,” Bethesda U16 coach Dave Nolan told TopDrawersoccer.com. “We beat them the last time 3-0 it was a little unfair on them as regards to score line. I’m sure they’re well coached team, I’m sure Mike [Jorden] will have a couple of tricks up his sleeve to change the outcome.”
A byproduct of playing teams so close together creates an interesting challenge for the winning coach in the second matchup – like Bethesda faces.
“When you’re the team that’s come up on the short end of it, you have a chance to adjust and change teams that you see may give you a different outcome,” Nolan said. “If you’re a team that’s won, why would you change something because you won?”
Here’s a look at a few other matchups around the ECNL this weekend:
Freestate Soccer Alliance can stretch its winning run to six games this weekend at FC Virginia. Riley Barger tops FSA’s scoring charts with six goals, as the team has yet to suffer a defeat this year.
A crucial meeting in the Midwest pits the Minnesota Thunder Academy against FC Milwaukee, as both sit around mid-table in the Midwest Conference standings, looking to start a push towards the summit.
Both St. Louis Scott Gallagher and Carmel United have plenty of ground to make up in the Midwest Conference standings when they play on Saturday. With the Michigan Hawks and Eclipse Soccer Club setting the bar extremely high – 36 and 37 points respectively – neither side can afford to drop points as they chase the leaders.
FC Delco has only one conference game under its belt, but on Saturday, will add to the total when it plays the lone game against McLean. Forward Kristen Gatti has carried the attack thus far, and will need to continue to do so as FCD plays its only game in February. Meanwhile, Mclean is looking to improve its conference point total with just 14 through 10 games so far this year.
Freestate Soccer Alliance boasts another team enjoying a strong start to the ECNL slate in its U15 side, winners of its first three game of the year. Goal scorer Paige DeLoach’s five-goal haul from that trio of matches has helped, and FSA can pad its points per game lead in the standings with a win on Saturday against FC Virginia.
Travis Clark is a staff reporter at TopDrawerSoccer.com. Follow him on or send him an email.