Boys soccer teams from all across the globe converged on the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex to kick off another Disney Soccer Showcase. The rain subsided from yesterday and gave way to a beautiful day for soccer in the four-day long tournament.
Houstonians FC 2001 U15 (TX) 1-0 Baltimore Celtic Dynasty U15 (MD)
After suffering a red card in the early minutes of the tournament opener, Houstonians FC stayed on its toes for the remainder of the match as it needed just one tally to defeat No. 6 Baltimore Celtic Dynasty 1-0.
While Celtic controlled much of the match, and the Houstonians often sought for goal instead of stringing together passes, Houstonians midfielder Alexis Alfaro was the only man to find the back of the net.
“You come to a tournament obviously you want to establish yourself in the first game, so a very important win right away,” Houstonians head coach Noe Bastidas said. “We had a fortunate bounce on the [goal] play, and oftentimes futbol is about kind of luck and taking advantage of the opportunity, so we did.”
Setting up the goal in the 38th minute was teammate Kevin Rios Hernandez, who put the ball on target from a tough goal-line angle on the right side. Celtic goalkeeper Raffaele Mannarelli couldn’t quite handle the original shot and Alfaro got a foot on the ball before it trickled over the goal line.
A minute later, Celtic defender Andrew Privett was given a free kick from just outside the top of the box. Privett bent the ball around a two-man wall and banked it off the crossbar, almost evening the tilt.
The second half would consist of Baltimore controlling the majority of possession while the Houstonians cleared it long when it could to make up for being down a man.
“We really had to hold on that second half,” Bastidas said. “We would have liked to have played better possession soccer, maybe make the team work a little harder, but at the end of the day we just had to hold on.”
Baltimore got two high-quality chances late in the game but couldn’t manage to put either on net. The first was a head ball opportunity from Privett off a set piece by Reese Mayer, and the second was a one-timed laser shot off the foot of Theodore Ndje.
McLean Youth Soccer Hotspur Green U15 (VA) 3-0 Lou Fusz SC Geerling U15 (MO)
The No. 1 team in TopDrawerSoccer’s U15 Top 25 Club Soccer Team Rankings, McLean Hotspur struck in the seventh minute and never looked back as they defeated No. 9 Lou Fusz, 3-0, in each team’s first match of the showcase.
“I thought the boys played an OK game, but our finishing was on today, and that was really the difference between us and them,” Hotspur head coach Jamil Walker said. “It’s a good confidence builder, but there’s a lot of work to be done because every team here is pretty much in it.”
William Blake found the back of the net off of a perfect pass from Yassine Elkahloun from the left side of the net. Elkahloun played a head ball to the feet of Blake, who tapped the ball in before the Lou Fusz keeper Mitchell Ohler collided with him.
Dean Hughes got on the board in the 53rd minute on a rebound. Eric Eichler booted a ball low to the left side that was saved by a diving Ohler, but the ball slipped free from his hands and Hughes knocked in the loose ball.
Michael Reyes got the final tally for Hotspur when he sent a scorcher from point blank past the goalkeeper to the bottom left.
Lou Fusz’s only quality chance came off the foot of Grant Powell, who received a set piece from Bradley Fritsche, made a touch in the box and put the ball off the inside of the crossbar before it banked the right post and went back into play.
CASL 98 Red U17 (NC) 1-1 Massapequa SC Mavericks U17 (NY)
Massapequa SC showed it may have been the better team on Sunday afternoon, but they relaxed just a shade after scoring in the 67th minute, eventually allowing CASL to put a tally on the board under a minute later.
“You’re most vulnerable when you just scored,” Mavericks assistant coach Shaun Foster said. “Coming off the plane yesterday, I think maybe a little bit of fatigue set in. Overall, I think we probably had the better chances. Take nothing away from them, they’re a very good team and will win games down here.”
The Mavericks controlled the ball almost the entire first half, allowing CASL to gain possession in the attacking end just a few times in the first 45 minutes of the game. But chance after chance for the Mavericks kept sailing high or wide.
Matthew Vowinkel put the Mavericks on the board in the 67th minute with a highlight-reel goal off the back of his foot. Teammate Storm Strongin played a corner kick into the box about waist high and Vowinkel turned around and kicked the ball in from behind him.
Less than a minute later, CASL forward Parker Washburn found himself alone in the box and headed the ball in after the Mavericks keeper deflected his initial shot.
Beach FC 00 Red U15 (VA) 2-1 Cleveland United SC 00-01 White U15 (OH)
Beach FC came to the Sunshine State in search of a victory and got just that. Beach let up the first goal of the game but turned on the gas as it cruised to a 2-1 victory.
Beach’s first-half goalkeeper, Jaron Berry, who converted into a forward for the second half was by far the star of the game. Berry let up a goal while in net but went on to score the eventual game winner in the just a minute into the second half.
“He’s a very athletic kid, he’s got good feet, he’s definitely worked on improving on his technical skills and he’s playing out and scoring a decent amount of goals,” Beach head coach Kevon Harris said.
Cleveland’s Gavin Velazquez opened the scoring in the 24th minute after receiving a perfect pass from Luke Griffiths. Velazquez put a left-footed shot into the bottom left of the net, but that was where the chances would ultimately end for Cleveland.
Jalen Hollins got Beach on the board 10 minutes later when he found open space in the box and tucked the ball past the Cleveland keeper to the bottom left.
Velazquez almost tied the game in the dying seconds but clanked the ball directly off the right post.