Article Written by Chris Girandola
Published: December 30, 2016
ORLANDO -- Group action of the Disney Showcase came to a close Thursday at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex as teams staked their positions for the playoff bracket. It was another warm, sunny day in Florida as teams took full advantage of the temperate weather before a cold front moves in on Friday.
SOLAR CHELSEA SC (TX) 4, CHARGERS SC (FL) 0 (U14)
Bailey Sparks scored twice as Solar Chelsea SC won its second straight game in as many days with a 4-0 victory over Chargers SC. Solar Chelsea sits alone in first place in the eight-team bracket which concludes group play and postseason action on Friday.
"It was surprisingly a tight game throughout the match but we were able to wear them down and make it an easier contest in the second half," Solar Chelsea coach Diego Castro said. "The key was possessing the ball and making (Chargers SC) work for it by moving the ball quickly in the attacking third."
Nico Nee and Ryan Henry also scored for Solar Chelsea. Cavitt Bruhn played keeper in the first half and compiled four saves while Jackson Leavitt took over in the second, finishing with five saves.
Both teams battled throughout the first portion of the game without either scoring a goal until Jackson Castro
was taken down in the box just after the 30th minute to set up a penalty kick. Nee easily converted the free kick with a placement into the upper right portion of the net.
After holding a 1-0 lead at halftime, Solar Chelsea increased the intensity in the second half and forced the action. Sparks scored 10 minutes into the half when he headed in a pass off a direct kick taken by Castro.
Sparks was the recipient of a perfectly placed through ball by Castro shortly thereafter and scored on a one-on-one play with the opposing keeper to put Solar Chelsea ahead 3-0.
Solar Chelsea plays Charlotte SA (NC) Friday to determine the final standings of the group before the playoff action begins for the U14 group.
CONCORDE FIRE CENTRAL ELITE 1, UNITED SA/MOUNT PLEASANT 01 PREMIER 0 (U16)
Concorde Fire secured the top spot in its bracket when it beat United Mount Pleasant in an exciting 1-0 victory. Concorde Fire, which finished with six points in the group, will play CASL 01 Red, which finished with nine points in its group, on Friday in the U16 playoffs.
Casey Torres scored for Concorde and finished group play with three goals. Ozzie Williams and Chris Smith each played a half in goal as the two combined to make nine saves.
Torres put Concorde on the board late in the first half when he headed in a ball assisted by Simon Ben-Moshe after Ben-Moshe flicked along a long direct kick from the team's own end.
DALLAS TEXANS 99 RED 2, ALPHARETTA AMBUSH 99/00 RED 0 (U18)
Wyatt Priest scored twice to lead the Dallas Texans to a 2-0 win over Alpharetta Ambush and advance to Friday's final after winning the bracket with a 3-0 record. Priest finished group play with four goals.
"Wyatt has been impressive all three games and he demonstrated his finishing ability today," Texans coach Clint Craft said.
Craft also noted the importance of George Ackling, the Texans' center midfielder, for his importance in setting up Priest on his goals and for stabilizing the defense after the Texans took the lead.
, who played goalie in the first half, and Brenson Dunn
, who played keeper in the second half, combined to make seven saves to give the Texans its first shutout of the event.
The Texans will face Concorde Fire Elite 99 (GA) in Friday's final.
NASA TopHat Nth NASA 98 Elite (GA) 5, Michigan Jaguars Green 98 (MI) 0 (U19)
NASA TopHat cruised to another easy victory with a 5-0 rout of Michigan Jaguars to finish first in the group with a 3-0 record. TopHat scored 12 goals and allowed three over three contests.
"We make it a mission every match to possess the ball as much as possible and when we do that, we make the game easier," TopHat coach Dan Pietro said. "We've done a remarkable job in creating opportunities for a plethora of players in this tournament."
Rylan Lavery scored in Thursday's victory and finished group play with four goals for the tournament. Evan Hall had three assists and scored once while Cody Lawson, Logan Llano, and Ansel Lerner also scored.
TopHat will play Florida Rush 98 in Friday's final.