ECNL National Event Preview: ECNL TX

by J.R. Eskilson
February 11, 2021

UPDATE (Feb. 11): ECNL announced on Thursday that the event in Houston is canceled due to weather. 

 

The ECNL National Event in Houston kicks off on Saturday. This is the fourth event of the club season, and a number of the national championship favorites are in action from the U18/19 age group all the way down to the U15 age group. 

This is also the last event of the season that includes U18/19 teams. With the remarkable rise in players graduating from high school early and enrolling during the spring at the college level, the change in the dynamic of the U18/19 teams from the fall to the spring is noteworthy. This event is the last time for some of those 2022 graduates to get quality game film during this club season before the playoffs. 

The other age groups showcase plenty of exciting players including a number of the players recently named to the U.S. U17 Women’s National Team Player Pool. All three days will feature some of the best club soccer at each age group. 

Check back to TopDrawerSoccer throughout the weekend for daily recaps and standouts.  

U18/19 

The event kicks off with a hot start on Saturday as the No. 1 team in the Champions League standings, Solar (10-0-0), takes on the No. 4 team in the Champions League standings, Crossfire United (4-0), at 1:50 pm. Crossfire United has only conceded one goal through the early stage of the season, which will certainly be tested against the potent Solar attack that has already eclipsed 100 goals scored for the season. Solar also takes on Michigan Hawks and Tennessee SC during the three-day event. Crossfire United faces Indiana Fire and Sting Dallas Black. 

U17 

Real Colorado National against Solar SC on the opening day feels like the dessert being served before the appetizer, but the fixture is probably good enough to deliver all three courses. Real Colorado is 5-0 in conference play and has a roster full of youth national team talent. Solar SC dropped out of the top spot in the Champions League standings following a draw against Classics Elite, but responded with a dominant performance during the ECNL event in Florida.

FC Dallas against United Futbol Academy is nothing to look over either from the opening day. FC Dallas went 2-1 during the ECNL event in Florida last month, which included the first loss of the season for the team - an 0-1 result to Richmond United. Back in Texas, FC Dallas will be hoping for a 3-0 weekend. United Futbol Academy is a tough opening test. The Georgia club has only lost two games this season - both to Concorde Fire Platinum. UFA is playing good soccer right now, and could be prime for a big weekend in Texas with easily the most difficult schedule of any team in Houston. UFA has games against FC Dallas, Solar, and Real Colorado National during the three-day event. Depth and defense will be tested with that type of schedule. 

Minnesota Thunder opens up the event against DKSC. Thunder are still in the early stages of the season, and looking to make a mark at this event. With games against DKSC, Crossfire United, and Solar, the squad will definitely be tested. 

U16 

This might feel like Groundhog Day, but it’s not. Real Colorado National is facing off against Solar SC in the U16 age group, and it’s another must-see game. While some could argue that Solar SC is the favorite in the U17 matchup, most would argue that Real Colorado National is the favorite in the U16 age group. Real Colorado National has a perfect record in ECNL games this season - including games during National Events. The team only got stronger recently with the addition of U.S. U17 Women’s National Team Player Pool member Jasmine Aikey to the roster. Real Colorado had nine players called into the U17 WNT and there are a few more on the roster who probably should be there too - this roster is loaded. The game against Solar will be a good test. Real Colorado National also faces FC Dallas and GSA during the three-day event in Houston. 

SLSG-Navy is another team to watch in the U16 age group. They went 0-3 during the last event in Florida. They will be hoping to bounce back in Houston with games against FC Dallas, Solar, and Portland Thorns. 

U15 

It’s been a long time since Colorado Rapids played an ECNL game, but the team leading the way in the Champions League standings in the U15 age group hits the field on Saturday with a goal against Sting Dallas Black. Rapids also take on Tampa Bay United Rowdies and Solar SC during the three-day event. 

This video is powered by the Trace camera system, which uses a robot camera, GPS sensors, and powerful software to film soccer games and create moments for every player. Learn more: https://traceup.com/

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