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USYS Nationals present quirky formats

Published: July 23, 2010

Day 2 Results | Day 1 Results

(Scroll Down for Full Results and Age Group Standing)

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS – With two of three group stage matches complete at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships, some issues with the format of this prestigious event come to light, as they do every year.

The issue with the four-team draw is that with a round robin schedule, every year you get two teams who win their first two matches then play a third game against one another that means absolutely nothing because they are going to play each other again in the final, a day or two later.

In that case, it’s hard to come up with an alternative unless you just played single elimination and nobody seems to want that. The example this year is U18 Girls, where Eclipse Select and Laguna Hills Eclipse are both at 6 points while the other two competitors have 0, with one match left. A similar situation exists in U15 Girls, albeit in a 6-team group, where Scorpions and Dallas Sting have already qualified to meet each other in Saturday’s final and are set to play Friday.

In the case of the six-team age groups (U15, U16 and U17), there is a much more objectionable format. Teams are drawn against 3 of the other 5 teams in their age group, and after the smoke clears, the two teams with the most points play in the final. Obviously one team can have a distinct advantage over another based on who it plays, or more often who it doesn’t play.

It would be much simpler and fairer to have 2, 3-team groups and then have teams play each of the 3 teams in the other group. That way each team competing for the spots in the final will have the same set of opponents.

A better overall solution is to go to 8 teams. This is a nice enough anyway and with each region having a regional league, you could easily get 8 qualified participants (or you could just take four from an expanded national league).

The other unfortunate formatting issue is that goals allowed outranks goals scored in the tiebreaking order. This is done at recreational events to prevent one team from trying to score too many goals in a match, but at this level, it’s better to reward the teams who play attacking soccer than those who bunker in and try to stifle goal-scoring. There’s a few scenarios in this year’s event where we might be seeing this on Friday.

These criticisms come in the context of an excellent effort by U.S. Youth Soccer and a host of Kansas City-based volunteers to make this event a great experience for the young men and women. The Overland Park Soccer Complex is immaculate and accommodating, a ton of people are giving of their time to help the organization staff make sure everything runs right, and there’s no taking away from that spirit of selflessness.

But for the teams making it this far in the national tournament, it’s regrettable how things can come down to matters outside of their control, like a random schedule draw.

usys national championship boys club soccer youth soccer
U14 Girls: SAC United 2, Michigan Hawks 1
Shannon Cirovski’s Maryland side persevered in a well-played contest to keep its championship game hopes alive.

Hawks went up early on a set piece goal. Alex Lowes flew in a corner kick that Jamie Cheslik deftly flicked on Allyson Haran finished for a 1-0 lead. SAC pressured the Hawks’ goal quite a bit for the remainder of the 1st half, but Michigan goalkeeper Haley Keefer played a strong game between the sticks despite picking up an injury in the 1st half.

SAC continued to push forward in the 2nd half, but the Michigan back line of Reema Bzeih, Rachel Winters, Allyson Haran and Tiffany Buckler held fast in front of Keefer. SAC goalkeeper Megan Hinz also made some clutch saves on her end.

SAC managed to get an equalizer off a set piece. Karli Cirovski sent in a corner kick and Madalena Boccio, excellent all day in midfield, headed home to make it 1-1. Keefer came up big a couple more times in the Michigan goal, but SAC scored a late winner when Sheridan Street played a ball for Imani Dorsey who made a breathtaking run down the right, past the entire Hawks’ back line and then finished 1v1 to provide her team with the 2-1 win.

The result sets up a Friday showdown between SAC United and MVLA Lightning.

U18 Girls: Eclipse Select 1, McLean Dragons 0
Defending national champions Eclipse booked their spot in the title game vs. their Southern California namesakes Laguna Hills with a workmanlike win over a depleted Northern Virginia side.

Natalia Jovanovic scored the game’s only goal in the 33rd minute, converting a setup from Eclipse midfield standout Vanessa Laxgang. Mclean had a few chances to score during the match, getting good play from Briana Hovington, Torri Allen, Andrea Romness and Samantha Kuykendall, but for every scoring chance they mustered, Eclipse goalkeeper Erin Dees proved to be a stone wall with good positioning and very safe hands.

Late in the match especially, the Eclipse back line of Kecia Morway, Chelsea Grant, Alexandra Heller and Katie Uyenishi, with Samantha Scofield providing support from a deep defensive midfield spot, kept Dees relatively untested and the lead safe.

Mclean goalkeeper Dijana Haracic also made some good saves in goal for her team, which was missing a handful of starters due to injury, college and national team commitments.

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U15 Boys: Baltimore Bays 5, Mt. Hamilton Tigres 2

Brandon Quaranta’s Maryland side put on an impressive performance to book its place in Saturday’s championship match.

A great and persistent effort on the right from Christian Porras, in which he skinned a pair of defenders before playing the ball to fast striker Jeremy Degraffenreidt, led the first goall, which Degraffenreidt scored. The Northern Californians tied the score soon afterward however on a terrific 25-yard strike from Cesar Garcia.

Bays went up 2-1 on a corner, with Christopher White heading home the cross by Christian Morales. Bays scored again minutes later after Jonathan Barron earned a penalty with some skillful 1v1 work. Barron’s spot kick was saved by Mt. Hamilton goalkeeper Derek Carver, but the rebound was knocked home by Morales for a 3-1 halftime score.

Morales both set p and scored the next goal. He drew a free kick 40 yards out, then met James O’Connor’s long serve with a clever, redirecting header to make it 4-1. Romilio Hernandez made it 5-1 with a 25-yard bomb.

The match slowed down considerably from that point, but Edson Cardona scored a consolation goal for Mt. Hamilton for a final 5-2 scoreline. Bays are in the final but Mt. Hamilton need a win Friday and help with the other two results to set up a rematch.

Thursday Results and Age Group Standings

U14 Boys
Eclipse Select 0, Lonestar SC 0
Crossfire Premier 4, Lehigh Valley United 0

Team – Matches Played - Points
Crossfire Premier – 2 – 6
Eclipse Select – 2 – 4
Lonestar SC – 2 - 1
Lehigh Valley United – 2 - 0

U14 Girls
Dallas Sting 1, MVLA Lightning  0
SAC United 2, Michigan Hawks 1

Team – Matches Played - Points
Dallas Sting SC – 2- 6
MVLA Lightning – 2-3
SAC United – 2 - 3
Michigan Hawks  - 2 - 0

U15 Boys
Baltimore Bays 5, Mt. Hamilton Tigres 2
Albion White 0, Vardar 0
Lemont Raiders 1, Concorde Fire 0

Team – Matches Played - Points
Baltimore Bays – 2 – 6
Lemont Raiders – 2 – 4
Vardar – 2 – 2
Albion White – 2 – 2
Mt. Hamilton Tigres – 2 – 1
Concorde Fire Elite – 2 - 1

U15 Girls
Beadling SC 1, Dallas Texans 1
Dallas Sting 7, Real Colorado 0
Scorpions 2, JB Marine Wipke 0

Team – Matches Played - Points
Scorpions – 2 – 6
Dallas Sting – 2 - 6
JB Marine – 2 – 1
Real Colorado – 2 -1
Dallas Texans – 2 -1
Beadling SC – 2 – 1

U16 Boys
RSL Florida 2, Grand Rapids Crew 2
Waza FC 3, Phladelphia SC Coppa 0
Slammers 2, Blast FC 0

Team – Matches Played - Points
Slammers – 2 – 6
RSL Florida 2 – 4
Grand Rapids Crew – 2 -4
WAZA FC – 2 - 3
PSC Coppa – 2 – 0
Blast FC – 2 - 0

U16 Girls
Solar Red 1, Colorado Rush 0
Mclean Strikers 1, NASA Elite 0
Naperville Fury 1, Minnesota Thunder 1

Team – Matches Played - Points
Solar Red – 2 – 6
Mclean Strikers – 2 – 4
Colorado Rush – 2 – 3
Naperville Fury – 2 – 2
Minnesota Thunder – 2 - 2
NASA Elite – 2 – 1

U17 Boys
Alpharetta Ambush 4, St. Louis Scott Gallagher 0
Penn Fusion 4, Hicksville Strikers 2
West Coast FC 3, GSA Phoenix 3

Team – Matches Played - Points
Alpharetta Ambush – 2 – 6
GSA Phoenix – 2 – 4
St. Louis Scott Gallagher – 2 – 3
Penn Fusion – 2 – 3
West Coast FC – 2 – 1
Hicksville Strikers – 2 – 0

U17 Girls
So Cal Blues 1, Real So Cal 0
Syosset Sting 2, D’Feeters 1
Michigan Hawks 3, Slammers 2

Team – Matches Played - Points
So Cal Blues – 2 – 6
Syosset Sting – 2 – 6
D’Feeters – 2 – 3
Michigan Hawks – 2 – 3
Real So Cal – 2 – 0
Slammers – 2 – 0

U18 Boys
Eastside United 3, Triangle United 1
YMS Xplosion 3, Shattuck-St. Marys 1

Team – Matches Played - Points
YMS Xplosion – 2 – 6
Shattuck St. Marys – 2 – 3
EastSide United – 2 – 3
Triangle United – 2 – 0

U18 Girls
Eclipse Select 1, Mclean Dragons 0
Laguna Hills Eclipse 5, AFC Lightning 1

Team – Matches Played - Points
Laguna Hills Eclipse – 2 – 6
Eclipse Select – 2 – 6
AFC Lightning – 2 – 0
McLean Dragons – 2 – 0

U19 Boys
Crew Juniors 4, Westside Metros Internationals 2
FC DELCO Hammerheads 1, Andromeda Navy 0

Team – Matches Played - Points
FC DELCO Hammerheads – 2 – 6
Crew Juniors 2 – 4
Andromeda Navy – 2 – 1
Westside Metros Internationals – 2 - 0

U19 Girls
Eclipse Select 2, Lonestar SC 0
FC Bucks Vipers 5, Alameda County Northstars 1

Team – Matches Played - Points
Eclipse Select – 2 – 6
Lonestar SC – 2 - 3
FC Bucks Vipers 3 – 2 – 3
Alameda County Northstars 2 - 0

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