RICHMOND, Va. – Only cloudy and gray skies hung over SportsQuest Complex on the first day of Jefferson Cup action following torrential downpours the night before. It was the third year in a row heavy rains preceded Jefferson Cup boys action, but with 25 synthetic turf fields available to organizers, Richmond Strikers, only needed some pre-planned re-scheduling to get Friday's showcase age groups started on track.
With good weather expected the next two days, all fields are expected to be open Saturday, with only a few delayed starts at Bryan Park. Moderate winds are expected tomorrow, and while less than ideal for soccer, the warm temperatures ushered in by the winds should dry whatever excess moisture may be lingering Saturday.
Most of the action today was held on 12 synthetic fields at SportsQuest, the new multi-million dollar, multi-sport venue only partially completed, but with enormous plans. The Strikers rent the SportsQuest facility for tournaments, but they own the other venue where games took place today - Striker Park.
Potomac Soccer Wire dispatched reporters to both sites today. You can follow all of our coverage throughout the next two weekends at http://www.potomacsoccerwire.com/news/458/15558 or follow @jeffersoncup on Twitter.
Here’s a look at some of the day’s biggest matchups at SportsQuest:
U-17: LDC United CAPA 4, FC Frederick 0
In an Atlantic Soccer League matchup, a decent performance from FC Frederick was unseated by numerous mistakes on defense, gifting a couple of easy goals to LDC United, as the PA club scored four times in a comprehensive win.
U-17: PWSI Courage 4, Triangle FC Navy 0
[Video: Ken Krieger Post Game Interview]
After building a two-goal lead in the first half the Manassas club had no problem cruising to a win in Atlantic Soccer League play Friday afternoon. Josh Campbell put in a strong performance for PWSI, as the Courage was strong on both sides of the ball. A Triangle FC free kick rattled the bar in the second half, but the Courage offense proved to be too much for their opponents to handle.
“I thought the game was very well played on both sides,” head coach Ken Krieger said. “We pushed the ball around pretty well, scored some nice goals.”
U-17: YMS Internazionale 2, South Jersey Elite Barons 2
A testy and physical affair, YMS started off as the better side, and accentuated that dominance with a first half goal. South Jersey mounted a second half fight back, grabbing an early equalizer. Forward Nick Giordano almost gave them the lead soon thereafter, hitting the post when put in behind on goal.
Eventually, South Jersey took the lead thanks a penalty. However, the Barons defense couldn’t clamp down and a late YMS equalizer came through a controversial penalty with just under five minutes to play. Tim Sost of the Barons came close to winning it for the Barons right before the final whistle, but sent his chance high and wide.
U-16: Empire United SA Boys 2, Toms River Elite Strikers 1
A spry and entertaining match from two of the younger mid-Atlantic teams on display Empire United needed a late goal to earn a dramatic win. It was a deserving result in the end, as Toms River only managed to score when an Empire United defender headed the ball into his own net off a corner.
U-17: South Jersey Elite Barons 1, Triangle Futbol TFC Navy 0
While the Elite Barons were the better of the two teams over the course of 90 minutes, they only managed to produce a single goal. However, they had enough defensive organization and held shape to preserve the shutout and the victory in this ASL showcase matchup.
U-16: Freestate Red Devils 3, YMS Celtic 1
The final score line of this matchup was a fairly accurate of the way things played out over the course of the game. The young midfielders of Freestate Red Devils were calm and comfortable on the ball, bossing possession and the run of play.
With plenty of time, they were able to pick out forwards with through balls, jumping out to a comfortable 3-0 lead. YMS Celtic scored late in the second half, though it was simply consolation given the time remaining and the score.
U-16: Boca United 3, Carmel United Elite 0
The matchup of the day, two high profile Under 16 programs clashed at SportsQuest providing very entertaining fair. Boca United, a youth team from Florida, player a technically strong game, holding the ball well in tight spaces and playing one-two soccer at a level beyond their nears.
They punished their foes, Indiana’s Carmel United, for their profligacy. After Boca opened the scoring off a corner, Carmel’s stable of forwards repeatedly beat the offside trap set by Boca, only to miss chance after chance. Two second half goals put the result away for the Florida club by the final whistle.
Tempers flared to an extent, and three Carmel players finished the game with yellow cards, frustrated by their poor performance compounded by the flair of Boca.