The Beautiful West Creek facility in Richmond was the sight of some of the highest leves of youth soccer in the country on Saturday.
There were so much action, great players, coaching advice and college logos, even the most savvy "soccer people" must have had heads spinning trying to take it all in. The field setup at West Creek in particular provides a compact viewing experience, with fields lined up one after the other in symetrical fashion as opposed to spread out over an udulating propery like many similarly large soccer complexes sprouting up around the USA. In short, there's just too much to see for any one person to keep track of. Potomac Soccer Wire was there all weekend to try and make it easier.
Did you or someone you know play at West Creek Saturday? Check out these game summaries (complete with most of the goal scorers) and see if we caught a game of interest.
16 Superior Division
NJ Stallions 3, Team Ohio FC Sparta 0
Early U16 Superior action at West Creek’s had NJ Stallions of New Jersey taking on Team Ohio FC Sparta. The Jersey side controlled most of the play in the early going but was unable to create any dangerous chances. Just as it looked like the Stallions were set to head to halftime without a deserved advantage, Mike Taranto scored to put the New Jersey club up 1-0. It was more of the same after the break, with Team Ohio FC Sparta making a game effort to push forward but finding themselves left with little to show for it. The Stallions played straight through the middle of the park and added a second from forward Sean Etheridge, before Taranto hit his second of the day to give the Stallions their final margin of victory.
U16 Championship Division
Boca United Gold 2, Team Ohio FC Juventus 0
After Team Ohio Juventus’ Miki Huber nearly chipped the keeper for an early lead, Boca United of Florida used a large advantage in possession to dictate most of the play in this U16 Champions match. Roberto Ugalde scored to put the Floridians up a goal at half, and Keenan King consistently broke up play in the middle to prevent the Ohioans from consistently threatening the Boca net. When Team Ohio FC Juventus managed an attack, it was width that served them well. That pressure never amounted to any real chances, however, and Boca United put any question of the result to rest when Christopher Delinois cooley chipped the Ohio keeper from the top of the box. The referee’s whistle brought the game to full time and put a 2-0 Boca United victory in the books.
U17 Elite Division
Elm Grove SC Premier 2, Massapequa Rough Riders 1
The U17 Elite battle between Elm Grove SC Premier of Wisconsin and the Massapequa Rough Riders of New Jersey came down to one team taking their chance and the others leaving several on the field. Massapequa applied most of the early pressure, keeping Elm Grove on their heels and dictating the early pace of place. But it was Elm Grove that broke through, when Joe Naughton and Jack Balistreri combined up the the left side. The sequence end with an easy tap in at the backpost for Elm Grove, a well-worked tally that shifted the balance of play. Massapequa equalized on a penalty conversion by Brian Bartichek, temporarily tying the score, before Elm Grove SC’s Naughton put home the winner.
U16 Superior Division
HBC Raptors 1, PA Classics Elite 0
New York’s HBC Raptors downed PA Classics Elite by a goal in a matchup in the U16 Superior division. For much of the game, neither side could press the advantage, creating an even back-and-forth, physical affair. Few shots resulted and neither keeper was tested for most of the match, with forays into each box at a premium. The breakthrough came from HBC, when the New Yorkers bundled home a corner to take a 1-0 lead. A furious charge by PA Classics had the side with a chance to equalize in the closing minutes, but a series of shots coming from a pinballing corner failed to cross the HBC goalline. The best chance of the bunch was saved off the line by a defender, preserving the shutout and the victory for HBC.
U17 Championship Division
Auburndale Aston Villa Flames 5, Jacksonville Fury 0
Auburndale made their intentions known from the start in this U17 Championship Division match, thumping home a 20 yard shot to take a very early 1-0 lead. That opener set the tone that would carry through the entirety of the match. Though the Fury pushed an attack or two Auburndale’s way, including a first half shot that required a great save from the New York club’s keeper, it was the Floridians that were forced to defend for most of the day. Auburndale’s Jean Pierre Bello hit home two goals before halftime to extend the lead to 3-0. A red card then left the Fury with ten men, and though the resulting penalty was saved, Daniel Bedoya and Angel Garces put home a goal each to complete the 5 goal victory for Auburndale.
U17 Atlantic Soccer League
NEFC Ajax 3, Bethesda Gunners 2
This Atlantic Soccer League match between Massachusetts's NEFC Ajax and the Bethesda Gunners out of Maryland was a enjoyable, see-saw battle that featured a pair of penalties. Bethesda’s stronger passing had them in control to start, though NEFC’s defense dealt well with some sustained early pressure. After taking play to NEFC with nothing to show for it, Bethesda jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first half. NEFC’s response was swift, and they pushed hard for a equalizer. After several chances went begging, the New England side levelled the score though a nice bit of team play up the wing. NEFC’s Aelaf Gizaw gave his side the lead after a deft turn at the top of the box, then extended the lead to 3-1 when he put home a penalty kick. Bethesda earned their own penalty, bringing their deficit to a goal before the whistle ended their chances at a comeback.
U17 Platinum Division
CASL Premier 4, Richmond Strikers 1
CASL 93 opened quickly against the Strikers, putting in two goals in the first five minutes of this U17 Platinum Division match at a wind-swept West Creek. Shots and crosses blew astray in the gusty conditions, though that didn’t prevent a comprehensive victory for the North Carolina team. CASL scored early and didn’t look back, eventually collecting four on the day by utilizing speed on the wings and a nose for goal. The Strikers lone goal came in the dying minutes of the match, when a CASL defender knocked the ball into his own net while under pressure.
U17 Championship Division
Aztecs FC 3, Cobb FC Chiefs 2
Clubs from California and Georgia matched up for an entertaining contrast in styles complete with speed, solid passing, and a stunning winning goal. The Aztecs started the match with most of the ball and the first real chance, but it was Cobb FC that scored the opening tally. A penalty kick slotted home by Matt Moses put the Georgians out in front 1-0 in the first half, before the Californians equalized on a beautiful diving header by Jonathan Martinez. Aztecs FC pushed the tempo, earning a series of corners. After hitting the break in search of a goal, Cobb FC went ahead 2-1 on a header by Kristopher Lowman. Connor Steele’s strong work up the left wing and nifty cross set up the tally. Almost in a blink Aztecs managed to find another, bringing the score level at 2. The Aztecs winner was a beauty, a perfectly taken sharp-angle volley by the number ten, Joshua Warren. The final whistle blew with the score 3-2 for Aztecs FC.
U17 Elite Division
Black Watch Premier Midlothians 1, Fuquay Varina Red 1
As even as the scoreline suggests, this match in the U17 Elite division saw chances, hit posts, and a well-struck rocket from distance for one of the two scores. Fuquay-Varina hit the back of the net first, jumping out to a lead with a goal off a hard low cross. Black Watch brought the score level when Morgan Smith banged home a long range shot that screamed past the outstretched arms of the Fuquay-Varina keeper. The sides when to the break tied at 1. The second half was more of the same back and forth, with neither side taking able to put home the winner. Black Watch had a several near misses, with Fuqay-Varina’s Joseph DeMartin breaking up an attack with a last-ditch tackle, and Noah Rhynhart hitting the post from the top of the box.
U17 Platinum Division
Richmond Kickers Elite 0, McLean MPS Celtic Green 0
In a U17 Platinum battle of Virginia, McLean MPS Celtic Green faced off against the Richmond Kickers. The match had plenty of hustle, but provided no goals. Celtic had the better of things in the first half, creating a handful of chances and putting several shots on frame. Celtic had a claim for a penalty in the first half after a player was taken down on the endline and what appeared to be several yards inside the penalty area. Though the assistant referee called the foul in question, the referee pointed on a spot just outside the area. The Northern Virginia side’s best chance might have come from a restart after an inadvertent back pass by the Kickers, but the resulting indirect kick was blocked. The Kickers struggled to create any chances, but used the wings to some effectiveness. However, with crosses lacking in quality, McLean Celtic handled much of it easily. A final flurry ended with another Celtic shot on frame, saved relatively easily by the Kickers' keeper.