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July 27, 2012
Group play concludes

ROCK HILL, S.C. Ė Round robin play ended on Friday at the US Youth Soccer National Championships.

National champions will be crowned over the weekend in the Under-14 through Under-19 Boys and Girls age groups beginning on Saturday evening with the Under-14 and Under-15 Boys and Girls. The remaining age groups will play Sunday morning at Manchester Meadows, in Rock Hill, S.C.

A few highlights from Friday's matches...

U-15 Boys
Challenger Crew Jrs. Black (OH-N) held off 2011 finalist Chicago Magic 2-1 to advance to the Under-15 Boys championship game. Justin Nadzan put Challenger in the lead just before halftime and Trevor Colazzo added a second just after the break for a 2-0 lead. Magic pulled one back to make it a frantic finish from Daniel Giraldo in the 73 rd , but it wasnít enough as Challenger will have a chance to avenge and opening day loss to defending champs Fullerton Rangers in the final.

U-16 Boys
Michigan Jaguars 96 Green are back in the title game for the second straight year after defeating National League foe Scottsdale 96 Blackhawks (AZ) 3-2. Jason Carmack put Jags on the board in the 14th minute and Luai Fakhoury made it a two goal lead before the break. The Blackhawks responded just after halftime through Adam Mosharrafa to cut the lead, but Travis Hamers restored the two goal lead for Jags in the 62nd . Blackhawks wouldn't let down as the cut the lead again from Sam Gleadle in stoppage time, but it wasn't enough as Michigan Jaguars finish 3-0 en route to the final.

CESA 95 Premier (SC) overcame a two goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Lehigh Valley United 95 (E-PA) and will move on to play for the National Championship as the rest of the results fell in their favor to move them into second place in the group. Colby Thomas scored in the 1st and 27th minutes for LVU as it looked like they might move on, but Austin Rackley pulled one back in the 62nd and Esteban Alvarado equalized two minutes later for CESA to send them into Sundayís final.

GSA 96 Phoenix Red (GA) was playing for a spot in the final, but couldnít complete a great start to the game as they fell to Arsenal FC Lucey (CA-S) 3-2. Brahan Gamarra struck just three minutes in for GSA, but Arsenal responded to take the lead before halftime with two goals in two minutes, starting with Jose Nuno in the 27rd and then Eduardo Martinez in the 29 th . GSA equalized in the 54th from Ricardo Gomez, but Alejandro Gomez struck the winner for Arsenal in the 79th for Arsenal.

U-17 Boys
National League runner-up Raiders FC Premier (IL) were in control of their own destiny and they came through with a 3-0 victory over Solar Chelsea 95 (N-TX) to play for the National Championship. Raiders wasted no time showing their desire to play for the championship as Alexic Monteon netted just nine minutes after the opening whistle and Jose Jaboy doubled the lead in the 16th . The Raiders defense held strong the remainder of the match and Ryan Schwarz capped off the scoring in the 85th to move on to the final.

National League champion Galaxy 94/95 Blue (IL) also controlled their own destiny and they made an emphatic statement, eliminating fellow National League side Beadling SC 94/95 (PA-W) and advancing to the final with a 3-0 victory. Patrick Flynn scored the game winner in the 16th minute before Colin Donnally doubled the lead two minutes later. The lead stood until the 88th when Howard Beatty struck for a third to set up and all-National League, all-Illinois final in the U-17 Boys.

Eastside FC 94 (WA) did all they could with a 3-0 win over Sereno 95 White (AZ), but the National League Red division champion didnít get the help they needed as they finish third in the group and just outside the National final for a second straight year. Stanford commit Jordan Morris opened the scoring in the 2th minute and Jordan Thompson recorded a brace with 28th and 83rd minute goals as Eastside fall just short of the title game.
U-14 Girls
The youngest age group at the National Championships entered play on day three with every team still in contention for the title game. Needing to do the most work to advance to the final, MSC Coyotes (MD) Julia Abbott put her team on the board with a goal in the 12th minute against Ambassadors FC (OH-N). In the 62 nd minute, Clare Severe doubled the lead and Paula Germino-Watnick sealed the win in the 70 th . The three points put MSC and Ambassadors even on points, but Coyotes advanced on the head-to-head tie breaker.

TNFC (TN) entered Friday’s game needing only a tie to advance to the final, while Beach FC 97 (CA-S) needed a win to move on. Beach FC certainly played the more attacking role on the day, leaving four players up top towards the end of the game seeking a goal. That goal would never come, and TNFC advanced to the national final on the 0-0 draw.

U-15 Girls
Needing a win and some help to advance, MVLA Mercury Black (CA-N) did its part with a 3-2 win over CRUSA/FC Buck Fury (E-PA). Erica Higgs struck first for MVLA in just the 3 rd minute, but the lead didnít last long as Fury leveled on a strike by Dakota Mills in the 15 th . Michelle Maemone put MVLA back on top in the 24th . Coming out of halftime up 2-1, Marissa Hing added an insurance goal for MVLA in the 43nd minute. That goal proved vital as Fury's Michaela Finneyfrock would find the net just four minutes later. MVLA secured the 3-2 win, but didn’t receive the help it needed to advance to the title game.

National League division champ Legends FC (CA-S) earned a 1-0 win over Internationals 96 Red (OH-N) today. Coming into Friday matches, either team could advance to the title game with a win, and Legends FCís Angela Mitchell was the difference on the day, as her 56th minute goal secured the victory. Legends FC will have two chances to raise a trophy, as the U-17 team also advanced to the final.

Fellow National League representative Kings Soccer Academy (OH-S) fell behind early to Sting 97 (N-TX) and needed late heroics to win and advance to Saturday. Kathleen Summers put Sting ahead in just the third minute of the game. That lead held until Lauren Nemeroff leveled for KSA in the 51st minute. Desperate to net another, Nemeroff again proved dangerous down the wing, beating the keeper, but had her chance tackled away at the last second by a recovering Sting defender. That tackle fell directly to Bayley Feist who calmly knocked it in for KSA and sent her team to the championship game.

U-17 Girls

Team Chicago Academy Botafogo (IL) entered Fridayís game against Legends Breakaway (CA-S) with a chance to advance to the final with a win. Breakaway looked to spoil that chance with a Kylie Sincox (San Diego) goal in the 53 rd minute. Just five minutes Zoey Goralski (UCLA) leveled for Team Chicago. With less than five minutes to play, Breakaway Karsten Sigband lifted Breakaway to its first win of the week with a strike in the 86th minute for the 2-1 victory.

VSA Heat Blue (VA) earned its third win in as many days with a 3-0 victory over CESA 94 Premier (SC). VSA started the scoring in the 51 st minute with a Caitlin Hite (East Carolina) goal. Vanessa Kovar (South Carolina) extended the lead in the 73 rd and Christina Corbin (Coastal Carolina) added another in stoppage time. Just as impressive as the eight goals VSA has scored this week; the squad has yet to concede a goal-recording three shutouts.

VSA's opponent on Sunday will be Legends FC 94 (CA-S) who advanced thanks to a 0-0 draw with Central Valley Chilipeppers (CA-N). Needing a positive result to advance, Legends FC played a sound tactical game and accomplished what was needed to compete for the national title. The game Sunday will be a rematch of the 0-0 draw between VSA and Legends FC in the US Youth Soccer National League season.

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