LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – With spots in the championship matches on the line, teams went on the offensive Thursday at the Disney Soccer Showcase, and the results were staggering.
In the 32 Showcase matches Thursday, the 64 teams combined for 107 goals – an average of 3.3 goals per contests. No game was more bizarre than the under-18/19 match between defending U.S. Youth Soccer national champion Grand Rapids Crew Juniors (Mich.) and Annandale United (Va.), which ended 6-5 in favor of the Michigan champs. The first three goals of the match were scored in a matter of minutes in the first half and neither team let up until the final whistle.
Perhaps the most dramatic group finish was in the under-16 age group where West Pines United (Fla.), Dallas Texans (Texas) and Bethesda SC Revolution (Md.) each went 2-1 in group play and ended with identical goal differentials. Additional rounds of tiebreaker procedures left West Pines as the group champion.
The following are highlights from Thursday’s action at the Disney Soccer Showcase:
Showcase Red: Chicago Magic Disney PSG (Ill.) held on to a 1-0 victory over FC Blazers (Mass.) that secured first place for the Illinois program and avoided a three-way tie for first had that match ended in a draw. Instead, Chicago Magic advances to face a high-powered offensive team in Milan FC Rossoneri (Calif.) for the championship. Concorde Fire (Ga.) and SAA Real Madrid (Fla.) will play for third.
Showcase Black: FC America (Fla.) scored a dramatic late goal by Alex Norris to salvage a 2-2 draw with Gwinnett SA (Ga.) to secure the Bracket B title. FC America will face Chicago Fire Academy (Ill.), which won the Bracket A title with a 4-1 thrashing of CASL 96 Elite (N.C.). Smithtown Kickers (N.Y.) will face Upper Freehold (N.J.) for third place.
Showcase Red: OBGC Rangers (Md.), with rising youth star Gedion Zelalem, completed a sweep of its bracket with a 1-0 win over Scottsdale Blackhawks (Ariz.). OBGC Rangers will face Concorde Fire Elite (Ga.) in the final. The Maryland team almost had a rematch of the US Youth Soccer Region I final against SDFC Gauchos (N.J.), but the team was upset by Penn Fusion (Pa.) then lost the tiebreaker to Concorde Fire. SDFC Gauchos will play for third place against Parkland Predators (Fla.).
Showcase Black: A scoreless tie was enough for Lehigh Valley United (Pa.) to clinch first place over CUP Crew Juniors (Ohio). CUP Crew Juniors needed a win to unseat Lehigh Valley from first place. Lehigh Valley will face West Pines United (Fla.) for the title after West Pines won the tiebreaker in a three-way tie for first in Bracket B. West Pines, Dallas Texans (Texas) and Bethesda SC Revolution (Md.) each went 2-1. The Texans secured the second spot and a third-place match with CUP Crew Juniors.
Showcase Red: Team Boca White (Fla.) defeated Manhattan SC Ajax (N.Y.) 2-1 to complete a 3-0 run through Bracket A. In the final, Team Boca will face another squad from New York in Northport Cow Harbor (N.Y.). Northport secured its place in the final with a 2-0 win over Tampa Bay United (Fla.). Manhattan SC and Albion Hurricanes (Calif.) will meet for third place.
Showcase Black: Raiders SC (Ill.) clinched its place in the final with a 2-1 win over Palo Alto SC Blue (Calif.). The Illinois team will face Harleysville FC Premier (Pa.) in the championship match. Florida Rush Nike (Fla.) and Pachuca Dragons (Md.) will play for third place.
Showcase Red: Florida Rush Nike (Fla.) and WAZA FC East Black (Mich.) played to a 1-1 tie Thursday and even though the teams tied for first place in Bracket A, Florida Rush Nike advances to Friday final against Auburndale Aston Villa Flames (Fla.). Rush Nike advanced based on goal differential. Auburndale routed New Mexico Rush Nike 5-1 to finish first in Bracket B. WAZA and New Mexico Nike Rush (N.M.) will play for third place.
Showcase Black: La Roca (Utah) posted a 2-1 win over Strictly Soccer (Fla.) to secure the Bracket A title and a berth in the final in one of the event’s most closely contested groups. Grand Rapids Crew Juniors (Mich.) defeated Annadale United (Va.) 6-5 in a wild outing on the stadium field next to La Roca’s match. It wasn’t until La Roca’s match was over that the standings were settled. Going into the final five minutes of both contests, all four teams were still alive. La Roca will face FC Blazers (Mass.) in Friday’s final after the Massachusetts team completed a 3-0 run through its bracket with a 2-1 win over TFC (Texas).
1995/96 Bracket: Kendall SC (Fla.) completed a sweep of Maryland programs, beating Baltimore Bays Chelsea (Md.) 1-0. Kendall defeated Bethesda SC (Md.) earlier this week. Kendall’s 2-0 showing keeps it tied with GUSA (Ga.) atop the 12-team standings with six points. Concorde Fire (Ga.) and Weston FC (Fla.) are 1-0-1. The other eight teams each have at least one loss at the event.
1993/94 Bracket: Lonestar (Texas) and Weston (Fla.) are both 2-0 and tied for first among the eight teams in the group. Solar Chelsea (Texas) and Baltimore Bays Chelsea (Md.) are 1-0-1.