Commentary

Chelsea rules the Disney Soccer Showcase

Updated: December 31, 2008, 9:15 AM ET
By Sheldon Shealer | ESPNRISE.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The official title of the event is the Disney Soccer Showcase presented by Chelsea Football Club.

Tuesday's Under-17 Showcase Blue final was owned by Chelsea Football Club.

The combined U-16/U-17 squad from England picked apart a spent Javanon (Ky.) squad in a less-than-dramatic 5-0 final. Frank Nouble, one of the club's rising stars, scored twice, the Chelsea defenders and midfielders had space and time the entire match, and Javanon was limited to only one serious threat on goal in the 90-minute match.

The Chelsea-Javanon match was the featured contest during Tuesday's final day of competition in which 22 teams were crowned bracket champions. While Chelsea won the U17 Showcase Blue final, the Dallas Texans U18 USSF won the U17 Showcase White; Alpharetta Ambush (Ga.) won the U16 Showcase Blue; Elite FC (N.M.) won the Showcase White; and 1992 Region I claimed the US Youth Soccer ODP Inter-Regional championship.

Last year, the Chelsea squad finished as a runner-up at the Disney Showcase. This year, they left no doubt about its place in youth soccer, at least relative to the elite U.S. clubs.

"We came here to win," Chelsea coach Paul Clement said. "But we wanted to win in the right way. I'm really pleased with the team."

Javanon plays a 4-3-3 and Chelsea countered with four midfielders, and dominated possession throughout, which came as no surprise to Javanon coach Tim Chastonay.

"We knew we would be in a defensive position most of the match," he said. "Our best chance was to cut down their chances, but that did not happen."

Chelsea carried a 2-0 lead into the second half, giving some hope for Javanon.

Then, in the 63rd minute, Chelsea midfielder Anton Rodgers played a long diagonal ball from the right back position, over the midfield, to left forward Nouble, who took two touches then finished from 15 yards out.

Chelsea tacked on two goals in the final five minutes. The first was a nice combination from Nouble to Billy Clifford, who slipped a thru-ball to the penalty spot where James Ashton ran onto the ball and beat the keeper for a 4-0 lead. Nouble added the fifth goal in the 89th minute.

Chelsea started the scoring in the 16th minute when Bobby Devyne took a crack from 30 yards out that hit the upper left corner of the goal. The play was set up by a corner kick that the Javanon defense played out of the penalty box to Devyne.

The English side made it 2-0 in the 34th minute when Nouble carried the ball down the right wing, played it to the six-yard box where Jhon Pirez's sliding effort redirected the ball past Javanon keeper Taylor Hafling.

Despite the 5-0 setback, Chastonay was pleased with the team's showing for the event.

"We were fortunate to get here  we exerted so much energy just to get to the final," he said. "But looking at it, it was a great tournament for us."

Additonal finals highlights:

U17 Showcase White: Beau Breckenridge's shot from 30 yards out hit a defender and caught the keeper flat-footed in the 45th minute as the Dallas Texans edged Concorde Fire Elite 1-0. Texans keeper Colin Marasak turned in a stellar performance, making three diving saves to secure the win for the North Texas club power, making it the first Texans squad to win two Disney Showcase titles. The same group won as U14s.

"I made a mistake early, and I wasn't going to let it happen again," Marasak said. "I fumbled the ball and almost cost us a goal. I stayed focused, I concentrated & I made some good saves."

U16 Showcase Blue: Jeffrey Deegan scored in the first half and Alhaji Toure added an insurance goal in the second half as Alpharetta Ambush defeated Blast FC (Ohio).

U16 Showcase White: Elite FC Gladiators (N.M.) capped a perfect run through the showcase with a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Fire Juniors.

ODP Inter-Regional: Emmanuel Kollie scored a hat trick with goals in the 22nd, 24th and 33rd minutes as 1992 Region I handled 1993 Region IV 4-0. Eric Medrano scored the team's other goal. Region I won all three of its group matches 1-0 against the other three 1992 regional teams before facing the younger squad from Region IV.

Sheldon Shealer covers soccer for ESPNRISE.com