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Semifinalists determined at 2019 US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships
Preliminary Games, Day 3 of 3
SAGINAW, Mich. (June 23, 2019) — Following an exciting conclusion to group play on Sunday, the semifinal matchups are now set at the 2019 US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. The action will continue Tuesday, with semifinals taking place at the Saginaw Township Soccer Complex in Saginaw, Mich.
The final day of group play meant several pivotal games took place Sunday, as teams fought to earn the necessary results to advance. Several matches featured the top two teams in the group standings, as was the case for Group C in the 18U Boys age group — where Minneapolis United Premier (MN) came away with the result it needed to move on to the semifinals.
“This is something we’ve been thinking about for a year. Last year, we had the same situation and lost in a game we needed to win,” Minneapolis coach Tamba Johnson said. “It feels good. We came here to try to win this, and all we’ve done is give ourselves a chance.”
Johnson said his team entered Sunday with the mindset to control its own destiny and not leave the semifinal berth up to tiebreakers. The Minnesota side did just that, and it now has taken one more step toward capturing the Midwest Regional Championship, which Johnson said is no easy feat considering the competition within the Midwest.
“I think we have a great region. All the teams we play are very good,” Johnson said. “For us, it’s always how we measure ourselves against the best teams. A team from here won Nationals last year, so we’d like to be that team this year.”
Regional winners of the 13U through 19U age groups earn a berth to the 2019 US Youth Soccer National Championships, which will be played July 22-28 at the Overland Park Soccer Complex in Overland Park, Kan.
The US Youth Soccer National Championships will consist of US Youth Soccer Regional Champions in the 13U through 19U Boys and Girls age groups, as well as the US Youth Soccer National League qualifiers in the 14U through 19U Boys and Girls age groups to complete the field of teams.
A few notes from Sunday’s games:
Several teams in Group B entered Sunday’s action still alive for semifinal berths, including the top two teams — Nationals Union 06 Girls Black (MI) and Chicago Fire Juniors South (IL) — who faced off to conclude group play. In the first half, Chicago forced the Nationals Union keeper to make a couple saves in order to keep the teams level. After the half, it was the Chicago keeper who had to step up to prevent a breakthrough goal, as she stopped a pair of breakaway opportunities and dangerous corner kick. Neither side managed to net a winning goal, as it ended in a scoreless draw. With that result, coupled with a tie in the other group game, Nationals Union advanced due to a goal differential tiebreaker.
Chicago Inferno FS 05 (IL) held off St. Croix 05 Academy Boys (MN) to earn a 3-1 win in Group C action on Sunday and secure a spot in the semifinals. Yeray Roman provided an early spark for the Inferno when he received a seventh-minute cross from Axel Catalan and powered a shot into the back of the net to put Chicago in front. St. Croix equalized in the 29th minute when Keith Romanshyn placed a penalty kick into the right corner, as the Minnesota side pushed for the win it needed to finish atop the group. However, Chicago regained the lead in the 50th minute on a goal from Javier Solis, who beat two defenders before finishing past the keeper. Chicago’s Sergio Suarez later received a pass from Roman on a breakaway and finished into an open net to cap the 3-1 victory.
All four teams in Group A entered Sunday with three points in the standings, meaning both matches held significant impact on which team would advance to the semifinals. A 2-1 win by SLSG 2004 Elite (MO), coupled with a 1-0 Libertyville FC 1974 Elite (IL) victory, resulted in the Missouri side advancing out of the group. SLSG fell behind KCSG Academy 04 (KS) in the early going, as Julia House broke free down the left wing and fired her shot into the far corner to put the Kansas side up, 1-0, in the 15th minute. SLSG immediately responded within a minute, as Annabelle Liebrock found the back of the net to equalize. Early in the second half, SLSG earned a penalty kick following a hand ball, and Grace Moresi converted the attempt to score what proved to be the winning goal that sent the Missouri side through to the semifinals.
A late goal helped FC United 2003 Pre Academy (IL) earn a 1-0 win over Kansas Rush Academy 03 (KS) and secure the three points necessary to finish on top of Group A. Neither side managed to grab an advantage in the first half, though FC United came close just before the break when a glancing header from a free kick hit the left post. Little separated the two sides until the 73rd minute, when Jake Krueger recorded a goal to give FC United a 1-0 lead. The Illinois side recorded its second straight clean sheet to secure the victory and hold off fellow Sunday winner OESA-KY 03 Academy (KY) in the group standings.
The top two teams in Group C met on Sunday, and Nationals Union 02 Black (MI) held on to the top spot with a 2-1 win against 2018 Eastern Regional Champion Beadling North 02 Red (PA-W). Jessica Schneider put Nationals Union in front in the fifth minute to give the Michigan side early control of the match. Needing a win, Beadling pushed for an equalizer with some pressure late in the first half, but Nationals Union did well to prevent any clean looks at goal. The PA West side did manage to break through in the 70th minute with a goal from Emma Wecht. However, Kiera Kuzinski netted a late goal for Nationals Union to give the Michigan side the 2-1 win and a spot in the semifinals.
Entering Sunday on top of Group C, Minneapolis United Premier (MN) earned the result it needed to advance as it secured a 4-1 win against Club Ohio 01 Green 1 (OH-S). Herbert Endeley opened the scoring in the 24th minute when he put Minneapolis in front. Ohio Premier, which needed a win to advance, responded in the 45th minute when Ethan Love found the back of the net to equalize. The Ohio South side had some early pressure in the second half, but Minneapolis struck on a counter to retake the lead. Steeve Florvil ended the attack by squaring a ball to Endeley, who hit his shot inside the near post. Endeley increased the Minneapolis lead just two minutes later, as he ran on to a through ball, rounded the keeper and finished from a tight angle. Endeley sealed the game in the 78th minute with his fourth goal of the match, as he slotted a shot inside the left post. With the win, Minneapolis finished Group C play with nine points from three wins.
A shutout victory on Sunday helped Lou Fusz Elam (MO) finish on top of Group C and earn a berth to the semifinals. The Missouri side entered the day with a one-point advantage over two foes, including its final group play opponent, Sporting Omaha FC Elite 2000 (NE). Lou Fusz broke through in the 22nd minute for an important opening goal, as Mary Evans slid her shot past an on-charging keeper to give her side the 1-0 lead over Sporting. That score line held for nearly an hour of play until Jaimie Tottleben found the back of the net to give Lou Fusz a two-goal lead in the 70th minute. The Missouri side held on over the final 20 minutes for the 2-0 victory to secure a top finish in the group and advance to Tuesday’s semifinals.
Daily reports and complete results from the US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships are available on championships.usyouthsoccer.org/Midwest.
Follow the moments from the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series and the Midwest Regional Championships on Twitter, and share the moments with us on Facebook and Instagram, using #ROADtoKS.
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About the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series
The US Youth Soccer National Championship Series provides more than 10,000 teams from US Youth Soccer’s 55 State Associations the opportunity to showcase their abilities against the best in the nation while emphasizing teamwork, discipline and fair play. The yearlong competition begins with over 185,000 players in the US Youth Soccer State Championships. These champions and selected wildcard teams, through US Youth Soccer National League Conferences, advance to compete in one of four US Youth Soccer Regional Championships. Champions 13U-19U from each regional event advance to the US Youth Soccer National Championships. The 14U through 19U Boys and Girls age groups have four teams representing the US Youth Soccer National League. Overall, the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series provides the nation’s top collegiate coaches with the premier stage to identify and scout the most coveted players in the country. For more information, visit http://www.idevmail.net/link.aspx?l=15&d=26&mid=3689921&m=11124
About the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer) – US Youth Soccer, the largest youth sport organization in the country, is on a mission to make soccer the preeminent youth sport in the country. US Youth Soccer registers 3 million players annually, ages 5 to 19. Through its programming, resources and leadership, US Youth Soccer is advancing the game for its 55 Member State Associations, 10,000 clubs and leagues and nearly 1 million administrators, coaches and volunteers. US Youth Soccer connects families and communities to the power of sports and its shared love of soccer. US Youth Soccer provides a path for every player, offering programs that provide a fun, safe and healthy environment for players at every level of the game. For more information, visit http://www.USYouthSoccer.org.