Two weeks of anticipation for Downtown LVSC 00 Academy (NV) turned into two solid halves of soccer, as it opened its week with a shutout victory.
The Nevada side held off waves of offensive pressure from Michigan Jaguars 00 Green (MI) to earn a 3-0 victory in 18U Group B action at the 2018 US Youth Soccer National Championships in Frisco, Texas.
The win provided an ideal start for Downtown LVSC, which couldn’t wait to kick off its week at Nationals.
“It really started to kick in when we flew in. We’ve wanted to play for the last two weeks, but once we got here and saw the competition, saw the players warming up, went to the luncheon and saw all the videos — that’s when we decided, ‘All right. Now, it’s time to play,’” Downtown LVSC keeper Jacob Mays said. “We were itching to get out here. We were buzzing and out here early.”
The Nevada side took a 33rd-minute lead when Corrigan Neville cut into the box from the right side and hit a low shot that took a deflection before sneaking inside the near post.
The Jaguars looked likely to score throughout the match, and they came close on multiple occasions only to be denied by Mays. The Vegas keeper dropped down quickly in the 62nd minute to deny Alexander Dalou, who wiggled through the Downtown LVSC defense to create a scoring opportunity.
Following that save, the Nevada side added some breathing room with a second goal. After a nice build-up, Jesus Junior Gonzalez received a cross in the box and finished past the keeper to put Vegas up, 2-0, and send the team on its way to a valuable three points in the standings.
“With the level of teams here and everyone being so worthy and quality opponents, any points you can take in the group stage, you need to take them,” Downtown LVSC coach Liam Connors said. “The guys came out and showed who they are and played to their identity. For that to be enough to earn a result is really encouraging as a first step in what we hope is a long week.”
Teagan Jarvis added a 90th-minute goal for the Nevada side when he ran down a bouncing ball behind the defense and used a quick touch to send a shot past the charging keeper and into the net.
Despite the three-goal difference, the chances appeared to be fairly evenly split between the two sides, as Michigan spent plenty of time working its way into the Downtown LVSC penalty area. However, Mays and the Vegas back line managed to keep the Jaguars off the scoreboard.
“Jacob stood up big time. When called upon, he’s always alert, always ready,” Connors said. “That’s why he’s really prepared for the next level, as are all of these guys. We’re hoping, as a team, when these guys go and move on to what’s next, they’re going to be ready for it. They sure showed that today.”