2011 US Youth Soccer Region II Championship - Boys Recap
Region II Championship Complete Results [link]
Sporting Kansas City Juniors met Chicago Magic in the Under-13 Boys final. At the half Magic were down two goals, scored by Sporting's Absalom Solorio and Jacob Weaver. Jorge Valle's halftime adjustments would payoff big, netting three goals in the second half to claim the regional title.
Chicago Magic entered the Under-14 Boys final against Sockers FC with no goals allowed through preliminary and semifinal play. Magic would hit a total of four posts however the regional final would finish regulation and overtime with neither team able to score. After the 5-4 shootout, Chicago Magic walked away with the win.
Jorge Valle, head coach of the Chicago Magic, said "Sockers is a tough team and we have great respect for them. This [winning regionals] is big and we told the boys this was more than just a game, it was a game against our biggest rival to get to Phoenix and I'm really happy for the boys."
Chicago Fire Juniors (IL) faced Sockers FC (IL) in the Under-15 Boys final. Several members of the Fire bring experience from last year's Under-14 national champion, Eclipse Select. One of those was Vishal Patel who drove a shot from 40 yards out that proved to be a big lift for the Fire in the 10th minute. Christian Hanock-Berhanu's counter attack goal in the 38th minute was a little insurance in the 2-0 Fire win.
Sam Bascom put CUP Crew Juniors (OH-S) up early against Minnesota Thunder 95 with a quick strike in the 4th minute. Matthew Gweh would draw the match even in the 22nd minute and both sides would settle through regulation. In overtime it was Gweh again, this time with the regional championship winner in the 88th minute for Minnesota, 2-1. Bascom and Gweh tied for most goals at five each on the tournament.
Rob Zahl, head coach for Minnesota Thunder, reflected on the match and preparation, "We got scored on right away and the guys kept going. After we scored in the first overtime period the second was just agony hoping for the whistle. Going to nationals is a once in a life time experience and the team remember it for the rest of their lives. We've seen a lot of the opponents through the US Youth Soccer National League and it really helped us so much because we learned how to play against the toughest teams and at the end of the day if you aren't playing that level you aren't going to be successful."
US Youth Soccer National Leaguers Lou Fusz Gold Popovic (MO) and Grand Rapids Crew Juniors (MI) squared off in a rematch of last year's semifinal, this time as Under-17 Boys. Last year the Crew won in a shootout. Today was a different story as the Crew offense spread out the Fusz defense and wingers Nate Rose and Jason Stacy finished their one-on-one chances for the 2-1 win and a fourth consecutive trip to the national championships.
Remco Bergsma, head coach for the Crew, said, "We came in thinking we were going to win and maybe since we haven't won the national championship before, maybe this keeps them on their toes to become national champions." Bergsma credited National League play in the team's development, "For our side of soccer, aside from the Academy, this is the highest level you can play. I think of it like the Champions League, guys want to play in the Champions League to get to the next level and for us that is the National League. We entered today's game and knew that we've been there before against this kind of opponent."
Pacesetter Premier had KCFC Rangers 92/93 on the ropes early in the Under-18 Boys final with two quick goals from Karter Sell and Matthew Essig (6', 11'). Trevor Pentola cut the lead in half for KCFC and then after a teammate was sent off Nick Besler scored the equalizer in the 70th minute. Playing a man down KCFC was able to maintain possession and net another two goals in the 4-2 win over Pacesetter.
Chicago Fire Juniors hoped for a repeat of last year's Under-19 Boys final where another MLS youth academy, Crew Juniors won. Standing in the Fire's way was KCFC Spartans (KS) but the Fire was too much today scoring three goals to none. Scott Davis hit first on a nice turn in the box. Up 2-0, Scott Lakin was in the right place at the right time for a score on a header in the 3-0 Fire win.