Goals were hard to come by in a match featuring US Youth Soccer National Championships veterans MRM Coyotes (MD) and Carlsbad Elite 97/98 (CA-S). Ultimately the match ended in a scoreless draw on the final day of group play at the 2014 US Youth Soccer National Championships, presented by the National Guard.
Despite losing its first game 5-0 to FC United Select (IL), Carlsbad will advance to the semifinals thanks to a second place finish in Group A in the Under-16 Girls age group. Carlsbad ended with a 1-1-1 record giving it four points, one more than MRM Coyotes. The 2012 national champs tied every single match and will fail to make it out of the group stage for the second straight year despite not losing in either tournament.
“It was a battle all week, and our objective was just to qualify and get to the weekend,” Carlsbad head coach, Adam Skumawitz said. “We knew nothing was guaranteed but weren’t about to give anything away and made sure to be there at the end.”
Today’s match between the two squads was high in intensity given both teams could guarantee a spot in the semifinals with a win, but goals were not a product. Carlsbad’s best opportunity came from U.S. Soccer 98 National Team player, Sunny Dunphy, who fired a shot from the right side that forced a diving save from MRM Coyotes keeper, Kristen Darragh.
Hometown MRM Coyotes weren’t able to create a lot of scoring opportunities, with their best shot coming in the final minute when a dangerous cross found Paula Germino-Watnick’s feet on the right side of the box, but the 2012 Golden Ball Award winner wasn’t able to create a clean look, and the final whistle blew seconds later.
“We’ve had a lot of battles this week and at this tournament the competition has been unbelievable and the commitment of every team is impressive,” Skumawitz said. “It seems like there are always three or four teams fighting for a semifinal spot on the final day, and the atmosphere here is fantastic.”
Next up for Carlsbad will be Group A winner and Region IV Champion, Beach FC 97 Academy (CA-S). The match will be held on Saturday, June 26. Both teams are in their second National Championship with Beach attending in 2012, and Carlsbad returning for a second straight year.
“We are just doing our best and always trying to the get a goal and protect it at the same time,” Skumawitz said. “But you always need a little luck and the fact that we have two teams in the semifinals is massive for our club, and moving on we are going to hope for the best.”
The Under-16 games will be streamed online and can be seen here: http://championships.usyouthsoccer.org/live/