We have advanced to the knockout rounds at the US Youth Soccer National Championships and Missouri is represented by three Lou Fusz SC girls teams, at the U14 (2005), U16 (2003) and U19 (2000) age group. A remarkable achievement that I’m still researching to determine how unique it is for our region. The schedule for the semifinals and finals can be found below and background on the teams and their opponents below that. One game will be streamed live Saturday – Lou Fusz Elam v Campton United (Chicag) – so I’ll probably focus on covering the McKee game that is not being streamed. The competition at this level is a large part of what makes the event memorable for the participants and fans and it’s not getting any easier as you’ll find from my analysis below. By the way, I’m throwing up dozens of photos on Instagram/Facebook as well as Twitter but it will have to wait until I return to St. Louis for me to fully edit and post the high quality photos to Smugmug. I’m counting on your support via photo purchases when that time arrives.
UPDATE – all three Lou Fusz teams have advanced to the National Championship game in their respective age groups. Only Geerling won in regulation, for both McKee and Elam overtime was required and Elam went to penalty kicks, winning 3-2 as Ashton Lindsley saved two attempts by Campton. More details below.
A look at St. Louis history in the Championship includes
2018: FCKC 2001 Academy Blues Elite reached the Final
2017: SLSG 2001 Elite reached the Final
2016: SLSG 2004 Pre-Academy won the National Title
2005: St. Louis Soccer Club won U15 Girls
2004: Busch SC won U18 Boys
2004: Scott Gallagher won U17 Boys
2004: Scott Gallagher won U16 Boys
2000: Scott Gallagher won U18 Boys
See the full history of the USYSA winners here
|Sat||7:00 am||Lou Fusz Geerling v NJ Stallions||2-0 W|
|Sat||9:00 am||Lou Fusz Elam v Campton United||3-2 via PK's|
|Sat||9:00 am||Lou Fusz McKee v LVSA||4-2 2nd OT|
|Sun||7:40 am||2005 Girls Final: Lou Fusz Geerling v D'Feeters (TX)||1-2 L|
|Sun||9:20 am||2003 Girls Final: Lou Fusz McKee v Legends (CA)||2-1 W|
|Sun||10:00 am||2000 Girls Final: Lou Fusz Elam v Celtic (UT)||1-9 L|
As I wrote earlier this month, it was historic when we sent four Midwest Regional winners. Posting this initial iteration while some more research will hopefully provide a few other nuggets.
Lou Fusz Geerling 2005 Girls
The girls have had a remarkable run this year, going 26-1-1 since early December, including undefeated runs through National League and Midwest Conference play. The only blemishes came at State Cup this year, with the team already qualified for both the National Championship and Midwest Regionals based upon their league results. A draw with SLSG Elite and a loss in the finals to Sporting STL. Since then five wins at Midwest Regional and a 2-0-1 record here at Nationals after a draw with Pipeline sent both teams to the semifinals.
SATURDAY SEMIFINAL vs NJ Stallions: everybody wants to start strong and try for the first goal and in watching Geerling at Nationals, what has stood out for me is their patience and confidence. Saturday’s game saw them absorb a significant amount of pressure from a very talented Stallions team as they bent but did not break. It took about 10 minutes but they slowly began to impose their game, keeping the ball on the ground and finding feet. They broke through in the 18th minute as the Stallion fans screamed for their players to cover #15 Annalise Cannada on the left flank. Her cross into the box was knocked down and came out where #19 Megan Rogan, an outside back, stepped into one and sent it past the keeper from outside the box. It remained 1-0 at halftime and Geerling then had to weather another strong effort from the Stallions as the second half began. In the first 10 minutes, the Stallions #12 break turned her defender and ran in on goal, requiring GK Aubrey Andrews to tip her shot up and over the crossbar. A second effort soon afterwards required a clearance by the defense and in the 48th minute as shot by #9 rang off the crossbar as she ran onto a cross from the left side. The pressure continued throughout the second half but Geerling’s best defense is often their ability to get wide and send #8 Struttmann forward with her pace and ability to hold the ball. That led to the final goal of the game, in stoppage time, as a corner kick was knocked down by the Stallions but it fell to #10 Jessica Dodd stepped in to finish the loose ball for the goal.
Summary by USYS: Lou Fusz Geerling 05 (MO) will meet D’Feeters 05 Black (TX-N) in Sunday’s 14U Girls Championship final. The Missouri side advanced by defeating NJ Stallions 05 Fire (NJ), 2-0, in their semifinal matchup. Lou Fusz took an 18th minute lead when Megan Rogan ran up to a bouncing ball in the box and pinged a half volley into the right corner of the net. Jessica Dodd sealed the win with an insurance goal in the final minutes to send Lou Fusz through to the final. The Missouri side will meet D’Feeters 05 Black (TX-N) after the North Texas side advanced with a 1-0 (PK) win against Pipeline Spirit PreAcademy 05 (MD). Following a scoreless regulation and overtime, D’Feeters converted five attempts to Pipeline’s four in kicks from the mark to earn the victory.
Lou Fusz Elam 2000 Girls
The team reached the National Finals by advancing out of the Midwest Regional, their second try after earning their second successive State Cup title in 2018 (played in October for the 2019 tournament). At the Finals they opened with a 2-0 win over Legends FC (CA), a scoreless draw against Celtic FC (UT) and closing with a 2-0 win over Sunrise Sting (FL). Both wins came against teams that won their National League group, a competition that sent 28 semifinalists (of 48 total) to the weekend and includes Campton United (Chicago) who reached the Final in 2018.
Campton United were the Midwest Regional champions, defeating Elam 3-0 in the Regional semifinal before going on to defeat Maplebrook Fury 2-1 in the Final. As both teams had already qualified for Nationals via National League titles, Elam was invited as the Midwest Regional representative. They will play play a familiar foe and if they advance, facing either Maplebrook or Celtic who play in the other semifinal. A very strong Midwest showing in the age group but a challenging path for our girls. A report on Maplebrook’s group win Thursday.
SATURDAY SEMIFINAL (see below) which is the first ever win over Campton United for Elam’s team
RT @LFSC_Elam: PK win after 2-2 game vs. Campton United. @jpreusser90 goal, asst by @JaimieTottleben; @smcourtois goal, asst by Jess. Winning PK by @kenziejjoness ; two BIG PK SAVES by @ashton_lindsley. We advance to @usysncs Championship tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/ocePXGvjkp
— soccerSTL (@SoccerSTL) July 27, 2019
USYS Summary: Lou Fusz Elam (MO) outlasted National League Red Winners, Campton United Red (IL) in kicks from the mark to punch its ticket to the 19U Girls National Championship final. Jessica Preusser put Lou Fusz up early, scoring in just the fifth minute of the match. Campton’s Hannah Rittenhouse leveled the score in the 23rd minute but Lou Fusz’s Samantha Courtois put her team back in the lead just two minute later. It looked like Lou Fusz would grab the win in regulation time, but Rittenhouse scored her second of the game and the game headed to overtime. After a scoreless overtime period, the game headed to kicks from the mark where Lou Fusz Elam triumphed, 3-2, from the spot. The other 19U Girls game also went to kicks from the mark after a six-goal thriller. After both teams were unable to find a goal in the first half, both teams went off for three each in the second. Celtic took a, 2-0, lead in the second half as Jamie Shepherd and Tara Warner each scored. MapleBrook’s Claire Odmark pulled one back for her team but Anna Pickering brought Celtic’s lead back to two just a couple of minutes later. MapleBrook fought back in the dying minutes of the game as Mia K Omar notched a goal and then Marie Sennes added a goal in the final seconds to send the game to overtime. Celtic outlasted MapleBrook, 4-2, from the spot to book its place in the 19U Girls final.
Lou Fusz McKee 2003 Girls
The girls won their National League group this Winter, going undefeated during the competition that included a 4-1 spanking of PSA National in their sixth of seven games. Yep, they same team they drew 1-1 with to wrap up group play this week in a game I thought was winnable. Despite what a sportswriter in St. Louis wrote, they did not advance based upon goal differential but upon Goals Allowed, the third tie-breaker (after head-to-head and goal differential).
They face the Las Vegas Sports Academy (LVSA) girls who are the top-ranked USYSA team per YouthSoccerRanking with our girls (still listed as Missouri Rush from 2017) ranked right behind them. It’s the third straight trip to Nationals for the team who lost in the semifinals last year and are motivated to go farther.
SATURDAY SEMIFINAL vs LVSA coming shortly, checking into my hotel!
A scoreless first half with parallels to the Geerling match as LVSA came out hard
USYS Summary: Group B Runners-Up, Legends IE (CA-S) defeated Group A Winners, PSA National 03 (NJ), 1-0, to advance to the 16U Girls National Championships final. It was a scoreless game between the two-sides throughout regulation time and the game headed to overtime. It looked like the game was headed to kicks from the mark but Legends’ Elsie Romero scored the game winner in the 99th minute to send the Cal South side through to the final. In the other semifinal, Lou Fusz 03 Blue (MO) outlasted LVSA 03 National League (NV), 4-3, in overtime to punch its ticket into the final. After a scoreless first half, there was a flurry of goals between the two teams in the second half. Chloe Netzel started the scoring in the 46th minute and then added her second of the game in the 68th minute to push Lou Fusz to a 2-0 lead. LVSA clawed its way back to force overtime as Samantha Nieves and Jacqueline Hillegass both scored a late goal to level the sides. Lou Fusz pulled away in overtime with a goal from Bryanna Rutherford and then Netzel completed her hattrick to make it 4-2. LVSA’s Olivia Garcia pulled one back in the dying minutes but her team couldn’t complete the comeback as Lou Fusz holds on to advance to the 16U Girls National Championships final.
National League teams went to work during group play at the National Championships! Of the 48 semifinalists in the 14U-19U age groups, there are…
— National League (@NationalLeague) July 26, 2019