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Lower Merion, Lehigh Valley both lose matches at U.S. Youth Soccer national championships

It was a tough day for local clubs at the U.S. Youth Soccer nationals in Frisco, Texas



Two boys teams from the Philadelphia region suffered heartbreaking defeats on day two of the U.S. Youth Soccer national championship in Frisco, Texas on Wednesday.

Lehigh Valley United couldn’t make a first half Evan Vare strike stand up as FC Golden State overcame a one-goal deficit and the sending off a player in the second half to take sole possession of first place in Group A of the U18 boys championship.

Vare, who scored the winner for LVU on Tuesday, put his club up in the 16th minute with a curling shot from long range that was aided by a deflection. Lehigh Valley held onto their lead into the second half, but the relentless pressure from FC Golden State led to an equalizer when a cross off a short corner found the head of Jesus Granados in the 55th minute.

The goal only intensified the pressure, but Lehigh Valley goalkeeper Will Smith and captain Levi Roberts did well to deny numerous opportunities in on goal for the southern California club.

With both teams pressuring – Vare and Travis Keil combining on a number of occasions – Lehigh Valley seemed to catch a break when Golden State defender Brian Robinson was shown a second yellow in the 80th minute.

The advantage didn’t last long, however, as substitute Parker Hodges put FC Golden State up 2-1 in the 81st minute. FC Golden State would have made it 3-1 minutes later if not for heroics from Smith, but Lehigh was unable to produce an equalizer in the final nine minutes of regulation and four minutes of added time.

They’ll wrap up group A play on Thursday morning against Ohio club OP Green in need of a victory to advance to the semifinals.

Lower Merion SC Sabertooth Rats come up short

The Sabertooth Rats couldn’t overcome a two goal first half deficit as California club SC Sporting handed them a second straight loss in the U15 boys division Wednesday morning.

Rudolfo Pedroza scored in the 22nd minute and Demitri Castaneda made it 2-0 nine minutes later, but Evan Tracy’s 36th minute goal gave the Rats life.

Jesse Nieve restored SC Sporting’s two-goal lead with a dagger just after halftime and Jacobe Sandcroft’s goal a minute later was as close as the Rats would come to getting their title campaign back on track after a tough 3-1 opening game loss to Chicago Fire Academy Raiders on Tuesday.

The Raiders took over sole possession of first place in the Group A standings with a 2-1 win over McLean that gives the Rats some hope entering their final group A match on Thursday. A favorable win over could see the Rats through to the semifinals with a second place finish in the group.

The game will be streamed live on the U.S. Youth Soccer YouTube account at 12:30 p.m. eastern time.

Matthew Ralph is the managing editor of Philadelphia Soccer Now / Brotherly Game. He's covered soccer at all levels for many years in the Philadelphia region and has also written for, NPSL, PrepSoccer and other publications. He lives with his wife and two young children in Broomall, Pa., but grew up in South Jersey and is originally from Kansas.

Copyright © 2024 Philadelphia Soccer Now and Brotherly Game

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