Shreveport teams show they deserved their trips to Nationals

GETTING CONTROL:  Sarah Katherine Murrell (7) pursued possession for Shreveport United in action during the U.S. Nationals recently in Denver. (Submitted photo by KARYN FLOWERS)

By DAVID ERSOFF, Journal Sports

Last month the Shreveport United (SU) 06 boys and 08 girls soccer teams were quite competitive at the U.S. Club Nationals in Denver, after both earned their spots by winning the Texas State Cup played earlier in the spring. Nick Flowers coaches both teams.

The 06 boys event began on July 15, with a game against STA-MUSC 06B ECNL from New Jersey. The game was hard fought by both teams, going scoreless through the first half. The second half started much the same way, with chances on both sides. With 20 minutes remaining, the New Jersey team broke through with the game’s only score off a corner kick. Keeper Cason Cormany had four saves.

The next day the SU boys played Eagles SC 06B ECRL out of Southern California. Forward Andrew Bradford came out determined to get the win, scoring two goals in the first half and United was up 2-0 at halftime. There were other opportunities that went unfulfilled, keeping the Eagles within striking distance. The Eagles cut the lead in half, but could not get any closer, with the final score 2-1 for the Shreverporters. Gormany came up big with 10 saves, including saving a PK, to preserve the win.

The July 17 contest became a win-or-go-home game against Sporting Springfield 06 Athletico Madrid from Missouri. Athletico went up 2-0, trying to take the heart out of United’s game. This effort was not successful as goals by Daniel Lee and Jose Gomez closed the gap. Athletico took a 3-2 lead into the final few minutes, when they put the game out of reach with a clincher resulting in a 4-2 final. Athletico went on to top the U.S. Nationals 2 days later. Gormany had five saves in the game, giving him 19 total saves for the tournament.

The girls came into town just as the boys were finishing up and began their Nationals July 18 against Evolution 08G Peak from Colorado. The first half was played tentatively by both teams and ended scoreless. Evolution broke the tie with a goal scored off a corner kick. That lead didn’t last long, when Peyton Beloso got taken down in the box, and United was awarded a PK. Eryn Flowers (no relation to coach Flowers) calmly converted the PK, evening the score at 1. With just a couple minutes left Evolution scored the game winner off another corner kick, dealing the Shreveport squad a painful 2-1 loss. Peyton Lewis had 10 saves for the locals.

Game 2 was played the next day against Girls Soccer Vision Academy out of Ohio. United had many chances to get on the board, with a few breakaways, but could not get the ball past the Ohio keeper. In the last minute of the first half, Vision went up 1-0 off a corner kick. The second half played much like the first, with opportunities gone by the wayside for both teams. With the clock running down, United pushed everyone forward in an attempt to equalize. It was then that Vision scored the final goal of the day on a counter. Lewis had five saves against a Vision Academy that went on to win the national title.

The local girls’ last game was played on July 20 against St. Louis Scott Gallagher 2008 ECNL RL out of Missouri. The game was hard-fought for the first 50 minutes, with the St. Louis team up 1-0. With 20 minutes left, United had given all the locals could give, and surrendered three late goals in a 4-0 loss. Lewis had 19 saves, giving her 34 total rejections.

All was not lost for the Louisiana teams. Both used their time in Colorado to do some team bonding. The boys went to a Colorado Rapids MLS game and enjoyed many team dinners and fun group events at their hotel. Part of the team went river rafting after their soccer was completed.

The girls didn’t have an MLS game to go to while they were in Denver, but they made it to a Colorado Rockies MLB game. After being eliminated, the entire girls team headed up to Boulder and went river rafting, getting a different kind of kick.

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