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Virginia Rush USSDA Winter Showcase Recap

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The Virginia Rush USSDA 15/16 & 17/18 traveled to Lakewood Ranch, FL for their first Showcase of the Season.

- Day 1 -

17/18 Virginia Rush 2 v 17/18 Everton FC Westchester 3

VA Rush was in control early scoring off a great finish by Drew Ott. Despite the goal and great play early, VA Rush gave up a goal in the middle of the first half. Momentum swung and Everton FC finished another. After going down 1-2, Goalkeeper Logan Ratner saved a PK in the last 5 minutes that swung momentum back to VA Rush's favor. The PK save was followed up by a last minute goal by Preston Firnstahl to send VA Rush into the half 2-2. VA Rush came out even stronger in the second half creating numerous opportunities and unfortunate to get the go ahead goal. Late in the game, VA Rush gave up a third goal as the Everton FC Forward scored from what seemed as an impossible angle, to go up 2-3. VA Rush responded and created multiple scoring opportunities to tie or even win the game. Unfortunately, the Rush ran out of time and lost 2-3.

18s - Starting XI Game 1 copy

U17 USA 5 v U17 England 1

Later in the evening, the Virginia Rush 17/18 cheered on the U17 US National Team competing in the Nike Friendlies. The boy's were fortunate for the opportunity to watch the U17 National Team in their defeat against England. This was the second round of games for the Nike Friendlies. US lost to Portugal 1-2 in their Nike Friendly opener.

- Day 2 -

17/18 Virginia Rush 1 v 17/18 Chargers Soccer Club 2

Virginia Rush came out fighting in their second game of the Showcase. VA Rush gave up a goal in the middle of the first half but responded much better psychologically. The first half ended 0-1. In the second half, Virginia Rush really turned on again creating multiple scoring opportunites. With all of the attacking play Virginia Rush was creating, unfortunately VA Rush got caught on a counter attack with 5 minutes remaining and went down 0-2. Mike Abraham responded immediately scoring a fantastic goal which put the score to 1-2 with a few minutes remaining. Again, VA Rush created three quality scoring opportunities to tie the game or even win the game but fell just short, losing 1-2. "Our quality was not as sharp as Day 1, but the boy's really FOUGHT for each other! They showed well as a TEAM, and fought all the way to the final whistle," said Director of Coaching Brian Cvilikas.

18s - Starting XI Game 2 copy

15/16 Virginia Rush 0 v 15/16 Everton FC Westchester 1

The opening game for the Virginia Rush 15/16's and opening Showcase for several new players to the program, saw them losing 0-1. The first half ended 0-0 after a fairly even and hard fought first half performance by both teams. In 51' minute, the Everton FC Forward had a quick turn and finish to the far post to go up 0-1. The game would end by the same scoreline leaving VA Rush needing better quality and decisions in their style of play. "In this being the 16's first showcase for a majority of the roster, we were very proud of the effort put forth in the game. Altough it took us some time get settled in the new enviroment, we clearly showed our confidence and ability to play at the highest level in the country," said Director of Coaching John Palmer.

16s - Starting XI Game 1 copy 2

- Day 3 -

15/16 Virginia Rush 1 v IMG Academy 0

In VA Rush's second game of the Showcase they saw a former divison opponent in IMG Academy. The boy's responded to what was asked of them after their first match, which showed their quality and style of play at a much higher and sharper level. Again, the first half was fairly evenly played by both teams and ended 0-0, with a majority of play in the midfield third. It would take a late efforts by Victor Falck who drove from the middle of the field to the endline setting up a goal by Ioannis Titsis to seal the victory! VA Rush wins 1-0!!! "The team was solid throughout the entire game and I was glad to be in the right place at the right time to give us a well earned result," said Ioannis Titsis.

16s - Starting XI Game 2 copy

U17 USA 4 vs U17 Brazil 1

Later in the evening, both VA Rush Academy teams showed their support for the USA's final game in their pursuit of the NIke Friendly Championship. The game was very interesting to say the least and a very strong U17 US National Team claimed the Nike Friendly Championship!

VAR watching US17 copy

Please click the following link to see the full recap!

http://www.ussoccer.com/news/u-17-mnt/2013/12/131213-nif-usa-4-bra-1.aspx

And see the below picture for the crazy finish!!!!

US17vBrazil17

- Day 4 -

17/18 Virginia Rush 1 v 17/18 San Juan Soccer Club 2

The 17/18's showed up once again in their final game of the Winter Showcase! The first half saw VA Rush in control and again working as a Team. In the last play of the first half, a great effort by James Ellis found himself beating a defender to the endline. James cut a pass back to a sprinting Drew Haney, who put VA Rush up 1-0 going into halftime. The second half had a similar story line as their first two games. VA Rush was unfortunate to give up two late goals as they were very well defended. VA Rush found themselves down 1-2 with little time left and again fighting till the end and again creating the opportunities needed to get themselves back in the game. "Overall we were very proud of the 18's in the way they competed as a TEAM and dealt with different adversities together all week! They showcased very well and were unfortunate leaving without more," said Cvilikas.

18s - Starting XI Game 3 copy

15/16 Virginia Rush 2 v 15/16 Arsenal FC 2

In their final match, the Virginia Rush 15/16 had their most well rounded match of the Showcase! The first half showed great fight and quality from both teams with Virginia Rush drawing a last minute Penalty Kick. Thailer Usonis stepped up to give the Rush the lead going into halftime. In the second half, Rush dug even deeper and played even sharper against the physical Aresenal FC team. The fast speed of play and tempo of this game, stretched the game throughout the second half. The game also became more and more physical and VA Rush stepped up to the challenge. Virginia Rush gave up two goals late to go down 1-2 but they dealt well situationally and Thomas White responded in the closing minute of the game, attacking up the flank and whipping in a great cross that found Travis Cooke at the far post for the game tying goal! Game ended with a 2-2 Tie and it was a very well showcased performance from VA Rush!

16s - Starting XI Game 3 copy

Overall, it was great to compete in such a fantastic and well run Showcase by US Soccer. The level of competition within the Academy is better than ever and it shows by the results of our US Youth National Teams! VA Rush Academy showcased well and with a little more luck could have had even more success.

18s Team Picture

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