It's the last month of the year, and the boys of the Riverhounds Development Academy (RDA) kicked off December with a trip to the annual PA Classics Winter College Showcase.
The Showcase, which brings together top teams from across Pennsylvania and plenty of college coaches hoping to load up their next few recruiting classes, was played through some cold conditions Saturday and Sunday on fields across eastern Pennsylvania, and many from the RDA took the opportunity to shine.
The 06 Boys finished atop of their group with an unbeaten (2-0-1) weekend. The squad began with a dominant 3-0 win against Vereinigung Erzgeibirge with two goals from J.J. Vozar and a late goal from Pablo Linzoain. The team then defeated Lower Merion SC, 3-1, with goals from Peter Notaro, Liam Burlovic and Adam Thompson. For their final match, it was a 2-2 draw against Springfield Fever. It was a wild game as they came back from a 1-0 deficit at the half to go up 2-1 with goals from J.J. Simms and Jackson Suski. However, the team conceded a tough, late set-piece tally, which tied the game at 2-2.
From a team perspective, it was a good weekend for the 2002/03 Boys, who finished with a 2-1 record that was good enough to top their group. Sam Farner scored three goals Saturday, and Lucas Hammerle had two across a pair of big wins, 5-0 over PA Classics and 4-0 over North Union United. The team dropped their last match to Lower Merion SC, 2-0, but the narrow loss wasn't enough to fall from first.
The 04 Boys -- the age group possibly watched most keenly by the college scouts -- showed some scoring acumen in a series of challenging matches.
Caden Carpenter, Bubby Towns and Johnny Dragisich all scored in a 3-3 draw with FC Europa to open the weekend, and Luke Lenz and Towns scored in a 4-2 loss to PA Dominion FC. The 04s tightened up defensively to get in the win column Sunday, 2-1 over Penn FC, with Towns and Carpenter scoring in windy, soggy conditions.
RDA II sides also impressed, such as the 06 RDA II Boys, who also won their group with an undefeated Showcase. That side was dominant in an opening 5-1 win over Steel United, before a crossbar and some other missed chances led to a 0-0 draw with FC Europa. The team finished the job of securing first Sunday with a 1-0 win over FC Delco.
The RDA East's representatives in that same age group nearly ran the table, as only a 1-0 loss to West-Mont United blemished the 06 East Boys' record. The team began the showcase with a tough 1-0 win over the host club, and that momentum carried through to a 3-2 win over FC Delco that the coaching staff hailed as the best game to date for the 06 East squad.
A full run-down of the results from the Showcase can be found on the Live Results page. The action in eastern Pennsylvania isn't over, either, as the Showcase is scheduled to continue this weekend with the girls' weekend.
Sunday, Dec. 6
At the PA Classics Winter College Showcase in Eastern Pa.:
• After a couple tough results, the 04 Boys broke into the win column with goals from Bubby Towns and Caden Carpenter earning a 2-1 win over Penn FC. The match was played on a soggy grass field in windy conditions, but the Hounds did well to try and play their game as best as possible and get the result.
• The 02/03 Boys were stopped from a perfect weekend, as they ran out of steam late in a 2-0 loss to Lower Merion SC. Despite the loss, the Hounds finished atop their group at the showcase.
• The 06 RDA II Boys topped their group by wrapping up a 1-0 win over FC Delco. The Hounds did a great job creating chances, but credit goes to the Delco goalkeeper for keep the match tight until the end.
• A tense start saw the 04 RDA II Boys fall behind by three goals in the early stages against Penn Fusion. While play improved slightly in the second half, the team was unable to put a goal home in a 4-0 defeat.
•The 02/03 RDA II Boys played much of the game in the opponent's half and did a very good job defending when Schuykill FC did move on to the attack, but the Hounds couldn't convert any of their chances in a 0-0 draw.
• The 06 East Boys played a gutsy match trying to finish the weekend with a perfect record, but they were downed 1-0 after running out of steam against West-Mont United.
• The 04 East Boys also fell in a one-goal match, losing 2-1 in their finale against Future Player Academy.
Saturday, Dec. 5
At the PA Classics Winter College Showcase in Eastern Pa.:
• Goals were not to be had early in the day, as the 05 RDA II Boys battled North Union United to a 0-0 draw. The Hounds were good in possession and a bit unlucky not to get the win, but at times the side settled for too many lateral and backward passes. All-in-all, the coaches viewed it as a good start to the weekend, which only got better in the second match, a 2-0 win over FC Europa. Cam Hernandez scored an excellent free kick, and Max McGinnis had a tidy finish for the second in a match that could have seen five or six Hounds goals.
• The 02/03 RDA II Boys split their matches on the day after opening with a possession-heavy 3-0 win over Arsenal FC. Alex O'Donnell was set up by Riley Walsh for the first goal, Conner Oechslin scored the second, and O'Donnell assisted Nathan Lambert's diving header for the third. The second match was a 4-0 loss to a very good Vereinigung Erzgebirge side, but the Hounds did have chances to get themselves on the board, yet they could not finish.
• The 06 RDA II Boys had a 5-1 win over Steel United that perhaps didn't fully tell how dominant the Hounds were in the match. The momentum continued into the second match against FC Europa, but a few bad bounces and a shot off the crossbar left the the cold-weather match as a 0-0 draw.
• The 04 East Boys also played out a goalless draw in their opener with South Chester County SA. The lack of scoring didn't reflect the match's fast pace, and the Hounds did an excellent job keeping up and pushing the play throughout. The side got out to a good start again against Keystone FC, having the better of play in the first half, but the second half wasn't the team's best as they fell to a 3-1 defeat.
• It was two wins from two games for the 06 East Boys, who were able to grind out a 1-0 win over PA Classics in their morning match. That was the foundation for a second good win, 3-2 over FC Delco, that the coaches said was the side's best game to date.
• The 02/03 Boys were one of the last sides to play their first match of the day, but it was worth the wait for a 5-0 win over PA Classics. Sam Farner scored twice in the win, and Gabe Norris and Lucas Hammerle also netted goals in the win. The team backed that win up with their best game since lockdown, a 4-0 victory over North Union United. Will Sangpachatanaruk, Hammerle, Ross Hartley and Farner scored in the win.
• Goals by Caden Carpenter, Bubby Towns and Johnny Dragisich had the 04 Boys in position for a win, but a late goal on a deflected shot forced the team to settle for a 3-3 draw with FC Europa. In the second game, the 04s came up on the short end of a 4-2 score against a skilled PA Dominion FC side. Luke Lenz and Towns had goals in the loss.