U14 Majestics Edge Freedom to Advance into Championship
Goalkeeper Ari Reichardt Saves Three Before Scoring Winning Penalty Kick
After ninety grueling minutes and an additional twenty of overtime, the U14 Northern Virginia Majestics and Washington Freedom faced penalty kicks to resolve the scoreless morning in the Super Y-League North American Championship semifinal match Monday morning in Tampa, Florida. Both sides showed their grit and resilience by remaining deadlocked after ten penalty kicks each, but Northern Virginia goalkeeper Ari Reichardt finally decided the stalemate in dramatic fashion with a low blast untouched into the right corner.
Fresh off a dramatic victory the night before, the Majestics squared off against a Freedom squad filled with familiar faces from the Northern Virginia and DC metro area. Each side launched numerous aggressive attacks forward, only to find their efforts thwarted by sturdy defensive lines throughout the match and overtime. Although scoring opportunities were rare, each squad exhibited quality play through the midfield to no avail.
As fatigue became apparent on the faces and wobbly knees of the players, the referee’s whistle sounded to end the second overtime period and the start of penalty kick tie-breakers. The initial round of five kicks concluded with an athletic save from each keeper, but could not produce a decision. Five rounds later, Reichardt found herself in an unusual position, lining up to shoot the ball rather than deflect a penalty kick. With twelve yards and a solid Washington keeper separating herself and a victory for her team, Reichardt calmly strode to penalty spot and struck true to launch the ecstatic Majestics into the title match.
The U14 Majestics face a rematch with the Chicago Fire Junior to defend their North American title earned in 2009. Northern Virginia and Chicago met in the group rounds, with the Majestics emerging victorious on a last minute own goal to win.
NVFC, comprised of the Northern Virginia Royals (male), Northern Virginia Majestics (female), and NOVA FC (male and female) USL teams, is also represented by thirty-three players in the previous SYL ODP Camp pool announced last February. Thirty-two players from the Royals, Majestics, and NOVA FC Super Y-League programs comprised Northern Virginia’s representation the previous year.
The USL North American Finals will be held in Tampa, Florida, and is scheduled to run from November 19th through November 23rd. A total of sixteen teams will clash at every age level in the boys Super Y-League’s U13-U17 divisions. On the girls side, twelve teams will meet from each of the five age divisions. The 2010 version of the Super Y-League finals is the greatest representative of elite youth talent in North America now that the league encompasses nine regions across the United States and Canada.