Pressure off Bays, but they win anyway

Maryland gains title game before beating Magic, 1-0

Soccer

July 27, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

GERMANTOWN - There was hardly any pressure on the under-14 Maryland Bays in their final game of group play in the Snickers U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships last night.

Before the Bays even took the field, they clinched a spot in tomorrow morning's championship game when the Alpharetta (Ga.) Eagles and La Jolla (Calif.) Nomads played to a 2-2 draw earlier in the day.

So with nothing to play for but pride, Stephen Romeo scored the game's only goal to lift the Bays to a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Magic at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

"That's what this team is all about," Maryland coach Stephen Nichols said. "We had a terrible first half. It was one of the worst first halves of soccer we've played in a long time. I think [Chicago] thought we were just going to sit back. We got in their face at halftime, and they responded."

The Bays (3-0, nine points) will face La Jolla (1-1-1) at 8 a.m. tomorrow to determine the under-14 boys national titlist. Thursday, in their first meeting, Maryland beat the Nomads, 1-0.

Maryland, however, may have to play that game without starting center midfielder Michael Marchiano, who left the field on a stretcher in the second half yesterday.

In the 57th minute, Marchiano's chin slammed against the ground and his head snapped back as he attempted a header. Although he had movement in his arms and legs, he lay on the field for more than 15 minutes before being taken by ambulance to Shady Grove Hospital as a precautionary measure.

In the evening's showcase game, the defending national-champion Bethesda Fury was eliminated from the under-18 girls tournament after playing the Atlanta Lightning to a thrilling 0-0 draw before approximately 1,800.

The Fury (1-1-1) needed a win to advance and nearly pulled it out despite playing 9-on-11 because of two red cards. In the 93rd minute, Noelle Keselica fired a shot that was cleared off the goal line by Lightning defender Elizabeth Gardner.

Natalie Jacobs and Ali Wean were ejected in the 80th and 83rd minutes, respectively, when they received their second yellow cards. But the Fury, which had a decisive edge in play throughout, continued to attack.

"We played our hearts out tonight," Bethesda coach Brad Roos said. "We were clearly the better team. We had a couple chances, and we didn't cash them in."

In other matches, the under-17 boys Bethesda Alliance lost, 3-1, to the Dallas Texans, and the under-14 girls Bethesda Eclipse defeated Team Chicago, 2-1. The Alliance (0-2-1) finished last in its group, but the Eclipse (2-1) advanced to tomorrow morning's championship game in which it will face the Newport Beach (Calif.) Slammers at 8.

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