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Crossfire Premier falls short in U-18 national title match
Two second-half goals by Vardar’s Derek Schrauben helped the Michigan team come from behind to defeat Crossfire Premier and win the 2009-10 US Soccer Development Academy U-17/18 national championship at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Saturday.
Redmond-based Crossfire Premier included recent Federal Way High School graduate Kelyn Rowe, Decatur grad Joshua Smith and Jefferson senior-to-be Jim Oganga. Rowe has already signed with UCLA and Smith will attend Oregon State.
Crossfire earned the berth into the championship after finishing 2-1-0 during group play at the national tournament. The US Soccer Development Academy Playoffs Finals Week featured the top-eight teams in the country, who qualified during separate tournaments in North Carolina last month.
Crossfire took a quick 1-0 lead when Liam Kelly lit up the scoreboard in the 12th minute. But Varder tied the game in the 29th minute and Schrauben tallied his two second-half goals to give Vardar the 3-1 win.
Crossfire’s goal came on a counter attack starting just inside midfield when Rowe took a pass in the center of the park and turned towards goal. Rowe slipped a ball into the box between the center and left backs that Kelly ran onto diagonally from the right side and scored.
Crossfire almost took a 2-0 lead moments later. After stepping in front of a Vardar midfielder, Bryce Bacic passed to Rowe who was advancing down the center of the park alongside Kelly. Rowe laid the ball off to the right upon reaching the box and Kelly ran onto it and fired his first time shot over the crossbar.
Rowe and Crossfire had a couple more chances in the second half, but couldn’t convert. In the 49th minute, Rowe was given space to dribble and went forward towards goal. Approaching the box, Rowe stepped up and fired with the outside of his right foot, but the swerving ball rose just over the goal.
Following the loss in the final, US Soccer announced the Development Academy U-17/18 West Conference Starting XI and Rowe was the only Crossfire player to earn recognition. Here is the entire 11-man roster:
U-17/18 West Conference Starting XI
GOALKEEPERS: Dallas Jaye (Mustang SC)
DEFENDERS: Emilio Orozco (Real So Cal), Bryan De La Fuente (Chivas USA), Elijah Balbrath-Knapp (Nomads SC), Elijah Galbraith-Knapp (Nomads SC)
MIDFIELDERS: Maynor Giron (Real So Cal), Pablo Cruz (LAFC Chelsea/LA Galaxy), Marvin Iraheta (LAFC Chelsea), Riley Wolfe (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS: Moises Orozco (Real So Cal), Kelyn Rowe (Crossfire Premier), Daniel Castro (Chivas USA)